CBS Says Reporter is Fine After Bizarre On-Air Speech Flub

Serene Branson was reporting on the Grammys when she became incoherent

By Sara Dover
|  Monday, Feb 14, 2011  |  Updated 5:00 PM CDT
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A CBS reporter's strange slip-up in a post-Grammy's telecast is still a mystery.

Serene Branson, a television correspondant for the channel's Los Angeles station, was reportedly feeling fine after her struggle with words live on air had some worried she had suffered a stroke.

The two-time Emmy nominated journalist began saying "A very, very heavy" as she began her coverage of highlights from the Grammy's on Sunday night, only to trip over her words and continue speaking nonsensically before the station cut her off.

"Serene Branson was examine by paramedics on scene immediately after her broadcast," CBS said in a statement on their website. "Her vital signs were normal. She was not hospitalized. As a precautionary measure, a colleague gave her a ride home and she says that she is feeling fine this morning."

Even so, other reports speculated that Branson had suffered a stroke on air. Dr. Larry Goldstein, director of Duke Stroke Center in Durham, N.C., told ABC News that it was a "pretty scary clip."

"She appears to have an aphasia, [or] problem with expressive language, and right-sided facial weakness," said Goldstein, who was not assigned to her case. "Although this can be caused by other conditions, it is very concerning for stroke."

Dr. John Krakauer, a professor at Johns Hopkins, also offered his two cents after watching the clip. "I'm a little surprised," he told CBS. "Frankly, I would have admitted her."

The video went viral Monday morning, but many blogs took back some of their jokes after realizing the situation could have indicated a serious health problem. The Awl, one of the first sites to post the video, later updated their headline from "21 Seconds of the Most Hilarious Grammy's Coverage Ever" to "10 Seconds of (Acutally Possibly Not Funny) Grammys Coverage Ever."

"The news is muddled on this -- if it's simply misspeaking, it's very funny," the site writes. "If it's actually a medical incident? That's horrible."

CBS has since pulled the YouTube video from the internet, citing a copywright claim.

 

Selected Reading: Serene Branson Bio, CBS News, MSNBC

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