When it comes to uncovering the bare facts, the Naked News beats the pants off the competition literally. The saucy Toronto-based program which claims to have an audience of over six million viewers features an all-nude team of male and female newscasters who report on entertainment, sports, weather and, of course, international affairs.
Launched in December 1999 as an Internet news delivery service, the show is now streaking its way to American television via In Demand's pay-per-view network. Says Kathy Pinckert, director of public relations for Naked News: "It's the news like you've never seen it before." She's not kidding.
Each edition of Naked News begins with lead anchor Devon Caldwell slowly undressing as she reads current events. Caldwell was a college student who had taken time off to "build a nest egg to cover tuition costs" when she joined the Naked News team. "I was working full-time in a nursing home and part-time as a waitress," says the 19-year-old Canadian. "I came across their ad on the Internet and sent in my picture. I thought it would be a great opportunity. I've always been very comfortable with my body and we work in a relaxed atmosphere. There's usually just a cameraman and soundman and everyone's really great, which contributes to the ease of disrobing."
Naturally, some critics accuse the program of trivializing serious issues. Responds Pinckert: "If there's a story of a highly serious nature, we'll do it at the top of the show when the anchors are still clothed." How did they handle the events of Sept. 11? "We didn't air a show that day," says Caldwell. "Since we shoot in the morning and have our show up on the Internet in the afternoon, we suggested that viewers tune in to their local TV stations. The following day, we were offered the choice of wearing clothes or reading our segments in the nude. For one of the girls, it was so deeply personal, she chose to wear a suit, but the rest of us felt comfortable being nude." (The anchor who chose to remain clothed Victoria Sinclair has since quit the show.)
As for those who dismiss Naked News
as nothing but porn, Pinckert insists that "there's a large difference between nudity and sex. The human body is created by God and it's a beautiful thing."