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Ernie Anastos apologizes for on-air chicken remark

WNYW Fox 5 news anchor Ernie Anastos made

WNYW Fox 5 news anchor Ernie Anastos made an unfortunate chicken remark during on-air banter earlier this week. Credit: AP File, 2007

Ernie Anastos apologized last night.

To viewers.

To colleagues.

And to chickens.

"I misspoke during last night's broadcast," he said at 10:38, deep in the program and just before a commercial break. "I apologize for my remarks to anyone who may have been offended."

No harm, no foul.

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And so ends one of the oddest episodes in the recent history of TV news, after a bizarre slip of the tongue by the veteran New York TV anchor on Wednesday's program probably left more than a few viewers gasping (then falling off their couches in laughter).

Thursday afternoon, Lew Leone, station manager said in a statement, "We are disappointed with Ernie's comment on the air last night. He will apologize for his use of inappropriate language tonight during 'FOX 5 News at 10 p.m.' "

Anastos, 66, couldn't be reached for further comment. Calls to his home were unanswered Thursday.

The incident occurred on Wednesday's show, when during jocular cross talk with weatherman Nick Gregory, Anastos joked that "I guess it takes a tough man to make a tender forecast," then added: "Keep -- that chicken." Anastos laughed loudly, and Gregory laughed a little less loudly. The studio camera then caught co-anchor Dari Alexander's expression, a bug-eyed look of abject horror.

The video, naturally, found its way to the Internet and quickly became one of the most viewed videos, and for a time, dominated Google's "most-viewed" charts.

And, of course, the jokes began. Someone named "Newsbunny" posted on Gawker, "As long as the chicken and Ernie are both adults, what's the problem?" dubbed Anastos "The Michael Vick of Poultry."

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