That’s Ron Burgundy?
KXNet viewers in the western and central North Dakota received a newscast unlike any other (in reality) on the evening Nov. 30.
Ron Burgundy, a sterling giant of the fictional broadcast industry, co-anchored the 6 p.m. Saturday news from Bismarck.
If you’re thinking, “Great Odin’s Raven” or “Sweet Lincoln’s mullet.” Well, indeed to both. In character of arguably the most popular role of his career, actor and comedian Will Ferrell flabbergasted North Dakota audiences thanks in part to the work of Wolford native Tammy (Voeller) Blumhagen.
“It went very well,” said Blumhagen, the corporate sales manager at KX. “We’ve been very pleased with the outcome. We’ve had overwhelmingly positive response on it. Will and Paramount are extremely happy with the outcome.”
Ferrell’s agent contacted Blumhagen in May. Paramount Pictures entered the scene about three months ago to assist in the production of the newscast, which turned into a viral Internet sensation. In character, Ferrell has made appearances on Conan O’Brien’s late night show, ESPN and commercials for Dodge trucks to promote the Christmas Day theater release of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”
Burgundy actually delivering live local news provided one of the more unique appearances on his promotional tour. The stop in the state capital also was an incredible for opportunity for a local newsmarket, which ranks 145 out of 210 in the U.S.
“We started talking about it and working on the details and it was something we were very interested in,” Blumhagen said, “and thought it was a good fit to expose people to our station and product and we knew it was something we could take viral and expose our social media with.”
As of midweek, the half-hour broadcast anchored by Burgundy and KX regular Amber Schatz had more than 400,000 views on the station’s webpage. Blumhagen said nothing the station’s done before garnered even close to that much interest. The KX Facebook page experienced heavy traffic and national news outlets ran clips of the show. CNN even interviewed Schatz about the experience.
Burgundy made his uncanny remarks between typical news stories from Bismarck, Minot and surrounding areas. Schatz struggled to keep a straight face as Burgundy’s schtick made for hilariously awkward moments with the entire news team.
Burgundy: “Amber, you look lovely tonight. Well, I am (married), so don’t get any ideas.”
Blumhagen worked closely with Ferrell’s agent and Paramount for months on every detail and kept the idea quiet until about an hour before the newscast. Knowing that the CBS national telecast of the Alabama and Auburn football game was going to run past 6 p.m., KX began teasing its Facebook and Twitter followers with video clips of Ferrell’s character and Burgundy catchphrases like, “it’s kind of big deal.”
And it was a big deal for Blumhagen, everyone at KX and thousands of viewers.
“When he came to the station, he was in his Ron Burgundy attire, but he spoke as Will Ferrell,” Blumhagen said. “They did a rehearsal and during commercial breaks he would talk as Will. He was very, very kind and nice to everybody. He was great to visit with.”
It was a crowning achievement for the 41-year-old Blumhagen, who graduated from Wolford School in 1990. She has worked in marketing in Bismarck for 16 years, but originally wanted to teach.
“I found out and stumbled upon the position years ago and realized it’s something l love,” she said. “I love the aspect of marketing and educating people, both the businesses and salespeople I work with, on how best to focus their marketing efforts.”
Blumhagen’s efforts are playing a role in one of the most-anticipated comedy sequels in years. The original “Anchorman” took in $28.4 million in its opening weekend in 2004 and made $90.6 million worldwide in theaters.
Blumhagen said she visits Pierce County a couple times each year to see family and embrace her small-town upbringing.
“It’s definitely grown,” she said. “You see a few more stores and few more faces you don’t recognize. It was great memories, some great friendships.”
To view the Ron Burgundy newscast visit kxnet.com and search Will Ferrell. The website still had the entire show featured on its homepage as of Wednesday.
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