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Saturday, August 4, 2012
Adventures in live television ...

By T.J. Quinn

LONDON -- We were starting a live shot on SportsCenter this week when my colleagues behind the camera, Arty Berko, Jeff Spencer and Michaela Hannant, simultaneously dropped their jaws in shock at something behind me, and they began waving frantically, like deranged mimes.

I kept talking into the camera, trying to ignore their gestures. I had no idea what was transpiring, only that it was spectacular. Michaela, a production assistant extraordinaire, bolted from the studio. Arty, our producer for the Games, took off his headset and silently ducked under the camera lens, inching toward the window while trying to stay wide of the shot.

He banged the glass behind me and gestured violently for someone to move. Once we wrapped the three-minute segment and got the word that we were clear, a stream of American and British obscenities broke free. A window washer, I was told, dressed in bright yellow, had sidled into the shot, squeegeeing the glass behind me while standing on a scaffold.

Michaela had gone onto the scaffold and shouted at him to move. He said he was told to clean the window. She said, "Get out." She prevailed, eventually. It didn't look that bad on TV, we were told. But then he also never finished cleaning the window.