Turning Heads At Naked News

Naked News CBS/AP

It looks like a typical news day in a typical newsroom. People work at computers. Writers have meetings. Anchors have their makeup done. The crew adjusts cameras and lights.

Finally, the anchorwoman is in place. She begins the broadcast with a foreign report. And slowly she begins taking off her blouse. Sunday Morning Correspondent Bill Geist reports on the world of Naked News.

This Toronto-based news program has millions of viewers worldwide on the Internet and pay-per-view television. Each news piece is accompanied by the removal of a piece of clothing.

By the end of the show, the anchors are completely nude. News anchors present top stories, weather, sports, entertainment, lifestyle news, and business news. Naked News also does street reporting. Going topless is legal for men and women on Toronto's streets.

Naked News suggests that sex sells news like it sells anything else, and that its approach is the logical next step in this trend. Critics of the program say it is tasteless and immoral.

Global report anchor Carmen Russo says Naked News anchors have candor. "We take the serious issues as seriously as anyone else does, we just happen to be naked."

Devon Callwell, Naked News' lead anchor, says her stripping is tactful. "Well, certainly with stories that are speaking about direct murders or deaths, I won't disrobe at all during that story. I'll hold off."

Naked News anchors do not view themselves as journalists. None of them have news backgrounds. But they say they have all the problems of normal news anchors, and then some.

"When you're disrobing, there's a lot more pressure on you," says Naked News anchor Lucas Tyler. Raoul Santon, another anchor agrees. "You have to do it kind of smoothly and hope that it doesn't look too worked. And you can't forget a piece of clothing. That defeats the purpose."

Naked News claims it broadcasts to six million different viewers a month and is planning a cable channel, but even the anchors admit that people are not just watching to be informed.

"Let's call a spade a spade," says Tyler. "We're nude and people, at least the first few times, don't hear a word out of our mouths, okay?"

(Original airdate: 1/29/02)
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