- - Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fire alarm interrupts NBC’s ‘Nightly News’

NBC News anchor and former volunteer firefighter Brian Williams doesn’t expect to hear alarms during his day job.

He did Tuesday, however, when an audible fire alarm from a floor below the “Nightly News” studio in New York repeatedly interrupted the newscast, the Associated Press reports.

Spokeswoman Erika Masonhall said Wednesday that it was a drill, but technicians couldn’t immediately turn off studio loudspeakers. “Nightly News” moved into a new studio a month ago.

Alarms went off twice as Mr. Williams read a story about American Airlines. He flashed a bemused smile the second time and said, “We should remind our viewers that there’s no danger to us.”

After the problem was fixed, Mr. Williams redid the broadcast for non-Eastern time zones.

Five country stars honored as CMT’s Artists of the Year

Brad Paisley fully endorses the format of the Country Music Television Artists of the Year celebration.

Mr. Paisley was one of five country music stars honored Tuesday night during a taping of the second annual event, joining Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift. He said he loved the idea of already knowing he was taking a trophy home when he showed up.

“It’s great,” Mr. Paisley said before the event, which will air Dec. 13. “It’s neat. It’s not like an awards show where you have to wonder if you’re going to win. And if you don’t, they were mean. They psyched you out. And it’s one where they feed everybody and give you alcohol. We need more of those shows.”

It was a night full of cross-pollinated moments, with host Rob Lowe, Lionel Richie, William Shatner, Joe Walsh, Gavin DeGraw, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, the Avett Brothers and the All-American Rejects on hand to celebrate country’s biggest entertainers. But it was Hank Williams Jr. who turned in the night’s most buzzed-about moment, leaving the stage quickly midsong after singing his part of a duet with Mr. Aldean.

Mr. Williams‘ spokesman Kirt Webster said after the taping that Mr. Williams left because he didn’t feel like he was giving an adequate performance while joining Mr. Aldean on his song, “Tattoos on This Town.” Mr. Williams told the show’s producers the night was meant to honor Mr. Aldean, a friend. Turning in a poor performance would only ruin that effort, Mr. Webster said.

Mr. Aldean did a second run-through of the song after Mr. Williams left without problem. The singer praised Mr. Williams as a hero in an interview before the show and said it had been fun spending time with him during rehearsal.

“It was really kind of funny watching him go about music the way he does,” Mr. Aldean said. “He’s kind of like, ‘OK, this is the way y’all do it. I’m going to do it the way I do it.’ It’s just the way it is. And you go, ‘It’s Hank,’ you know. ‘Make it sound like you want it to sound, bro.’ But he’s awesome. I don’t know what else to say about the guy. He’s the real deal as far as country singers go.”

Mr. Williams has been in the news quite a bit recently. A political analogy he made on television involving President Obama and Adolf Hitler led to the pulling of his “Monday Night Football” theme song by ESPN. He then issued a new song and appeared on “The View,” where he found a sympathetic audience.

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