Television viewers in Bismarck, N.D., were treated to some real class this weekend when none other than the great Ron Burgundy read them the news.
Actor and comedian Will Ferrell reprised his "Anchorman" role for KXMB's Saturday night news broadcast (http://bit.ly/1dIxZXs ). The former "Saturday Night Live" star is promoting "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," a sequel to the 2004 film about a fictional news team's sexist reaction to the arrival of an ambitious female reporter.
Dressed in his signature rust-colored three-piece suit and a striped tie, Ferrell read stories off the teleprompter, punctuated them with exaggerated eye blinks and engaged in witty banter with the Bismarck news team. He also clowned around, popping into co-anchor Amber Schatz's screen while she read a story and telling her after a commercial break, "Amber, you look lovely tonight" before asking her if she was married.
When Schatz told him she wasn't married, Ferrell replied, "Well I am, so don't get any ideas."
The online video of the 30-minute newscast, which is making the rounds on social media, is part of a widespread marketing campaign for the movie sequel that has included Dodge Durango commercials, a new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor named "Scotchy Scotch Scotch," and Burgundy's own exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
On Sunday, Ferrell headed to Winnipeg, where he was slated to help cover Canada's Olympic curling trials for broadcaster TSN.
KXMB is one of two CBS-affiliated television stations serving central and western North Dakota. The Bismarck station shares programing with Minot's KXMC, but the two stations produce separate newscasts.
KXMB station managers couldn't be reached for comment Sunday, and it was unclear if Ferrell's appearance was impromptu or part of the movie's publicity campaign. Viewers were not given advance notice.
During Saturday evening's newscast, Ferrell occasionally strayed from the script.
While extolling the tale of firefighters extinguishing a trash fire in a Sam's Club parking lot, Ferrell seemed impressed that crews used 500 gallons of water and foam to put out the blaze: "I repeat, 500 gallons."
He also drew laughs from Schatz when he mispronounced s'mores as "sah-mores," overdramatized his tease of the "Dakota Storm Center," and noted after the sports segment, "I've never seen fighting in a hockey match before. That was fascinating."
The news team expected Ferrell to end with his "Stay classy" catchphrase, but he missed the cue, saying: "What? Am I supposed to read that?"
Follow Dirk Lammers on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ddlammers