According to a statement released by her employer, Los Angeles’ KCBS TV, reporter Serene Branson did not—repeat, did not—suffer a stroke or seizure during her bizarre live broadcast from the Grammys last night. She’s said to be home and in good health. That’s wonderful news, of course; no one, not even those (like us) who were wracked with laughter last night, wished her any harm or injury. When we watched it happen live, our initial reaction was shock, then shock again, then convulsive guffaws, then a few moments pause to wonder if something terrible had occurred, then scouring Twitter for news, then skeptically perusing unsourced stories about a reported trip to the hospital, then more laughs, then pangs of worry that our initial mocking tone was shameful and would bar us from any paradisiacal afterlife, and then finally a shrug of the shoulders and sleep.
And so for reasons of human decency and self-preservation, we’re extremely happy that there doesn’t seem to be anything neurologically wrong with Ms. Branson, and we sincerely hope that continues to prove true. If she does indeed emerge from this with a clean bill of health, the mystery remains: What in the name of Ernie Anastos happened to her last night? What could have caused her to speak in tongues for a solid 13 seconds, while L.A. looked on, apoplectic? Until she releases a statement to the press or appears on Oprah or commandeers her evening news for a ratings-smashing exclusive, we won’t know the answer. But oh, how we can guess! Here are some possible explanations for her mondo snafu:
Someone tweeted last night that there may have been an issue with an “audio card,” and that caused the flub. After rewatching the tape, her lip movement is clearly synched to the gibberish, so this seems like a generous but implausible explanation.
Chance of being cause: 5%
Mythological, we’ll grant you, but it was the Grammys, after all, and while the show was light on metal, we did catch sight of a member of Slayer and Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx on the red carpet. Shout at the devil, indeed.
Chance of being cause: 6%
STARBUCKS TRENTA O.D.
Being a TV reporter isn’t as glamorous as it appears. Covering a live event is a slog, with hours of waiting around for the 20 seconds of go-time you see at home. A couple of 31 oz. iced Trentas could easily cause a supersized attack of the jitters.
Chance of being cause: 25%
Trust us, we’re not proud of our cynicism, but as experienced celebrity observers, we wouldn’t be surprised even a little if in the next 48-72 hours it was reported that Ms. Branson was undergoing treatment for “physical and spiritual exhaustion” at a local rehabilitation center. Say hi to Charlie Sheen for us!
Chance of being cause: 47%