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[TELEVISION NEWSCASTERS TALKING SIMULTANEOUSLY]

THIS STORY IS ABOUT HOWARD BEALE,

WHO WAS THE NETWORK NEWS ANCHORMAN ON UBS-TV.

IN HIS TIME, HOWARD BEALE HAD BEEN

A MANDARIN OF TELEVISION, THE GRAND OLD MAN OF NEWS

WITH A HUT RATING OF 16 AND A 28 AUDIENCE SHARE.

IN 1969, HOWEVER, HIS FORTUNES BEGAN TO DECLINE.

HE FELL TO A 22 SHARE.

THE FOLLOWING YEAR HIS WIFE DIED,

AND HE WAS LEFT A CHILDLESS WIDOWER

WITH AN 8 RATING AND A 12 SHARE.

HE BECAME MOROSE AND ISOLATED, BEGAN TO DRINK HEAVILY,

AND ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1975, HE WAS FIRED,

EFFECTIVE IN TWO WEEKS.

THE NEWS WAS BROKEN TO HIM BY MAX SCHUMACHER,

WHO WAS THE PRESIDENT OF THE NEWS DIVISION AT UBS.

THE TWO OLD FRIENDS GOT PROPERLY PISSED.

I WAS AT CBS

WITH ED MURROW IN 1951.

MUST HAVE BEEN 1950, THEN.

I WAS NBC ASSOCIATE PRODUCER--

MORNING NEWS.

I WAS JUST A KID, 26 YEARS OLD.

ANYWAY...

ANYWAY,

THEY'RE BUILDING THE LOWER LEVEL

OF THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE.

WE WERE DOING A REMOTE FROM THERE.

[LAUGHING]

[LAUGHING]

AND NOBODY TOLD ME.

10 AFTER 7:00 IN THE MORNING,

I GET A CALL--

"WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE

ON THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE."

I JUMP OUT OF BED,

THROW MY RAINCOAT OVER MY PAJAMAS.

I RUN DOWNSTAIRS, I RUN OUT IN THE STREET,

HAIL A CAB, AND I SAY TO THE CABBY,

"TAKE ME TO THE MIDDLE

OF THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE!"

AH HA HA HA HA!

AND THE CABBY TURNS AROUND,

AND HE SAYS...

HE SAYS, "DON'T DO IT, BUDDY.

"YOU'RE A YOUNG MAN.

YOU GOT YOUR WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU!"

DIDN'T I EVER TELL YOU THAT ONE BEFORE?

I'M GOING TO KILL MYSELF.

OH, SHIT, HOWARD.

I'M GOING TO BLOW MY BRAINS OUT

RIGHT ON THE AIR,

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 7:00 NEWS.

GET A HELL OF A RATING, I'LL GUARANTEE YOU THAT.

50 SHARE, EASY.

YOU THINK SO?

SURE.

WE COULD MAKE A SERIES OUT OF IT--

SUICIDE OF THE WEEK.

HELL, WHY LIMIT OURSELVES?

EXECUTION OF THE WEEK.

TERRORIST OF THE WEEK.

I LOVE IT.

SUICIDES... ASSASSINATIONS...

MAD BOMBERS... MAFIA HIT MEN...

AUTOMOBILE SMASH-UPS...

THE DEATH HOUR.

GREAT SUNDAY NIGHT SHOW FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY.

WIPE THAT FUCKING DISNEY RIGHT OFF THE AIR.

[HORN HONKS]

[MOTOR REVS]

[HORNS HONKING]

CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY WARNER BROS.

[TELETYPES RUNNING, BELL CLANGING]

[TELEPHONE RINGS]

LET'S DO THE LENNON DEPORTATION AT THE END OF 3.

IT'S STRONG ENOUGH TO BUMP?

IN 1, THEN.

I'LL DO A LEAD ON SARA JANE MOORE

TO MAYBERRY IN SAN FRANCISCO.

THE FILM I SAW WAS THE CHIEF OF DETECTIVES.

I THINK WE'VE GOT ABOUT 10 SECONDS

ON THE SHOOTING ITSELF.

THE WHOLE THING IS 1:25.

WHERE DOES THAT COME OUT?

ABOUT 4:50.

ARE WE USING SQUEAKY FROMME?

LET'S DO THAT IN 2.

SQUEAKY, FORD AT THE AIRPORT, BOUNCE.

ARE WE USING A MAP GOING INTO SAN FRANCISCO?

UM, I'D PREFER A NEWS PIX.

WHAT DO WE GOT LEFT?

GUN CONTROL, PATTY HEARST AFFIDAVIT,

GUERRILLAS IN CHAD, OPEC IN VIENNA.

HELLO, HOWARD. HOW ARE YOU?

HI. NOT DEAD.

DON'T FORGET, HOWARD.

NOW I'M USING A 16, O.K.?

MM-HMM.

THE FIRST ATTEMPT ON PRESIDENT FORD'S LIFE

WAS 18 DAYS AGO,

AND AGAIN YESTERDAY IN SAN FRANCISCO.

IN SPITE OF THE TWO ATTEMPTS, MR. FORD SAYS

HE WILL NOT BECOME A PRISONER OF THE OVAL OFFICE,

A HOSTAGE OF WOULD-BE ASSASSINS.

[FORD] THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

ARE GOOD PEOPLE--

DEMOCRATS, INDEPENDENTS, REPUBLICANS, AND OTHERS.

HOW THE HELL DO YOU ALWAYS GET MIXED UP

WITH MARRIED MEN?

IF YOU'RE SO HOT FOR MARRIED MEN,

WHY GO TO STRANGERS?

WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?

WANT TO KNOW? I'LL TELL YOU.

I WILL NOT CAPITULATE TO THOSE

THAT WANT TO UNDERCUT WHAT'S ALL GOOD IN AMERICA.

2, CUE HOWARD.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I WOULD LIKE AT THIS MOMENT

TO ANNOUNCE THAT I WILL BE RETIRING FROM THIS PROGRAM

IN TWO WEEKS' TIME

BECAUSE OF POOR RATINGS.

SINCE THIS SHOW WAS THE ONLY THING

I HAD GOING FOR ME IN MY LIFE,

I HAVE DECIDED TO KILL MYSELF.

SO WHAT'D SHE SAY?

I'M GOING TO BLOW MY BRAINS OUT

RIGHT ON THIS PROGRAM A WEEK FROM TODAY.

10 SECONDS TO COMMERCIAL.

SO, TUNE IN NEXT TUESDAY.

THAT SHOULD GIVE THE PUBLIC-RELATIONS PEOPLE

A WEEK TO PROMOTE THE SHOW.

GOING TO GET A HELL OF A RATING OUT OF THAT--

CALL TELECINE.

A 50 SHARE, EASY.

TAKE TELECINE.

LISTEN, UH, DID YOU HEAR THAT?

WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT?

HOWARD JUST SAID

HE WAS GONNA BLOW HIS BRAINS OUT

NEXT TUESDAY.

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

DIDN'T YOU HEAR HIM?

WHAT'S WRONG NOW?

HOWARD JUST SAID HE WAS GOING TO KILL HIMSELF

NEXT TUESDAY.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, HOWARD JUST SAID

HE WAS GONNA KILL HIMSELF

NEXT TUESDAY?

HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO A TAG

ON RON NESSON.

HE SAID, TUNE IN NEXT TUESDAY.

I'M GOING TO SHOOT MYSELF.

WHAT THE HELL'S GOING ON?

I DON'T KNOW.

HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO BLOW HIS BRAINS OUT.

WHAT THE FUCK'S GOING ON, HOWARD?

They want to know

what the fuck is going on, Howard.

I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

TURN THE STUDIO MIKE ON.

WE'RE BACK ON IN 11 SECONDS.

10 SECONDS.

HOWARD, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?

HAVE YOU FLIPPED OR WHAT?

I THINK WE'D BETTER GET HIM OFF.

GET HIM OFF.

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU?

TURN THE FUCKING SOUND OFF,

YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH!

HE'S GOING OUT LIVE!

IN 2.

WE'RE IN A LOT OF FUCKING TROUBLE DOWN HERE!

THAT'S MY FUCKING HEAD YOU'RE GRABBING!

GO TO STAND-BY,

YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH!

LOU, CAN'T WE CLEAR OUT THAT DOWNSTAIRS LOBBY?

THERE MUST BE 100 PEOPLE DOWN THERE.

EVERY TV STATION AND WIRE SERVICE IN THE CITY.

I COULD BARELY GET IN.

[TELEPHONES RINGING]

ARTHUR, ANYTHING LITIGABLE?

NOT SO FAR.

HOW MANY SPOTS WERE WIPED OUT?

FRANK HACKETT JUST WALKED IN.

IS NELSON IN THERE?

HE'S TALKING TO WHEELER.

SO FAR OVER 900 FUCKING PHONE CALLS

COMPLAINING ABOUT THE FOUL LANGUAGE.

SHIT!

WHAT PAGE ARE YOU PUTTING IT ON?

ABC WANTS THE TAPE.

TELL HIM TO GO FUCK HIMSELF.

THAT GOES FOR YOU, TOO.

YOU'RE OFF THE AIR AS OF NOW.

WANTS TO TALK TO YOU.

WHO'S REPLACING BEALE TOMORROW?

WE'RE FLYING SNOWDEN UP FROM WASHINGTON.

ALL RIGHT, EVERYBODY, HOLD IT.

LET'S SEE HOW THE OTHER NETWORKS HANDLE THIS.

10:00 NEWS OPENED WITH IT.

GOOD EVENING. HOWARD BEALE...

THEY'RE ALL GOING TO MAKE IT THEIR LEAD STORY.

HOWARD BEALE INTERRUPTED

HIS NETWORK NEWS PROGRAM TONIGHT

TO ANNOUNCE THAT HE WAS GOING TO KILL HIMSELF.

AN UNUSUAL THING HAPPENED AT ONE

OF OUR SISTER NETWORKS UBS THIS EVENING.

HOW ARE WE HANDLING IT?

HOLLOWAY'S GOING TO MAKE A BRIEF STATEMENT

AT THE END OF THE SHOW

THAT HOWARD'S BEEN UNDER GREAT PERSONAL STRESS

ET CETERA.

[HACKETT] CALL YOU BACK, TOM.

WE'VE GOT A STOCKHOLDERS' MEETING TOMORROW,

AT WHICH WE'RE GOING TO ANNOUNCE

THE RESTRUCTURING- OF-MANAGEMENT PLAN.

I DON'T WANT THIS GROTESQUE INCIDENT

TO INTERFERE WITH THAT.

I'LL SUGGEST MR. RUDDY OPEN WITH A SHORT STATEMENT

WASHING THIS WHOLE THING OFF.

AND, MAX, YOU BETTER HAVE SOME ANSWERS

FOR SOME OF THOSE NUTS

THAT ALWAYS COME TO STOCKHOLDERS' MEETINGS.

MR. BEALE HAS BEEN UNDER

GREAT PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL STRAIN.

I'VE GOT SOME SURPRISES FOR YOU, TOO, SCHUMACHER!

I'VE HAD IT UP TO HERE WITH YOUR CRUDDY DIVISION

AND ITS ANNUAL $33 MILLION DEFICIT!

YOU KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY NEWS DIVISION, FRANK.

WE'RE RESPONSIBLE TO CORPORATE LEVEL,

NOT YOU.

WE'LL GODDAMN WELL SEE ABOUT THAT.

ALL RIGHT, TAKE IT EASY.

NOW, HOW DO WE GET BEALE OUT OF HERE?

I UNDERSTAND THERE ARE AT LEAST

100 REPORTERS AND CAMERA CREWS

IN THE LOBBY.

WE GOT A LIMO AT THE FREIGHT EXIT.

HOWARD, YOU'RE GONNA SPEND THE NIGHT AT MY PLACE.

THERE'S BOUND TO BE PRESS AROUND YOURS.

I WANT SNOWDEN HERE BY NOON.

HAVE LESTER COVER THE CIA HEARINGS,

AND GIVE THE WHITE HOUSE TO DORIS.

YOU'RE LATE FOR YOUR SCREENING, MAX.

RIGHT. O.K.

IF JOHN WHEELER CALLS,

SWITCH HIM TO PROJECTION ROOM SEVEN.

MARGO, COME IN HERE A MINUTE.

I'M SORRY, BILL. THIS BEALE BUSINESS.

IT'S ALL RIGHT.

DIANA ASKED IF SHE COULD SIT IN ON THIS.

FINE. HOW'S IT GOING?

I THINK YOU'LL LIKE THIS FOOTAGE BETTER

THAN THE STUFF I SHOWED YOU LAST TIME, MAX.

[BUZZER]

MAX SCHUMACHER.

OH, GODDAMN IT. WHEN, LOUISE?

LAUREEN...

WELL, DID HE SAY ANYTHING?

ALL RIGHT. THANK YOU.

THE COMMUNIST PARTY BELIEVES

THAT THE MOST PRESSING POLITICAL NECESSITY TODAY

IS THE CONSOLIDATION

OF THE REVOLUTIONARY, RADICAL, AND DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENTS

INTO A UNITED FRONT.

HOWARD BEALE LEFT MY HOUSE ABOUT 20 MINUTES AGO.

HAS HE COME IN YET?

WELL, LET ME KNOW WHEN HE ARRIVES.

[HANGS UP TELEPHONE]

THAT'S LAUREEN HOBBS, ISN'T IT?

YEAH. THIS IS FROM A DAVID SUSSKIND

THING A WHILE BACK. I THINK

WE CAN USE SOME OF THIS STUFF.

...BY THE BROADEST POSSIBLE COALITION.

WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE NOW

IS SOMETHING REALLY SENSATIONAL.

THE FLAGSTAFF INDEPENDENT BANK OF ARIZONA

WAS RIPPED OFF LAST WEEK BY A TERRORIST GROUP

CALLED THE ECUMENICAL LIBERATION ARMY.

THEY THEMSELVES ACTUALLY

TOOK MOVIES OF THE RIP-OFF

WHILE THEY WERE RIPPING IT OFF.

WAIT TILL YOU SEE IT.

THE ECUMENICAL LIBERATION ARMY.

THAT'S NOT THE ONE THAT KIDNAPPED PATTY HEARST?

NO, NO. THAT'S THE SYMBIONESE LIBERATION ARMY.

THIS IS THE ECUMENICAL LIBERATION ARMY--

THEY'RE THE ONES WHO KIDNAPPED MARY ANN GIFFORD

THREE WEEKS AGO.

THERE'S A HELLUVA LOT OF LIBERATION ARMIES

IN THE REVOLUTIONARY UNDERGROUND

AND A LOT OF KIDNAPPED HEIRESSES.

THIS IS MARY ANN GIFFORD.

THAT'S THE GREAT AHMED KAHN.

HE'S THEIR LEADER.

YOU MEAN THEY ACTUALLY SHOT THIS FILM

WHILE THEY WERE RIPPING OFF A BANK?

YEAH. WAIT TILL YOU SEE IT.

I DON'T KNOW WHETHER TO EDIT

OR LEAVE IT RAW LIKE THIS.

THIS IS TERRIFIC STUFF! WHERE DID YOU GET IT?

I GOT EVERYTHING THROUGH LAUREEN HOBBS.

SHE'S MY CONTACT FOR ALL THIS STUFF.

[BUZZER]

YEAH.

MAX, I'VE GOT HOWARD ON THE OTHER LINE.

ALL RIGHT. PUT HIM ON.

HOWARD, I'VE GOT MAX ON FOUR. WOULD YOU PICK UP?

LISTEN, MAX, I'D LIKE ANOTHER SHOT.

OH, COME ON, HOWARD.

I DON'T MEAN THE WHOLE SHOW.

I'D JUST LIKE TO COME ON,

MAKE SOME BRIEF FAREWELL STATEMENT,

AND THEN TURN THE SHOW OVER TO JACK SNOWDEN.

I HAVE 11 YEARS AT THIS NETWORK.

I HAVE SOME STANDING IN THE INDUSTRY.

I JUST DON'T WANT TO GO OUT LIKE A CLOWN.

IT'LL BE SIMPLE, DIGNIFIED.

YOU AND HARRY CAN CHECK THE COPY.

I THINK IT'LL TAKE THE STRAIN OFF THE SHOW, MAX.

WELL, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

WELL...

O.K.

AND NO BOOZE TODAY, HOWARD.

NO BOOZE.

GEORGE, CAN YOU COME INTO MY OFFICE FOR A MINUTE?

[TELEPHONE RINGING]

BARBARA, IS TOMMY AROUND ANYWHERE?

I THINK SO.

I'D LIKE TO SEE THE TWO OF YOU FOR A MOMENT.

UH...

THIS IS BILL HERRON

FROM OUR WEST COAST SPECIAL PROGRAMS DEPARTMENT.

GEORGE BOSCH, BARBARA SCHLESINGER,

TOMMY PELLEGRINO.

I JUST SAW SOME ROUGH FOOTAGE

OF A SPECIAL BILL'S DOING

ON THE REVOLUTIONARY UNDERGROUND.

MOST OF IT'S TEDIOUS STUFF OF LAUREEN HOBBS

AND TWO FATIGUE JACKETS MUTTERING MUTILATED MARXISM,

BUT HE'S GOT ABOUT EIGHT MINUTES

OF A BANK ROBBERY

THAT IS ABSOLUTELY SENSATIONAL, AUTHENTIC STUFF

ACTUALLY SHOT WHILE THE ROBBERY WAS GOING ON.

REMEMBER THE MARY ANN GIFFORD KIDNAPPING?

IT'S THAT BUNCH OF NUTS.

SHE'S IN THE MOVIE SHOOTING OFF MACHINE GUNS.

IT'S REALLY TERRIFIC FOOTAGE.

I THINK WE CAN GET A MOVIE OF THE WEEK OUT OF IT,

MAYBE EVEN A SERIES.

A SERIES OUT OF WHAT? WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

LOOK, WE'VE GOT A BUNCH OF HOBGOBLIN RADICALS

CALLED THE ECUMENICAL LIBERATION ARMY WHO GO AROUND

TAKING HOME MOVIES OF THEMSELVES ROBBING BANKS.

MAYBE THEY'LL TAKE MOVIES

OF THEMSELVES KIDNAPPING HEIRESSES,

HIJACKING 747s,

BOMBING BRIDGES,

ASSASSINATING AMBASSADORS.

WE OPEN EACH WEEK'S SEGMENT WITH AUTHENTIC FOOTAGE,

HIRE A COUPLE OF WRITERS

TO WRITE SOME STORY BEHIND THAT FOOTAGE,

AND WE'VE GOT OURSELVES A SERIES.

A SERIES ABOUT A BUNCH OF, UH...

BANK-ROBBING GUERRILLAS?

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO CALL IT--

THE MAO TSE-TUNG HOUR?

WHY NOT?

THEY'VE GOT STRIKE FORCE, TASK FORCE, S.W.A.T.

WHY NOT CHE GUEVARA AND HIS OWN LITTLE MOD SQUAD?

I SENT YOU ALL A CONCEPT ANALYSIS REPORT YESTERDAY.

DID ANY OF YOU READ IT?

WELL, IN A NUTSHELL,

IT SAID THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE TURNING SULLEN.

THEY'VE BEEN CLOBBERED ON ALL SIDES

BY VIETNAM, WATERGATE, THE INFLATION, THE DEPRESSION.

THEY'VE TURNED OFF, SHOT UP, AND THEY FUCK THEMSELVES LIMP,

AND NOTHING HELPS.

SO, THIS CONCEPT ANALYSIS REPORT CONCLUDES

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT SOMEBODY TO ARTICULATE

THEIR RAGE FOR THEM.

I'VE BEEN TELLING YOU PEOPLE

SINCE I TOOK THIS JOB SIX MONTHS AGO

THAT I WANT ANGRY SHOWS.

I DON'T WANT CONVENTIONAL PROGRAMMING ON THIS NETWORK.

I WANT COUNTERCULTURE. I WANT ANTIESTABLISHMENT.

I DON'T WANT TO PLAY BUTCH-BOSS WITH YOU PEOPLE,

BUT WHEN I TOOK OVER THIS DEPARTMENT,

IT HAD THE WORST PROGRAMMING RECORD

IN TELEVISION HISTORY.

THIS NETWORK HASN'T ONE SHOW IN THE TOP 20.

THIS NETWORK IS AN INDUSTRY JOKE.

WE BETTER START PUTTING TOGETHER

ONE WINNER FOR NEXT SEPTEMBER.

I WANT A SHOW DEVELOPED

BASED ON THE ACTIVITIES OF A TERRORIST GROUP--

JOSEPH STALIN AND HIS MERRY BAND OF BOLSHEVIKS.

I WANT IDEAS FROM YOU PEOPLE.

THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE PAID FOR.

AND, BY THE WAY, THE NEXT TIME

I SEND AN AUDIENCE RESEARCH REPORT AROUND,

YOU ALL BETTER READ IT,

OR I'LL SACK THE FUCKING LOT OF YOU.

IS THAT CLEAR?

I'LL BE OUT ON THE COAST IN FOUR WEEKS.

CAN YOU SET UP A MEETING WITH LAUREEN HOBBS FOR ME?

SURE.

THE BUSINESS OF MANAGEMENT IS MANAGEMENT.

AT THE TIME CCA TOOK CONTROL,

THE UBS TV NETWORK WAS FOUNDERING

WITH LESS THAN 7% OF NATIONAL TELEVISION REVENUES,

MOST NETWORK PROGRAMS BEING SOLD AT STATION RATES.

I AM THEREFORE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE

I AM SUBMITTING TO THE BOARD OF THE DIRECTORS

A PLAN FOR THE COORDINATION OF THE MAIN PROFIT CENTERS

WITH THE SPECIFIC INTENTION OF MAKING EACH DIVISION

MORE RESPONSIVE TO MANAGEMENT.

POINT ONE.

THE DIVISION PRODUCING THE LOWEST RATE OF RETURN

HAS BEEN THE NEWS DIVISION, WITH ITS $98 MILLION BUDGET

AND ITS AVERAGE ANNUAL DEFICIT OF 32 MILLION.

I KNOW THAT HISTORICALLY

NEWS DIVISIONS ARE EXPECTED TO LOSE MONEY,

BUT, TO OUR MINDS,

THIS PHILOSOPHY IS A WANTON FISCAL AFFRONT

TO BE RESOLUTELY RESISTED.

THE NEW PLAN CALLS FOR LOCAL NEWS

TO BE TRANSFERRED TO OWNED STATIONS' DIVISIONS.

NEWS RADIO WOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO THE UBS RADIO DIVISION,

AND, IN EFFECT, THE NEWS DIVISION

WOULD BE REDUCED FROM AN INDEPENDENT DIVISION

TO A DEPARTMENT ACCOUNTABLE TO NETWORK.

WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT, ED?

THIS IS NOT THE TIME, MAX.

WHY WASN'T I TOLD ABOUT THIS?

WHY WAS I LED UP ONTO THAT PODIUM

AND PUBLICLY HUMILIATED

IN FRONT OF THE STOCKHOLDERS?

GODDAMN IT,

I SPOKE TO JOHN WHEELER THIS MORNING

AND HE ASSURED ME THE NEWS DIVISION WAS SAFE.

IF YOU'RE TRYING TO GET ME TO RESIGN,

THAT'S ONE HELL OF A WAY TO DO IT.

WE'LL TALK ABOUT THIS TOMORROW

AT OUR REGULAR MORNING MEETING.

11, 10...

ROLL VTA.

9, 8...

BRING IT UP ON 1.

7, 6...

IN 5, 4, 3, 2...

CUE VTA.

1...

[TELETYPE MACHINE SOUND EFFECT]

AND...

CUE ANNOUNCER.

[ANNOUNCER] THE UBS EVENING NEWS,

WITH HOWARD BEALE.

READY, 2.

2, CUE HOWARD.

[BEALE] GOOD EVENING.

TODAY IS WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER THE 24th,

AND THIS IS MY LAST BROADCAST.

YESTERDAY I ANNOUNCED ON THIS PROGRAM

THAT I WAS GOING TO COMMIT PUBLIC SUICIDE--

ADMITTEDLY, AN ACT OF MADNESS.

WELL, I'LL TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED.

I JUST RAN OUT OF BULLSHIT.

ALL RIGHT. CUT HIM OFF.

LEAVE HIM ON.

AM I STILL ON THE AIR?

IF THIS IS HOW HE WANTS TO GO OUT,

THIS IS HOW HE GOES OUT.

[TELEPHONE RINGS]

YEAH. MR. SCHUMACHER'S HERE.

DO YOU WANT TO TALK TO HIM?

BULLSHIT IS ALL THE REASONS WE GIVE FOR LIVING.

IF WE CAN'T THINK UP ANY REASON OF OUR OWN,

WE ALWAYS HAVE THE GOD BULLSHIT.

YEAH, TOM. WHAT IS IT?

...ALL THIS POINTLESS PAIN, HUMILIATION, AND DECAY,

SO THERE'D BETTER BE SOMEONE SOMEWHERE WHO DOES KNOWS.

THAT'S THE GOD BULLSHIT.

HE'S SAYING THAT LIFE IS BULLSHIT.

IT IS, SO WHAT ARE YOU SCREAMING ABOUT?

MAN IS A NOBLE CREATURE, LORD OF HIS OWN WORLD.

WHO NEEDS GOD?

IF THERE'S ANYBODY OUT THERE THAT CAN LOOK AROUND

THIS DEMENTED SLAUGHTERHOUSE OF A WORLD WE LIVE IN

AND TELL ME THAT MAN IS A NOBLE CREATURE,

BELIEVE ME, THAT MAN IS FULL OF BULLSHIT.

HA HA HA!

WHAT'S SO GODDAMN FUNNY?

I CAN'T HELP IT. IT'S FUNNY.

MAX, THIS IS GOING OUT LIVE

TO 67 AFFILIATES.

LEAVE HIM ON.

AND I WAS MARRIED FOR 33 YEARS

OF SHRILL, SHRIEKING FRAUD.

MR. HACKETT'S TRYING TO GET THROUGH TO YOU.

TELL MR. HACKETT TO GO FUCK HIMSELF.

SO I DON'T HAVE ANY BULLSHIT LEFT.

I JUST RAN OUT OF IT, YOU SEE.

HERE HE COMES.

MR. RUDDY, COULD WE HAVE JUST ONE STATEMENT?

SORRY. I DON'T HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION YET.

MR. RUDDY, ONE QUESTION.

MR. RUDDY, PLEASE,

IF WE COULD JUST HAVE ONE STATEMENT

ABOUT MR. BEALE...

[FOOTSTEPS]

MAX.

[RUDDY] I'LL WANT TO SEE MR. BEALE AFTER THIS.

THE WAY I HEAR IT, MAX,

YOU ARE PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE

FOR THIS COLOSSALLY STUPID PRANK.

IS THAT THE FACT, MAX?

THAT'S THE FACT.

IT WAS UNCONSCIONABLE.

DOESN'T SEEM TO BE ANYTHING MORE TO SAY.

I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, ED.

I WANT TO KNOW WHY

THAT WHOLE DEBASEMENT OF THE NEWS DIVISION

ANNOUNCED AT THE STOCKHOLDERS' MEETING

THIS AFTERNOON WAS KEPT SECRET FROM ME.

YOU AND I GO BACK 20 YEARS, ED.

I TOOK THIS JOB WITH YOUR PERSONAL ASSURANCE

THAT YOU'D BACK MY AUTONOMY

AGAINST ANY ENCROACHMENT,

BUT EVER SINCE CCA ACQUIRED CONTROL

OF UBS SYSTEMS 10 MONTHS AGO,

HACKETT'S BEEN TAKING OVER EVERYTHING.

NOW, WHO THE HELL IS RUNNING THIS NETWORK--

YOU OR SOME CONGLOMERATE CALLED CCA?

I MEAN, YOU'RE PRESIDENT OF THE SYSTEMS GROUP,

AND HACKETT'S NOTHING

BUT A HATCHET MAN FOR CCA.

NELSON HERE--PRESIDENT OF THE NETWORK,

AND HE HASN'T A DAMN THING TO SAY

ABOUT ANYTHING ANYMORE.

I TOLD YOU AT THE STOCKHOLDERS' MEETING, MAX,

THAT WE WOULD DISCUSS ALL THAT

AT OUR REGULAR MEETING TOMORROW MORNING.

IF YOU HAD BEEN PATIENT, I WOULD HAVE EXPLAINED

THAT I, TOO, THOUGHT FRANK HACKETT PRECIPITATE

AND THAT THE REORGANIZATION OF THE NEWS DIVISION

WOULD NOT BE EXECUTED UNTIL EVERYONE--

SPECIFICALLY YOU, MAX--

HAD BEEN CONSULTED AND SATISFIED.

INSTEAD, YOU SULKED OFF LIKE A CHILD

AND ENGAGED THIS NETWORK

IN A SHOCKING AND DISGRACEFUL EPISODE.

YOUR POSITION IS NO LONGER TENABLE,

REGARDLESS OF HOW MANAGEMENT IS RESTRUCTURED.

I WILL EXPECT YOUR RESIGNATION AT 10:00 TOMORROW MORNING.

WE WILL COORDINATE OUR STATEMENTS

TO THE LEAST DETRIMENT OF EVERYONE.

BOB McDONOUGH WILL TAKE OVER THE NEWS DIVISION

UNTIL WE CAN SORT ALL THIS OUT.

I'D LIKE TO SEE MR. BEALE NOW.

THEY'RE LOOKING FOR HIM.

THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE HE IS.

WELL, EVERY DAY, 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR 15 YEARS,

I'VE BEEN SITTING BEHIND THAT DESK,

THE DISPASSIONATE PUNDIT,

REPORTING WITH SEEMLY DETACHMENT

THE DAILY PARADE OF LUNACIES THAT CONSTITUTE THE NEWS,

AND JUST ONCE, I WANTED TO SAY WHAT I REALLY FELT.

KNOCK IT OFF, ARTHUR.

IT WAS, AFTER ALL, MY LAST...

DID THE OVERNIGHT RATINGS COME IN?

THEY'RE ON YOUR DESK.

HAVE YOU STILL GOT YESTERDAY'S OVERNIGHTS AROUND?

SHALL I BRING 'EM IN?

YEAH.

THESE ARE THOSE FOUR OUTLINES SUBMITTED BY UNIVERSAL

FOR AN HOUR SERIES.

YOU NEEDN'T BOTHER TO READ THEM.

I'LL TELL THEM TO YOU.

THE FIRST ONE IS SET IN A LARGE EASTERN LAW SCHOOL,

PRESUMABLY HARVARD.

THE SERIES IS IRRESISTIBLY ENTITLED THE NEW LAWYERS.

THE RUNNING CHARACTERS ARE

A CRUSTY BUT BENIGN EX-SUPREME COURT JUSTICE,

PRESUMABLY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES BY WAY OF DR. ZORBA.

THERE IS A BEAUTIFUL GIRL GRADUATE STUDENT

AND THE LOCAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY,

WHO IS BRILLIANT AND SOMETIMES CUTS CORNERS.

NEXT ONE.

THE SECOND ONE'S CALLED THE AMAZON SQUAD.

LADY COPS.

THE RUNNING CHARACTERS INCLUDE

A CRUSTY BUT BENIGN POLICE LIEUTENANT

WHO'S ALWAYS GETTING HEAT FROM THE COMMISSIONER,

A HARD-NOSED, HARD-DRINKING DETECTIVE

WHO THINKS WOMEN BELONG IN THE KITCHEN,

AND A BRILLIANT AND BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRL COP

WHO'S FIGHTING THE FEMINIST BATTLE ON THE FORCE.

WE'RE UP TO OUR EARS IN LADY COPS.

NEXT IS ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER SHOWS.

A CRUSTY BUT BENIGN MANAGING EDITOR

WHO'S ALWAYS GETTING--

YOU KNOW, BARBARA, THE ARABS HAVE DECIDED

TO JACK UP THE PRICE OF OIL

ANOTHER 20%,

THE CIA HAS BEEN CAUGHT

OPENING SENATOR HUMPHREY'S MAIL,

THERE'S A CIVIL WAR IN ANGOLA,

ANOTHER ONE IN BEIRUT...

UH...NEW YORK CITY IS STILL FACING DEFAULT,

THEY FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH PATRICIA HEARST,

AND THE WHOLE FRONT PAGE OF THE DAILY NEWS

IS HOWARD BEALE.

THERE'S ALSO A TWO-COLUMN STORY

ON PAGE ONE OF THE TIMES.

HELEN, CALL MR. HACKETT'S OFFICE.

SEE IF HE CAN GIVE ME

A FEW MINUTES THIS MORNING.

KTNS-KANSAS CITY REFUSES TO CARRY

OUR NETWORK NEWS SHOW ANYMORE

UNLESS BEALE IS TAKEN OFF THE AIR.

DID YOU SEE THE OVERNIGHTS ON THE NETWORK NEWS?

IT HAS AN 8 IN NEW YORK, A 9 IN L.A.,

AND A 27 SHARE IN BOTH CITIES.

LAST NIGHT, HOWARD BEALE WENT ON THE AIR

AND YELLED "BULLSHIT" FOR TWO MINUTES,

AND I CAN TELL YOU RIGHT NOW THAT TONIGHT'S SHOW

WILL GET A 30 SHARE AT LEAST.

I THINK WE'VE LUCKED INTO SOMETHING.

FOR GOD'S SAKES, DIANA, ARE YOU SUGGESTING

WE PUT THAT LUNATIC BACK ON THE AIR

YELLING "BULLSHIT"?

YES. I THINK WE SHOULD PUT BEALE BACK ON THE AIR TONIGHT

AND KEEP HIM ON.

DID YOU SEE THE NEWS THIS MORNING?

DID YOU SEE THE TIMES?

WE GOT PRESS COVERAGE ON THIS

YOU COULDN'T BUY FOR A MILLION DOLLARS.

FRANK, THAT DUMB SHOW

JUMPED 5 RATING POINTS IN ONE NIGHT.

TONIGHT'S SHOW HAS GOT TO BE AT LEAST 15.

WE JUST INCREASED OUR AUDIENCE BY 20

OR 30 MILLION PEOPLE IN ONE NIGHT!

YOU'RE NOT GONNA GET SOMETHING LIKE THIS

DUMPED IN YOUR LAP

FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAYS,

AND YOU CAN'T JUST PISS IT AWAY.

HOWARD BEALE WENT UP THERE LAST NIGHT

AND SAID WHAT EVERY AMERICAN FEELS--

THAT HE'S TIRED OF ALL THE BULLSHIT.

HE'S ARTICULATING THE POPULAR RAGE.

I WANT THAT SHOW, FRANK.

I CAN TURN THAT SHOW

INTO THE BIGGEST SMASH ON TELEVISION.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU WANT THAT SHOW?

IT'S A NEWS SHOW. IT'S NOT YOUR DEPARTMENT.

I SEE HOWARD BEALE AS A LATTER-DAY PROPHET,

A MAGNIFICENT MESSIANIC FIGURE

INVEIGHING AGAINST THE HYPOCRISIES

OF OUR TIMES!

A STRIP SAVONAROLA MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY

THAT I TELL YOU COULD JUST GO THROUGH THE ROOF!

I'M TALKING ABOUT A $6.00 COST

PER THOUSAND SHOW.

I'M TALKING ABOUT $100,000,

$130,000 MINUTES.

DO YOU WANT TO FIGURE OUT THE REVENUES

OF A STRIP SHOW

THAT SELLS FOR 100,000 BUCKS A MINUTE?

ONE SHOW LIKE THAT COULD PULL THIS WHOLE NETWORK

RIGHT OUT OF THE HOLE, FRANK.

IT'S BEING HANDED TO US ON A PLATE.

LET'S NOT BLOW IT.

[TELEPHONE BUZZES]

YES.

TELL HIM I'LL BE A FEW MINUTES.

LET ME THINK IT OVER.

FRANK, LET'S NOT GO TO COMMITTEE ON THIS.

IT'S 10:20. WE WANT BEALE IN THAT STUDIO BY 6:30.

WE DON'T WANT TO LOSE THE MOMENTUM.

FOR GOD'S SAKES, DIANA, WE'RE TALKING

ABOUT PUTTING A MANIFESTLY IRRESPONSIBLE MAN

ON NATIONAL TELEVISION.

I'D LIKE TO TALK TO LEGAL AFFAIRS, AT LEAST,

AND HERB THACKERAY

AND CERTAINLY JOE DONNELLY IN STANDARDS AND PRACTICES.

YOU KNOW I'LL BE EYEBALL-TO-EYEBALL

WITH MR. RUDDY ON THIS.

IF I'M GOING TO THE MAT WITH RUDDY,

I WANT TO MAKE SURE OF SOME OF MY GROUND.

I'M THE ONE WHOSE ASS IS GOING ON THE LINE.

I'LL GET BACK TO YOU, DIANA.

I DON'T BELIEVE THIS. I DON'T BELIEVE IT.

THE TOP BRASS OF A NATIONAL TELEVISION NETWORK

IS SITTING AROUND THEIR CAESAR SALADS--

TOP BRASS OF A BANKRUPT NATIONAL TELEVISION NETWORK

WITH PROJECTED LOSSES OF CLOSE TO $150 MILLION.

I DON'T CARE HOW BANKRUPT!

YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUSLY PROPOSING,

AND THE REST OF US SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING,

PUTTING ON A PORNOGRAPHIC NETWORK NEWS SHOW.

THE FCC WOULD KILL US.

SIT DOWN, NELSON.

THE FCC CAN'T DO ANYTHING

EXCEPT RAP OUR KNUCKLES.

I DON'T EVEN WANT TO THINK

ABOUT THE LITIGIOUS POSSIBILITIES.

WE COULD BE UP TO OUR EARS IN LAWSUITS.

THE AFFILIATES WON'T CARRY IT.

THEY'LL KISS YOUR ASS IF YOU HAND THEM A HIT SHOW.

POPULAR REACTION--

WE DON'T KNOW THE POPULAR REACTION.

THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE TO FIND OUT.

THE NEW YORK TIMES--

THE NEW YORK TIMES

DOESN'T ADVERTISE ON OUR NETWORK.

ALL I KNOW IS THIS VIOLATES EVERY CANON

OF RESPECTABLE BROADCASTING.

WE'RE NOT A RESPECTABLE NETWORK.

WE'RE A WHOREHOUSE NETWORK.

WE HAVE TO TAKE WHATEVER WE CAN GET.

WELL, I DON'T WANT ANY PART OF IT.

I DON'T FANCY MYSELF THE PRESIDENT OF A WHOREHOUSE.

THAT'S VERY COMMENDABLE, NELSON. NOW SIT DOWN.

YOUR INDIGNATION HAS BEEN DULY RECORDED.

YOU CAN ALWAYS RESIGN TOMORROW.

NOW, LOOK. WHAT IN SUBSTANCE

ARE WE PROPOSING?

MERELY TO ADD EDITORIAL COMMENT

TO OUR NETWORK NEWS SHOW.

BRINKLEY, SEVAREID, REASONER ALL HAVE THEIR COMMENTS.

NOW HOWARD BEALE WILL HAVE HIS.

I THINK WE OUGHT TO GIVE IT A SHOT.

LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS TONIGHT.

TELEPHONE, PLEASE.

WELL, I DON'T WANT TO BE

THE BABYLONIAN MESSENGER

THAT HAS TO TELL MAX SCHUMACHER ABOUT THIS.

MAX SCHUMACHER DOESN'T WORK AT THIS NETWORK ANYMORE.

MR. RUDDY FIRED HIM LAST NIGHT.

BOB McDONOUGH'S RUNNING THE NEWS DIVISION NOW.

BOB McDONOUGH IN NEWS, PLEASE.

OH, I DON'T KNOW.

I MAY TEACH, I MAY WRITE A BOOK--

WHATEVER THE HELL ONE DOES

WHEN ONE APPROACHES THE AUTUMN OF ONE'S YEARS.

MY GOD, IS THAT ME?

WAS I EVER THAT YOUNG?

NO. HOWARD JUST BROUGHT IN A PICTURE

OF ED MURROW AND THE WHOLE CBS GANG

WHEN WE WERE THERE.

YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE IT.

WALTER CRONKITE, HARRY REASONER,

HOLLENBECK, BOB TROUT--

IS THAT YOU, HOWARD?

MM-HMM.

YEAH. O.K., DICK.

WE'LL BE IN TOUCH.

REMEMBER THIS KID?

HE'S THE KID YOU ONCE SENT OUT TO INTERVIEW

CLEVELAND AMORY ON VIVISECTION.

THAT'S HIM.

HA HA HA HA!

WHAT'S SO FUNNY?

HA HA HA!

HA HA HA!

HA HA HA!

[SCHUMACHER] SO I JUMP OUT OF BED IN MY PAJAMAS,

I GRAB MY RAINCOAT, I RUN DOWNSTAIRS,

I RUN OUT IN THE STREET AND I HAIL A CAB.

I JUMP IN, AND I YELL AT THE DRIVER,

"TAKE ME TO THE MIDDLE

OF THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE."

HA HA HA!

HA HA HA!

AND THE DRIVER TURNS AROUND AND SAYS,

"DON'T DO IT, BUDDY. DON'T DO IT. YOU'RE YOUNG.

YOU GOT YOUR WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU."

HA HA HA!

HA HA HA!

WAIT A MINUTE. WAIT A MINUTE.

IF YOU THINK THAT'S FUNNY,

WAIT TILL YOU HEAR THIS.

I'VE JUST COME FROM HACKETT'S OFFICE.

HE WANTS TO PUT HOWARD

BACK ON THE AIR TONIGHT.

YOU'RE KIDDING.

NO. APPARENTLY,

THE RATINGS WENT UP 5 POINTS LAST NIGHT,

AND HE WANTS HOWARD TO GO BACK ON

AND DO HIS ANGRY MAN THING.

[SCHUMACHER] WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

I'M TELLING YOU,

THEY WANT HOWARD TO GO BACK ON

AND YELL "BULLSHIT."

HA HA HA!

HA HA HA!

THEY WANT HOWARD TO GO ON

SPONTANEOUSLY LETTING OUT HIS ANGER--

A LATTER-DAY PROPHET DENOUNCING

THE HYPOCRISIES OF OUR TIMES.

HEY, THAT SOUNDS PRETTY GOOD!

WHO'S THIS "THEY"?

HACKETT, CHANEY WAS THERE,

THE LEGAL AFFAIRS GUY...

OH, AND THAT GIRL FROM PROGRAMMING.

CHRISTENSEN? WHAT'S SHE GOT TO DO WITH THIS?

YOU'RE KIDDING, AREN'T YOU?

I'M NOT KIDDING. I TOLD THEM, "LOOK,

"WE'RE RUNNING A NEWS DEPARTMENT

"DOWN HERE, NOT A CIRCUS,

"AND HOWARD BEALE'S NOT A BEARDED LADY.

"IF YOU THINK I'LL GO ALONG WITH

"THIS BASTARDIZATION OF THE NEWS,

"YOU CAN HAVE MY RESIGNATION

ALONG WITH MAX SCHUMACHER'S RIGHT NOW."

AND I THINK I'M SPEAKING FOR HOWARD BEALE,

AND EVERYBODY ELSE DOWN HERE.

HEY, HOLD IT, McDONOUGH.

THAT'S MY JOB YOU'RE TURNING DOWN.

I'D GO NUTS WITHOUT SOME KIND OF WORK.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH BEING AN ANGRY PROPHET

DENOUNCING THE HYPOCRISIES OF OUR TIMES?

WHAT DO YOU THINK, MAX?

DO YOU WANT TO BE AN ANGRY PROPHET

DENOUNCING THE HYPOCRISIES OF OUR TIMES?

YEAH, I THINK I'D LIKE TO BE AN ANGRY PROPHET

DENOUNCING THE HYPOCRISIES OF OUR TIMES.

THEN GRAB IT! GRAB IT!

GOOD AFTERNOON, MR. RUDDY.

GOOD AFTERNOON.

GOOD AFTERNOON, MR. RUDDY.

HE'S WAITING FOR YOU, MR. RUDDY.

THANK YOU.

NELSON CHANEY TELLS ME

BEALE MAY ACTUALLY GO ON THE AIR THIS EVENING.

AS FAR AS I KNOW, HOWARD'S GOING TO DO IT.

YOU GOING TO SIT STILL FOR THIS, ED?

YES. I THINK HACKETT'S OVERSTEPPED HIMSELF.

THERE'S SOME KIND OF CORPORATE MANEUVERING

GOING ON, MAX.

HACKETT IS CLEARLY FORCING A CONFRONTATION.

THAT WOULD ACCOUNT FOR HIS BEHAVIOR

AT THE STOCKHOLDERS' MEETING.

HOWEVER, I THINK HE'S MAKING A SERIOUS MISTAKE

WITH THIS BEALE BUSINESS.

I SUSPECT CCA WILL BE UPSET

AT HACKETT'S PRESUMPTUOUSNESS.

CERTAINLY MR. JENSEN WILL.

SO I'M GOING TO LET HACKETT

HAVE HIS HEAD FOR A WHILE.

HE JUST MIGHT LOSE IT

OVER THIS BEALE BUSINESS.

I'D LIKE YOU TO RECONSIDER

YOUR RESIGNATION, MAX.

I HAVE TO ASSUME HACKETT WOULDN'T TAKE SUCH STEPS

WITHOUT SOME SUPPORT ON THE CCA BOARD.

I'LL HAVE TO GO DIRECTLY TO MR. JENSEN.

WHEN THAT HAPPENS,

I'M GOING TO NEED EVERY FRIEND I'VE GOT,

AND I CERTAINLY DON'T WANT HACKETT'S PEOPLE

IN ALL THE DIVISIONAL POSITIONS,

SO I'D LIKE YOU TO STAY ON, MAX.

OF COURSE, ED.

THANK YOU, MAX.

THIS HAS BEEN THE UBS EVENING NEWS

WITH HOWARD BEALE.

[NARRATOR] THE INITIAL RESPONSE

TO THE NEW HOWARD BEALE SHOW

WAS NOT AUSPICATORY.

THE PRESS WAS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, HOSTILE

AND INDUSTRY REACTION, NEGATIVE.

THE RATINGS FOR THE THURSDAY AND FRIDAY SHOWS WERE BOTH 14,

BUT MONDAY'S RATING DROPPED A POINT,

CLEARLY SUGGESTING THE NOVELTY WAS WEARING OFF.

DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PSYCHICS

WORKING AS LICENSED BROKERS ON WALL STREET?

SOME OF THEM COUNSEL THEIR CLIENTS

BY USE OF TAROT CARDS.

THEY'RE ALL PRETTY SUCCESSFUL,

EVEN IN A BEAR MARKET AND SELLING SHORT.

I MET ONE OF THEM LAST WEEKEND,

AND THOUGHT OF DOING A SHOW AROUND HER--

THE WAYWARD WITCH OF WALL STREET--

SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

OF COURSE, IF HER TIPS WERE ANY GOOD,

SHE COULD WRECK THE MARKET.

SO I CALLED HER THIS MORNING

AND ASKED HER HOW SHE WAS

ON PREDICTING THE FUTURE.

SHE SAID SHE WAS OCCASIONALLY PRESCIENT.

"FOR EXAMPLE," SHE SAID,

"I JUST HAD A FLEETING VISION OF YOU

"SITTING IN AN OFFICE

"WITH A CRAGGY, MIDDLE-AGED MAN

"WITH WHOM YOU ARE

OR WILL BE EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED,"

AND HERE I AM.

SHE DOES ALL THIS WITH TAROT CARDS?

NO. THIS ONE OPERATES ON PARAPSYCHOLOGY.

SHE HAS TRANCE-LIKE EPISODES

AND FEELS THINGS IN HER ENERGY FIELD.

I THINK THIS LADY

COULD BE VERY USEFUL TO YOU, MAX.

IN WHAT WAY?

YOU PUT ON A NEWS SHOW, AND HERE IS SOMEBODY

WHO CAN PREDICT TOMORROW'S NEWS FOR YOU.

HER NAME, APTLY ENOUGH, IS SYBIL--

SYBIL THE SOOTHSAYER.

YOU COULD GIVE HER TWO MINUTES OF TRANCE

AT THE END OF A HOWARD BEALE SHOW,

SAY, ONCE A WEEK-- FRIDAY,

WHICH IS SUGGESTIVELY OCCULT--

AND SHE COULD ORACULATE.

THEN NEXT WEEK, EVERYONE TUNES IN

TO SEE HOW GOOD HER PREDICTIONS WERE.

MAYBE SHE COULD DO THE WEATHER.

YOUR NETWORK NEWS SHOW'S GONNA NEED SOME HELP

IF IT'S GONNA HOLD.

BEALE DOESN'T DO THE ANGRY MAN THING WELL AT ALL.

HE'S TOO KVETCHY. HE'S BEING IRASCIBLE.

WE WANT A PROPHET, NOT A CURMUDGEON.

HE SHOULD DO MORE APOCALYPTIC DOOM.

I THINK YOU SHOULD TAKE ON A COUPLE OF WRITERS

TO WRITE SOME JEREMIADS FOR HIM.

I SEE YOU DON'T FANCY MY SUGGESTIONS.

HA HA HA!

HELL, YOU'RE NOT SERIOUS, ARE YOU?

OH, I'M SERIOUS.

THE FACT IS, I COULD MAKE YOUR BEALE SHOW

THE HIGHEST-RATED NEWS SHOW IN TELEVISION

IF YOU'D LET ME HAVE A CRACK AT IT.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, "HAVE A CRACK AT IT"?

I'D LIKE TO PROGRAM IT FOR YOU--DEVELOP IT.

I WOULDN'T INTERFERE

WITH THE ACTUAL NEWS ITSELF,

BUT TV IS SHOW BIZ, MAX,

AND EVEN THE NEWS HAS TO HAVE

A LITTLE SHOWMANSHIP.

MY GOD, YOU ARE SERIOUS.

I WATCHED YOUR 6:00 NEWS TODAY.

IT'S STRAIGHT TABLOID.

YOU HAD 1 1/2 MINUTES OF THAT LADY

RIDING A BIKE NAKED IN CENTRAL PARK.

ON THE OTHER HAND,

YOU HAD LESS THAN A MINUTE

OF HARD NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL NEWS.

IT WAS ALL SEX, SCANDAL, BRUTAL CRIME, SPORTS,

CHILDREN WITH INCURABLE DISEASE,

AND LOST PUPPIES.

SO I DON'T THINK I'LL LISTEN TO ANY PROTESTATIONS

OF HIGH STANDARDS OF JOURNALISM

WHEN YOU'RE RIGHT DOWN IN THE STREET

SOLICITING AUDIENCES LIKE THE REST OF US.

LOOK, ALL I'M SAYING IS,

IF YOU'RE GOING TO HUSTLE,

AT LEAST DO IT RIGHT.

I'M GONNA BRING THIS UP

AT TOMORROW'S NETWORK MEETING,

BUT I DON'T LIKE NETWORK HASSLES.

I WAS HOPING YOU AND I

COULD WORK THIS OUT BETWEEN US.

THAT'S WHY I'M HERE.

AND I WAS HOPING THAT YOU WERE LOOKING

FOR AN EMOTIONAL INVOLVEMENT

WITH A CRAGGY, MIDDLE-AGED MAN.

OH, I WOULDN'T RULE THAT OUT ENTIRELY.

ALL RIGHT, DIANA.

YOU BRING UP ALL YOUR IDEAS AT THE MEETING TOMORROW,

BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T, I WILL.

I THINK HOWARD'S MAKING A GODDAMN FOOL OF HIMSELF,

AND SO DOES EVERYBODY THAT HOWARD AND I KNOW

IN THIS INDUSTRY.

IT WAS A FLUKE. IT DIDN'T WORK.

SO TOMORROW, HOWARD GOES BACK TO THE OLD FORMAT,

AND ALL OF THIS GUTTER DEPRAVITY COMES TO AN END.

O.K.

I DON'T GET IT, DIANA.

YOU HUNG AROUND UNTIL 7:30

AND THEN CAME ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE

JUST TO PITCH A COUPLE OF LOONY SHOW-BIZ IDEAS,

WHEN YOU KNEW GODDAMN WELL

I'D LAUGH YOU RIGHT OUT OF THE OFFICE.

I DON'T GET IT.

WHAT'S YOUR SCAM IN THIS?

MAX, MY LITTLE VISIT HERE TONIGHT

WAS A GESTURE MADE

OUT OF YOUR STATURE IN THE INDUSTRY

AND BECAUSE I'VE PERSONALLY ADMIRED YOU

SINCE I WAS A KID MAJORING IN SPEECH

AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI.

BUT SOONER OR LATER, WITH OR WITHOUT YOU,

I'M GOING TO TAKE OVER YOUR NETWORK NEWS SHOW,

AND I FIGURED I MIGHT AS WELL START TONIGHT.

I, UH, THINK I ONCE GAVE A LECTURE

AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI.

I WAS IN THE AUDIENCE.

I HAD A TERRIBLE SCHOOLGIRL CRUSH ON YOU

FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS.

IF WE COULD GET BACK FOR A MOMENT

TO THAT GYPSY WHO PREDICTED ALL THAT

ABOUT EMOTIONAL INVOLVEMENTS AND MIDDLE-AGED MEN...

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR DINNER TONIGHT?

[DIALING TELEPHONE]

I CAN'T MAKE IT TONIGHT, LOVE. CALL ME TOMORROW.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE RESTAURANT?

I EAT ANYTHING.

SON OF A BITCH.

I GOT A FEELING I'M BEING MADE.

YOU ARE.

WELL, I'VE GOT TO WARN YOU,

I DON'T DO ANYTHING ON MY FIRST DATE.

WE'LL SEE.

SCHMUCK. WHAT ARE YOU GETTING INTO?

I WAS MARRIED FOR FOUR YEARS--

PRETENDED TO BE HAPPY--

AND HAD SIX YEARS OF ANALYSIS

AND PRETENDED TO BE SANE.

MY HUSBAND RAN OFF WITH HIS BOYFRIEND,

AND I HAD AN AFFAIR WITH MY ANALYST,

WHO TOLD ME

I WAS THE WORST LAY HE HAD EVER HAD.

I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY MEN

HAVE TOLD ME WHAT A LOUSY LAY I AM.

I APPARENTLY HAVE A MASCULINE TEMPERAMENT.

I AROUSE QUICKLY, CONSUMMATE PREMATURELY,

AND CAN'T WAIT TO GET MY CLOTHES BACK ON

AND GET OUT OF THAT BEDROOM.

I SEEM TO BE INEPT AT EVERYTHING--

EXCEPT MY WORK.

I'M GOOD AT MY WORK,

SO I CONFINE MYSELF TO THAT.

ALL I WANT OUT OF LIFE

IS A 30 SHARE AND A 20 RATING.

YOU'RE MARRIED, SURELY.

25 YEARS.

I HAVE A MARRIED DAUGHTER IN SEATTLE

WHO'S SIX MONTHS' PREGNANT

AND A YOUNGER GIRL WHO'S STARTING AT NORTHWESTERN

IN...JANUARY.

WELL, MAX, HERE WE ARE--

MIDDLE-AGED MAN

REAFFIRMING HIS MIDDLE-AGED MANHOOD

AND A TERRIFIED YOUNG WOMAN

WITH A FATHER COMPLEX.

WHAT SORT OF SCRIPT DO YOU THINK

WE CAN MAKE OUT OF THIS?

CORRIDOR GOSSIP, UH, SAYS THAT YOU'RE

FRANK HACKETT'S BACKSTAGE GIRL.

HA. I'M NOT.

FRANK'S A CORPORATION MAN,

BODY AND SOUL.

HE HAS NO LOVES, LUSTS, OR ALLEGIANCES

THAT ARE NOT CONSUMMATELY DIRECTED

TOWARD BECOMING A CCA BOARD MEMBER,

SO WHY SHOULD HE BOTHER WITH ME?

I'M NOT EVEN A STOCKHOLDER.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR LOVES, LUSTS,

AND ALLEGIANCES?

IS YOUR WIFE IN TOWN?

YES.

THEN WE'D BETTER GO TO MY PLACE.

I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO TALK A LITTLE LOUDER.

YES.

I HEAR YOU.

YES.

YES.

WHY ME?

I SAID, WHY ME?

O.K.

HOWARD IN HIS OFFICE?

OH, HARRY,

I'M KILLING THIS WHOLE SCREWBALL

ANGRY-PROPHET THING.

TONIGHT WE GO BACK TO STRAIGHT NEWS.

O.K.

15 SECONDS, 14, 13...

[TELEPHONE RINGS]

YEAH.

MAX, I'M TELLING YOU, HE'S FINE.

HE'S BEEN SHARP ALL DAY.

HE'S BEEN FUNNY AS HELL.

HAD EVERYBODY CRACKING UP AT THE RUNDOWN MEETING.

I TOLD HIM.

[WOMAN] 3, 2, 1.

UP. CUE VTA.

READY, 2.

CUE ANNOUNCER.

[ANNOUNCER] THE UBS EVENING NEWS,

WITH HOWARD BEALE.

TAKE TWO.

LAST NIGHT, I WAS AWAKENED FROM A FITFUL SLEEP

SHORTLY AFTER 2:00 IN THE MORNING

BY A SHRILL, SIBILANT, FACELESS VOICE.

I COULDN'T MAKE IT OUT AT FIRST

IN THE DARK BEDROOM,

AND I SAID,

"I'M SORRY. YOU'LL HAVE TO TALK A LITTLE LOUDER."

WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?

NOTHING.

THE VOICE SAID TO ME,

"I WANT YOU TO TELL THE PEOPLE THE TRUTH--

"NOT AN EASY THING TO DO,

BECAUSE THE PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH."

AND I SAID, "YOU'RE KIDDING.

WHAT THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT THE TRUTH?"

BUT THE VOICE SAID TO ME,

"DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE TRUTH.

I WILL PUT THE WORDS IN YOUR MOUTH."

AND I SAID, "WHAT IS THIS, THE BURNING BUSH?

FOR GOD'S SAKE, I'M NOT MOSES."

THE VOICE SAID TO ME, "AND I'M NOT GOD.

WHAT HAS THAT GOT TO DO WITH IT?"

THE VOICE SAID TO ME, "WE'RE NOT TALKING

"ABOUT ETERNAL TRUTH OR ABSOLUTE TRUTH

"OR ULTIMATE TRUTH.

"WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

"IMPERMANENT, TRANSIENT, HUMAN TRUTH.

"I DON'T EXPECT YOU PEOPLE TO BE CAPABLE OF TRUTH,

BUT AT LEAST YOU'RE CAPABLE OF SELF-PRESERVATION."

AND I SAID, "WHY ME?"

AND THE VOICE SAID,

"BECAUSE YOU'RE ON TELEVISION, DUMMY."

BEAUTIFUL.

"YOU HAVE 40 MILLION AMERICANS LISTENING TO YOU,

"AND AFTER THIS SHOW, YOU COULD HAVE 50 MILLION.

"FOR PETE'S SAKE, I'M NOT ASKING YOU

"TO WALK THE LAND IN SACKCLOTH AND ASHES

PREACHING THE ARMAGEDDON. YOU'RE ON TV, MAN."

SO I THOUGHT ABOUT IT FOR A MOMENT.

AND THEN I SAID, "O.K."

CLOSE THE DOOR, HARRY.

HOWARD, I'M TAKING YOU OFF THE AIR.

I THINK YOU'RE HAVING A BREAKDOWN,

REQUIRE TREATMENT.

THIS IS NOT A PSYCHOTIC EPISODE.

THIS IS A CLEANSING MOMENT OF CLARITY.

I'M IMBUED, MAX.

I'M IMBUED WITH SOME SPECIAL SPIRIT.

IT'S NOT A RELIGIOUS FEELING AT ALL.

IT'S A...SHOCKING ERUPTION OF GREAT ELECTRICAL ENERGY.

I FEEL...

VIVID AND FLASHING,

AS IF SUDDENLY I'VE BEEN PLUGGED

INTO SOME GREAT ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD.

I FEEL...CONNECTED TO ALL LIVING THINGS,

TO FLOWERS...BIRDS...

ALL THE ANIMALS OF THE WORLD.

AND EVEN TO SOME...

GREAT, UNSEEN, LIVING FORCE,

WHAT I THINK THE HINDUS CALL PRANA.

BUT IT'S NOT A BREAKDOWN.

I'VE NEVER FELT MORE ORDERLY IN MY LIFE.

IT IS A SHATTERING AND BEAUTIFUL SENSATION.

IT IS THE EXALTED FLOW

OF THE SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM,

SAVE THAT IT IS SPACELESS AND TIMELESS AND...

OF SUCH LOVELINESS.

I FEEL...

ON THE VERGE OF SOME GREAT, ULTIMATE TRUTH.

AND YOU WILL NOT TAKE ME OFF THE AIR,

FOR NOW OR FOR ANY OTHER SPACELESS TIME!

OH, BOY.

IS HE O.K.?

HE'S JUST FAINTED.

I'D BETTER GET HIM BACK TO MY HOUSE AGAIN TONIGHT.

HELP ME GET HIM UP.

[THUNDER]

[MUTTERING]

THEY THINK I'M GOING CRAZY.

THE WHOLE PLACE HAS GONE CRAZY.

THEY JUST SIT IN THEIR HOUSE,

AND THEY DON'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

[MUTTERING]

[THUNDER]

[ALARM CLOCK BUZZING]

WAKE UP, MAX, BECAUSE HOWARD'S GONE.

I'LL MAKE YOU SOME COFFEE.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE HE IS?

THE SON OF A BITCH IS A HIT, GODDAMN IT!

OVER 2,000 PHONE CALLS! GO DOWN TO THE MAIL ROOM.

AS OF THIS MINUTE, OVER 14,000 TELEGRAMS!

THE RESPONSE IS SENSATIONAL! HERB, TELL HIM.

MAX--

HERB'S PHONE HASN'T STOPPED RINGING.

EVERY GODDAMNED AFFILIATE FROM ALBUQUERQUE TO SANDUSKY.

[TELEPHONE BUZZES]

THE RESPONSE IS SENSATIONAL!

YES. ALL RIGHT.

YOU, HERB-- GET BACK TO YOUR OFFICE.

MOLDANIAN CALLED ME. JOE DONNELLY CALLED ME.

WE GOT A GODDAMN HIT, GODDAMN IT!

DIANA, SHOW HIM THE TIMES. WE EVEN GOT AN EDITORIAL

IN THE HOLY GODDAMN NEW YORK TIMES--

"A CALL TO MORALITY."

I DON'T KNOW WHERE HE IS.

THAT CRAZY SON OF A BITCH HAS CAUGHT ON,

SO DON'T TELL ME YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE HE IS!

HE COULD BE JUMPING OFF A ROOF FOR ALL I KNOW.

THE MAN IS INSANE!

HE'S NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIMSELF.

HE NEEDS CARE AND TREATMENT,

AND ALL YOU GRAVEROBBERS THINK ABOUT

IS THAT HE'S A HIT!

MAX, IT'S JUST POSSIBLE

THAT HE ISN'T INSANE,

THAT HE IS, IN FACT, IMBUED

WITH SOME SPECIAL SPIRIT.

MY GOD! I'M SUPPOSED TO BE THE ROMANTIC!

YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE THE HARD-BITTEN REALIST.

HOWARD BEALE OBVIOUSLY FILLS A VOID.

THE AUDIENCE OUT THERE WANTS A PROPHET,

EVEN A MANUFACTURED ONE,

EVEN IF HE'S AS MAD AS MOSES.

BY TOMORROW, HE'LL HAVE A 50 SHARE,

MAYBE EVEN A 60.

BEALE IS PROCESSED, INSTANT GOD.

RIGHT NOW, IT LOOKS LIKE HE MAY GO OVER BIGGER

THAN MARY TYLER MOORE.

I AM NOT PUTTING HOWARD BACK ON THE AIR!

IT'S NOT YOUR SHOW ANYMORE, MAX. IT'S MINE.

I GAVE HER THE SHOW, SCHUMACHER.

I'M PUTTING THE NETWORK NEWS SHOW

UNDER PROGRAMMING.

MR. RUDDY HAS HAD A MILD HEART ATTACK

AND IS NOT TAKING CALLS.

IN HIS ABSENCE, I'M MAKING ALL NETWORK DECISIONS,

INCLUDING ONE I'VE BEEN WANTING TO MAKE A LONG TIME.

YOU'RE FIRED.

I WANT YOU OUT OF THIS BUILDING BY NOON.

I'LL CALL SECURITY GUARDS AND HAVE YOU THROWN OUT

IF YOU'RE STILL HERE.

WELL, LET'S SAY, FUCK YOU, HACKETT.

YOU WANT ME OUT OF HERE,

YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO DRAG ME OUT

KICKING AND SCREAMING,

AND THE WHOLE NEWS DIVISION KICKING

AND SCREAMING WITH ME.

THINK THEY'RE GONNA QUIT THEIR JOBS FOR YOU?

NOT IN THIS RECESSION.

WHEN RUDDY GETS BACK, HE'LL HAVE YOUR ASS.

I GOT A HIT, SCHUMACHER,

AND RUDDY DOESN'T COUNT ANYMORE!

HE WAS HOPING I'D FALL ON MY FACE

WITH THIS BEALE SHOW, BUT I DIDN'T.

IT'S A BIG, FAT, BIG-TITTED HIT,

AND I DON'T HAVE TO WAFFLE AROUND WITH RUDDY ANYMORE.

IF HE WANTS TO TAKE ME BEFORE THE CCA BOARD, LET HIM!

DO YOU THINK RUDDY IS STUPID ENOUGH

TO GO TO THE CCA BOARD AND SAY,

"I'M TAKING OUR ONE HIT SHOW OFF THE AIR"?

AND COMES NOVEMBER 14, I'M GONNA BE STANDING UP THERE

AT THE ANNUAL CCA MANAGEMENT REVIEW MEETING,

AND I'LL ANNOUNCE PROJECTED EARNINGS FOR THIS NETWORK

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FIVE YEARS.

BELIEVE ME, MR. JENSEN'S GOING TO BE SITTING THERE

ROCKING BACK AND FORTH IN HIS LITTLE CHAIR,

AND HE'S GONNA SAY,

"THAT'S GOOD, FRANK. KEEP IT UP."

SO DON'T HAVE ANY ILLUSIONS

ABOUT WHO'S RUNNING THIS NETWORK FROM NOW ON.

YOU'RE FIRED. I WANT YOU OUT OF YOUR OFFICE

BEFORE NOON, OR I'LL HAVE YOU THROWN OUT.

YOU GO ALONG WITH THIS?

I TOLD YOU I DIDN'T WANT A NETWORK HASSLE ON THIS.

I TOLD YOU I MUCH RATHER

WORK THE BEALE SHOW OUT BETWEEN THE TWO OF US.

WELL, LET'S JUST SAY, FUCK YOU, TOO, HONEY.

HOWARD BEALE MAY BE MY BEST FRIEND.

I'LL GO TO COURT.

I'LL PUT HIM IN A HOSPITAL

BEFORE I'LL LET YOU EXPLOIT HIM

LIKE A CARNIVAL FREAK.

YOU GET YOUR PSYCHIATRISTS. I'LL GET MINE.

I'M GONNA SPREAD THIS WHOLE REEKING BUSINESS

IN EVERY NEWSPAPER,

ON EVERY NETWORK GROUP

AND AFFILIATE IN THIS COUNTRY.

I'LL MAKE A LOT OF NOISE ABOUT THIS!

GREAT! WE NEED ALL THE PRESS WE CAN GET.

SOMETHING GOING ON BETWEEN YOU AND SCHUMACHER?

NOT ANYMORE.

[THUNDER]

HOW DO YOU DO, MR. BEALE?

I MUST MAKE MY WITNESS.

SURE THING, MR. BEALE.

OIL MINISTERS OF THE OPEC NATIONS MEETING IN VIENNA

STILL HAVEN'T DECIDED HOW MUCH MORE

TO INCREASE THE PRICE OF OIL...

[TELEPHONE RINGS]

YEAH.

HE CAME IN THE BUILDING FIVE MINUTES AGO.

TELL SNOWDEN WHEN HE COMES IN

TO LET HIM GO ON.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

THIS HAS BEEN THE MOST DIVISIVE MEETING

THE OIL STATES HAVE EVER HAD.

THE 13 NATIONS OF OPEC HAVE STILL NOT BEEN ABLE TO DECIDE

BY HOW MUCH TO INCREASE THE PRICE OF OIL.

HOW MUCH TIME WE GOT?

...FOR FURTHER CONSULTATIONS WITH HIS GOVERNMENT.

HE RETURNED...

THIS IS ED FLESCHER IN VIENNA.

TAKE 2, CUE HOWARD.

I DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU THINGS ARE BAD.

EVERYBODY KNOWS THINGS ARE BAD.

IT'S A DEPRESSION.

EVERYBODY'S OUT OF WORK OR SCARED OF LOSING THEIR JOB.

THE DOLLAR BUYS A NICKEL'S WORTH.

BANKS ARE GOING BUST.

SHOPKEEPERS KEEP A GUN UNDER THE COUNTER.

PUNKS ARE RUNNING WILD IN THE STREET.

THERE'S NOBODY ANYWHERE WHO SEEMS TO KNOW WHAT TO DO,

AND THERE'S NO END TO IT.

WE KNOW THE AIR IS UNFIT TO BREATHE

AND OUR FOOD IS UNFIT TO EAT.

WE SIT WATCHING OUR TVs

WHILE SOME LOCAL NEWSCASTER TELLS US

THAT TODAY WE HAD 15 HOMICIDES AND 63 VIOLENT CRIMES,

AS IF THAT'S THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE!

WE KNOW THINGS ARE BAD. WORSE THAN BAD--THEY'RE CRAZY.

IT'S LIKE EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE IS GOING CRAZY.

WE DON'T GO OUT ANYMORE. WE SIT IN THE HOUSE,

AND SLOWLY THE WORLD WE'RE LIVING IN

IS GETTING SMALLER, AND ALL WE SAY IS,

"PLEASE, AT LEAST LEAVE US ALONE IN OUR LIVING ROOMS.

"LET ME HAVE MY TOASTER AND MY TV

"AND MY STEEL-BELTED RADIALS, AND I WON'T SAY ANYTHING.

JUST LEAVE US ALONE."

WELL, I'M NOT GOING TO LEAVE YOU ALONE.

I WANT YOU TO GET MAD.

I DON'T WANT YOU TO PROTEST.

I DON'T WANT YOU TO WRITE TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN,

BECAUSE I WOULDN'T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU TO WRITE.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE DEPRESSION

AND INFLATION AND THE RUSSIANS AND THE CRIME IN THE STREET.

ALL I KNOW IS THAT FIRST, YOU'VE GOT TO GET MAD.

YOU'VE GOT TO SAY, "I'M A HUMAN BEING, GODDAMN IT!

MY LIFE HAS VALUE!"

SO, I WANT YOU TO GET UP NOW.

I WANT ALL OF YOU TO GET UP OUT OF YOUR CHAIRS.

I WANT YOU TO GET UP RIGHT NOW

AND GO TO THE WINDOW,

OPEN IT, AND STICK YOUR HEAD OUT AND YELL,

"I'M AS MAD AS HELL,

AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

I WANT YOU TO GET UP RIGHT NOW...

STAY WITH HIM. STAY WITH HIM.

STICK YOUR HEAD OUT AND YELL,

"I'M AS MAD AS HELL,

AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

HOW MANY STATIONS DOES THIS GO OUT LIVE TO?

67. I KNOW IT GOES TO LOUISVILLE AND ATLANTA AND--

THEN WE'LL FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE DEPRESSION

AND THE INFLATION AND THE OIL CRISIS,

BUT FIRST, GET UP OUT OF YOUR CHAIRS, OPEN THE WINDOW,

STICK YOUR HEAD OUT AND YELL AND SAY, "I'M AS MAD AS HELL,

AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO, HERB?

CGG-ATLANTA.

ARE THEY YELLING IN ATLANTA?

ARE THEY YELLING IN ATLANTA, TED?

BUT FIRST, YOU'VE GOT TO GET MAD.

YOU'VE GOT TO SAY, "I'M AS MAD AS HELL,

AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

THEY'RE YELLING IN BATON ROUGE.

[BEALE] GODDAMN IT!

GET UP, GET UP, GET UP...

SON OF A BITCH!

WE STRUCK THE MOTHER LODE!

STICK YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE WINDOW.

OPEN IT, THEN STICK YOUR HEAD OUT AND KEEP YELLING,

AND YELL, "I'M AS MAD AS HELL.

I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

JUST GET UP FROM YOUR CHAIRS...

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

I WANT TO SEE IF ANYBODY'S YELLING.

OPEN IT, AND STICK YOUR HEAD OUT AND YELL AND KEEP YELLING--

[MAN] I'M MAD AS HELL,

AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

[WOMAN] I'M MAD AS HELL!

I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

I'M MAD AS HELL,

AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

I'M MAD AS HELL!

I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

I'M MAD AS HELL!

I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

I'M MAD AS HELL!

I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

I'M MAD AS HELL!

I'M MAD AS HELL!

I AM MAD AS HELL!

I'M MAD AS HELL!

I'M MAD AS HELL,

AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE.

[THUNDER]

[HUNDREDS YELLING]

[NARRATOR] BY MID-OCTOBER,

THE HOWARD BEALE SHOW HAD SETTLED IN AT A 42 SHARE,

MORE THAN EQUALING

ALL THE OTHER NETWORK NEWS SHOWS COMBINED.

IN THE NIELSEN RATINGS,

THE HOWARD BEALE SHOW WAS LISTED

AS THE FOURTH HIGHEST RATED SHOW OF THE MONTH,

SURPASSED ONLY BY THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN,

ALL IN THE FAMILY, AND PHYLLIS--

A PHENOMENAL STATE OF AFFAIRS FOR A NEWS SHOW--

AND ON OCTOBER THE 15th,

DIANA CHRISTENSEN FLEW TO LOS ANGELES

FOR WHAT THE TRADE CALLS POWWOWS AND CONFABS

WITH OUR WEST COAST PROGRAMMING EXECS

AND TO GET PRODUCTION ROLLING ON THE SHOWS

FOR THE COMING SEASON.

CHRIST! YOU BROUGHT HALF

THE WILLIAM MORRIS WEST COAST OFFICE

ALONG WITH YOU.

HI. I'M DIANA CHRISTENSEN,

A RACIST LACKEY

OF THE IMPERIALIST RULING CIRCLES.

I'M LAUREEN HOBBS, A BAD-ASS COMMIE NIGGER.

SOUNDS LIKE THE BASIS OF A FIRM FRIENDSHIP.

WE'RE GONNA NEED MORE CHAIRS.

ANYBODY WANT COFFEE?

I'D LOVE SOME.

HEY, YOU CHANGED YOUR TAILOR.

COFFEE?

COME TAKE SOME COFFEE ORDERS.

HOW DO YOU DO?

THIS IS MY LAWYER SAM HAYWOOD

AND HIS ASSOCIATE MERRILL GRANT.

MR. GRANT. MR. HAYWOOD.

WELL, MISS CHRISTENSEN,

JUST WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ALL ABOUT?

BECAUSE WHEN A NATIONAL TELEVISION NETWORK,

IN THE PERSON OF BOOBY HERE,

COMES TO ME AND SAYS THEY WANT TO PUT

THE ONGOING STRUGGLE OF THE OPPRESSED MASSES

ON PRIME-TIME TELEVISION,

I HAVE TO REGARD THIS ASKANCE.

WHAT MR. HAYWOOD WAS SAYING,

MISS CHRISTENSEN,

WAS THAT OUR CLIENT, MISS HOBBS,

WANTS IT UP FRONT.

POLITICAL CONTENT OF THE SHOW

HAS TO BE ENTIRELY IN HER CONTROL.

SHE CAN HAVE IT. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN

ABOUT THE POLITICAL CONTENT.

WHAT KIND OF SHOW DID YOU HAVE IN MIND?

I'M INTERESTED IN DOING A WEEKLY DRAMATIC SERIES

BASED ON THE ECUMENICAL LIBERATION ARMY.

I'LL TELL YOU RIGHT NOW, THE FIRST SHOW

HAS TO BE A TWO-HOUR SPECIAL

ON MARY ANN GIFFORD.

LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I WANT--

I WANT A LOT MORE FILM

LIKE THE BANK RIP-OFF THE ECUMENICALS SENT IN.

THE WAY I SEE THE SERIES IS,

EACH WEEK, WE OPEN WITH AN AUTHENTIC ACT

OF POLITICAL TERRORISM,

TAKEN ON THE SPOT AND IN THE ACTUAL MOMENT.

THEN WE GO TO THE DRAMA

BEHIND THE OPENING FILM FOOTAGE.

THAT'S YOUR JOB, MISS HOBBS.

YOU'VE GOT TO GET THE ECUMENICALS

TO BRING IN THAT FILM FOOTAGE FOR US.

THE NETWORK CAN'T DEAL WITH THEM DIRECTLY.

THEY ARE, AFTER ALL, WANTED CRIMINALS.

THE ECUMENICAL LIBERATION ARMY

IS AN ULTRALEFT SECT

CREATING POLITICAL CONFUSION

WITH WILDCAT VIOLENCE

AND PSEUDO- INSURRECTIONARY ACTS

WHICH THE COMMUNIST PARTY DOES NOT ENDORSE.

THE AMERICAN MASSES ARE NOT YET READY

FOR OPEN REVOLT.

WE WOULD NOT WANT TO PRODUCE

A TELEVISION SHOW

CELEBRATING HISTORICALLY DEVIATIONAL TERRORISM.

MISS HOBBS, I'M OFFERING YOU AN HOUR

OF PRIME-TIME TELEVISION EVERY WEEK INTO WHICH

YOU CAN STICK IN WHATEVER PROPAGANDA YOU WANT.

THE ECUMENICALS ARE AN UNDISCIPLINED,

ULTRALEFT GANG

WHOSE LEADER IS AN ECCENTRIC,

TO SAY THE LEAST.

HE CALLS HIMSELF THE GREAT AHMED KAHN

AND WEARS A XHOSA'S SHAKO.

MISS HOBBS, WE'RE TALKING

ABOUT 30-50 MILLION PEOPLE A SHOT.

IT'S A LOT BETTER THAN HANDING OUT MIMEOGRAPHED PAMPHLETS

ON GHETTO STREET CORNERS.

WELL, I'LL HAVE TO TAKE THIS MATTER

TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE,

AND I'D BETTER CHECK IT OUT

WITH THE GREAT AHMED KAHN.

I'LL BE IN L.A. UNTIL SATURDAY,

AND I'D LIKE TO GET IT ROLLING.

O.K.

WELL, AHMED,

YOU AIN'T GONNA BELIEVE THIS,

BUT I'M GONNA MAKE A TV STAR OUT OF YOU,

JUST LIKE ARCHIE BUNKER.

YOU GONNA BE A HOUSEHOLD WORD.

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

30 SECONDS.

ALL RIGHT. READY, VTA.

1, YOU HAVE THE AUDIENCE TO PAN.

2, YOU HAVE THE WINDOW TO PULL.

3, YOU'RE ON THE ANNOUNCER.

20.

STAND BY VTA.

15,

14,

13, 12...

READY "A."

11, 10...

ROLL VTA.

9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4...

READY 3. STAND BY, ANNOUNCER.

3, 2, 1...

3! CUE ANNOUNCER!

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LET'S HEAR IT!

HOW DO YOU FEEL?

WE'RE MAD AS HELL,

AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE NETWORK NEWS HOUR

WITH SYBIL THE SOOTHSAYER!

[APPLAUSE]

JIM WEBBING

AND HIS "IT'S-THE-EMMES-TRUTH" DEPARTMENT!

MISS MATA HARI AND HER SKELETONS IN THE CLOSETS.

TONIGHT, ANOTHER SEGMENT OF VOX POPULI.

AND STARRING THE MAD PROPHET OF THE AIRWAVES,

HOWARD BEALE!

[AUDIENCE WHISTLES AND CHEERS]

EDWARD GEORGE RUDDY DIED TODAY!

EDWARD GEORGE RUDDY WAS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

OF THE UNION BROADCASTING SYSTEMS,

AND HE DIED AT 11:00 THIS MORNING

OF A HEART CONDITION!

AND WOE IS US! WE'RE IN A LOT OF TROUBLE!

SO...

A RICH LITTLE MAN WITH WHITE HAIR DIED.

WHAT HAS THAT GOT TO DO WITH THE PRICE OF RICE, RIGHT?

AND WHY IS THAT WOE TO US?

BECAUSE YOU PEOPLE

AND 62 MILLION OTHER AMERICANS

ARE LISTENING TO ME RIGHT NOW.

BECAUSE LESS THAN 3% OF YOU PEOPLE READ BOOKS!

BECAUSE LESS THAN 15% OF YOU READ NEWSPAPERS!

BECAUSE THE ONLY TRUTH YOU KNOW

IS WHAT YOU GET OVER THIS TUBE!

RIGHT NOW, THERE IS A WHOLE-- AN ENTIRE--GENERATION

THAT NEVER KNEW ANYTHING

THAT DIDN'T COME OUT OF THIS TUBE!

THIS TUBE IS THE GOSPEL,

THE ULTIMATE REVELATION.

THIS TUBE CAN MAKE OR BREAK PRESIDENTS,

POPES, PRIME MINISTERS.

THIS TUBE IS THE MOST AWESOME GODDAMN FORCE

IN THE WHOLE GODLESS WORLD,

AND WOE IS US IF IT EVER FALLS

INTO THE HANDS OF THE WRONG PEOPLE,

AND THAT'S WHY WOE IS US THAT EDWARD GEORGE RUDDY DIED.

BECAUSE THIS COMPANY IS NOW IN THE HANDS OF CCA--

THE COMMUNICATION CORPORATION OF AMERICA.

THERE'S A NEW CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD,

A MAN CALLED FRANK HACKETT,

SITTING IN MR. RUDDY'S OFFICE ON THE 20th FLOOR.

AND WHEN THE 12th-LARGEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD

CONTROLS THE MOST AWESOME GODDAMN PROPAGANDA FORCE

IN THE WHOLE GODLESS WORLD,

WHO KNOWS WHAT SHIT WILL BE PEDDLED FOR TRUTH

ON THIS NETWORK!

SO YOU LISTEN TO ME.

LISTEN TO ME.

TELEVISION IS NOT THE TRUTH.

TELEVISION IS A GODDAMN AMUSEMENT PARK!

TELEVISION IS A CIRCUS, A CARNIVAL,

A TRAVELING TROUPE OF ACROBATS,

STORYTELLERS, DANCERS, SINGERS, JUGGLERS,

SIDE-SHOW FREAKS, LION TAMERS, AND FOOTBALL PLAYERS.

WE'RE IN THE BOREDOM-KILLING BUSINESS.

SO IF YOU WANT THE TRUTH, GO TO GOD.

GO TO YOUR GURUS!

GO TO YOURSELVES, BECAUSE THAT'S THE ONLY PLACE

YOU'RE EVER GOING TO FIND ANY REAL TRUTH!

[CHUCKLES]

BUT, MAN, YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO GET ANY TRUTH FROM US.

WE'LL TELL YOU ANYTHING YOU WANT TO HEAR.

WE LIE LIKE HELL.

WE'LL TELL YOU THAT KOJAK ALWAYS GETS THE KILLER,

THAT NOBODY EVER GETS CANCER AT ARCHIE BUNKER'S HOUSE,

AND NO MATTER HOW MUCH TROUBLE THE HERO IS IN, DON'T WORRY--

JUST LOOK AT YOUR WATCH.

AT THE END OF THE HOUR, HE'S GOING TO WIN.

WE'LL TELL YOU ANY SHIT YOU WANT TO HEAR.

WE DEAL IN ILLUSIONS, MAN.

NONE OF IT IS TRUE!

BUT YOU PEOPLE SIT THERE DAY AFTER DAY,

NIGHT AFTER NIGHT--

ALL AGES, COLORS, CREEDS--

WE'RE ALL YOU KNOW.

YOU'RE BEGINNING TO BELIEVE

THE ILLUSIONS WE'RE SPINNING HERE.

YOU'RE BEGINNING TO THINK THE TUBE IS REALITY

AND YOUR OWN LIVES ARE UNREAL.

YOU DO WHATEVER THE TUBE TELLS YOU.

YOU DRESS LIKE THE TUBE, YOU EAT LIKE THE TUBE,

YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN LIKE THE TUBE.

YOU EVEN THINK LIKE THE TUBE.

THIS IS MASS MADNESS, YOU MANIACS!

IN GOD'S NAME, YOU PEOPLE ARE THE REAL THING.

WE ARE THE ILLUSION.

SO TURN OFF YOUR TELEVISION SETS,

TURN THEM OFF NOW.

TURN THEM OFF RIGHT NOW.

TURN THEM OFF AND LEAVE THEM OFF.

TURN THEM OFF RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS SENTENCE

I'M SPEAKING TO YOU NOW.

TURN THEM OFF!

[SHOW THEME MUSIC PLAYS]

[AUDIENCE CHEERS LOUDER]

UBS WAS RUNNING AT A CASH FLOW BREAK-EVEN POINT

AFTER TAKING INTO ACCOUNT $110 MILLION

OF NEGATIVE CASH FLOW FROM THE NETWORK.

IT WAS CLEAR THE FAT ON THE NETWORK

HAD TO BE FLITCHED OFF.

PLEASE NOTE AN INCREASE

IN PROJECTED INITIAL PROGRAMMING REVENUES

IN THE AMOUNT OF $21 MILLION

DUE TO THE PHENOMENAL SUCCESS OF THE HOWARD BEALE SHOW.

I EXPECT POSITIVE CASH FLOW FOR THE ENTIRE COMPLEX

OF 45 MILLION,

ACHIEVABLE IN THIS FISCAL YEAR--

A YEAR, IN SHORT, AHEAD OF SCHEDULE.

BUT BEYOND THAT...

THIS NETWORK MAY WELL BE

THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PROFIT CENTER

OF THE COMMUNICATIONS COMPLEX,

AND BASED UPON THE PROJECTED RATE OF RETURN

ON INVESTED CAPITAL,

AND IF MERGER IS EVENTUALLY ACCOMPLISHED,

THE COMMUNICATIONS COMPLEX MAY WELL BECOME

THE TOWERING AND MOST PROFITABLE CENTER

IN THE ENTIRE CCA EMPIRE.

I AWAIT YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS.

MR. JENSEN.

VERY GOOD, FRANK. EXEMPLARY.

KEEP IT UP.

BUY YOU A CUP OF COFFEE?

HELL, YES.

DO YOU HAVE TO GET BACK TO THE OFFICE?

NOTHING THAT CAN'T WAIT.

I DROP DOWN TO THE NEWS STUDIOS

EVERY NOW AND THEN

AND ASK HOWARD BEALE ABOUT YOU.

HE SAYS YOU'RE DOING FINE. ARE YOU?

NO.

ARE--ARE YOU KEEPING BUSY?

OH, IN A FASHION.

THIS IS THE THIRD FUNERAL

I'VE BEEN TO IN TWO WEEKS.

I HAVE TWO OTHER FRIENDS IN THE HOSPITAL

WHOM I VISIT REGULARLY

AND BEEN TO A COUPLE OF CHRISTENINGS.

ALL MY FRIENDS SEEM TO BE DYING

OR HAVING GRANDCHILDREN.

YOU SHOULD BE A GRANDFATHER YOURSELF ABOUT NOW.

YOU HAVE A PREGNANT DAUGHTER IN SEATTLE, DON'T YOU?

ANY DAY NOW.

MY WIFE'S OUT THERE FOR THE OCCASION.

I'VE THOUGHT MANY TIMES OF...

CALLING YOU.

I WISH YOU HAD.

YOU KNOW, I BUMPED INTO SYBIL THE SOOTHSAYER

IN THE ELEVATOR LAST WEEK.

I SAID, "YOU KNOW, SYBIL,

"ABOUT FOUR MONTHS AGO YOU PREDICTED

"I WOULD GET INVOLVED WITH A CRAGGY, MIDDLE-AGED MAN,

"AND SO FAR, ALL THAT'S HAPPENED

"HAS BEEN ONE MANY-SPLENDORED NIGHT.

I DON'T CALL THAT GETTING INVOLVED."

AND SHE SAID, "DON'T WORRY. YOU WILL."

IT WAS A MANY- SPLENDORED NIGHT,

WASN'T IT, MAX?

YES, IT WAS.

ARE WE GOING TO GET INVOLVED, MAX?

YES.

I NEED TO BECOME INVOLVED VERY MUCH.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

I'VE REACHED FOR THE PHONE TO CALL YOU

A HUNDRED TIMES,

BUT I WAS SURE YOU HATED ME FOR MY PART

IN TAKING YOUR NEWS SHOW AWAY.

I PROBABLY DID. I DON'T KNOW ANYMORE.

ALL I KNOW IS...

I CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY MIND.

MARTY, I KNOW WHAT NBC OFFERED,

SO I'M SAYING GO TO 3.5,

AND I WANT AN OPTION FOR A THIRD RUN ON ALL OF THEM.

MARTY, I'M IN A BIG HURRY.

YOU AND CHARLIE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE NEGOTIATING THIS.

GOODBYE, GOOD LUCK. I'LL SEE YOU MONDAY.

JIMMY CAAN'S AGENT JUST CALLED

AND SAYS ABSOLUTELY NIX.

CAN'T WIN THEM ALL.

WHERE CAN I REACH YOU LATER TODAY?

YOU CAN'T. I'LL BE GONE ALL WEEKEND.

NBC's OFFERING 3.25 MIL PER

FOR A PACKAGE OF FIVE JAMES BOND MOVIES,

AND I THINK I'M GOING TO STEAL THEM FOR 3.5...

WITH A THIRD RUN.

AND I'M GONNA STICK THE MAO TSE-TUNG HOUR

IN AT 8:00

BECAUSE WE'RE HAVING A LOT OF TROUBLE SELLING

THE MAO TSE-TUNG HOUR.

THAT MAO TSE-TUNG HOUR

IS TURNING INTO ONE BIG PAIN IN THE ASS.

WE'RE HAVING HEAVY LEGAL PROBLEMS

WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RIGHT NOW.

TWO FBI GUYS TURNED UP

IN HACKETT'S OFFICE LAST WEEK

AND SERVED US WITH A SUBPOENA.

THEY HEARD ABOUT OUR FLAGSTAFF BANK RIP-OFF FILM,

AND THEY WANT IT.

HACKETT TOLD THE FBI TO FUCK OFF.

BUT WE'RE GETTING AROUND THE FBI

BY DOING THIS SHOW IN COLLABORATION

WITH THE NEWS DIVISION.

WE'RE STANDING ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT,

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS,

AND THE RIGHT TO PROTECT OUR SOURCES.

WALTER THINKS WE CAN KNOCK OUT

THE MISPRISION OF FELONY CHARGE!

BUT HE SAYS ABSOLUTE NIX

ON GOING TO SERIES.

THEY'LL HIT US WITH CONSPIRACY

AND INDUCEMENT TO COMMIT A CRIME.

CHRIST, IT'S COLD IN HERE.

SEE, WE'RE PAYING THESE NUTS

FROM THE ECUMENICAL LIBERATION ARMY

10,000 BUCKS A WEEK

IN ORDER TO TURN IN AUTHENTIC FILM FOOTAGE

OF THEIR REVOLUTIONARY ACTIVITIES,

AND THAT CONSTITUTES INDUCEMENT TO COMMIT A CRIME.

AND WALTER SAYS WE'LL ALL WIND UP IN FEDERAL PRISON.

I SAID, "WALTER, LET THE GOVERNMENT SUE US.

"LET THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUE US.

WE'LL TAKE THEM TO THE SUPREME COURT."

WE'LL BE FRONT PAGE...

THE NEW YORK TIMES

AND THE WASHINGTON POST.

THEY'LL BE WRITING

TWO EDITORIALS A WEEK ABOUT US.

WE'LL BE FRONT-PAGE FOR MONTHS.

WE'LL HAVE MORE PRESS THAN WATERGATE.

ALL I NEED...

IS SIX WEEKS FEDERAL LITIGATION,

AND THE MAO TSE-TUNG HOUR

CAN START CARRYING ITS OWN TIME SLOT.

AAH!

WHAT'S REALLY BUGGING ME NOW

IS MY DAYTIME PROGRAMMING.

NBC's GOT A LOCK ON DAYTIME

WITH THEIR LOUSY GAME SHOWS...

AND I'D LIKE TO BUST THEM.

I'M THINKING OF DOING A HOMOSEXUAL SOAP OPERA,

THE DYKES--

THE HEARTRENDING SAGA ABOUT A WOMAN

HOPELESSLY IN LOVE WITH HER HUSBAND'S MISTRESS.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN GOING ON?

A MONTH.

I THOUGHT IT WAS A TRANSIENT THING,

WOULD BLOW OVER IN A WEEK.

I STILL PRAY TO GOD

IT'S JUST A MENOPAUSAL INFATUATION.

BUT IT IS AN INFATUATION, LOUISE.

THERE'S NO SENSE IN MY SAYING

I WON'T SEE HER AGAIN BECAUSE I WILL.

YOU WANT ME TO LEAVE? CHECK INTO A HOTEL?

DO YOU LOVE HER?

I DON'T KNOW HOW I FEEL.

I'M GRATEFUL I CAN FEEL ANYTHING.

I KNOW I'M... OBSESSED WITH HER.

THEN SAY IT.

DON'T KEEP TELLING ME THAT YOU'RE OBSESSED,

THAT YOU'RE INFATUATED.

SAY THAT YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH HER.

I'M IN LOVE WITH HER.

GET OUT!

GO ANYWHERE YOU WANT!

GO TO A HOTEL, GO LIVE WITH HER,

BUT DON'T COME BACK!

BECAUSE AFTER 25 YEARS OF BUILDING A HOME

AND RAISING A FAMILY

AND ALL THE SENSELESS PAIN

THAT WE HAVE INFLICTED ON EACH OTHER,

I'M DAMNED IF I'M GONNA STAND HERE

AND HAVE YOU TELL ME

YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH SOMEBODY ELSE!

BECAUSE THIS ISN'T

THE CONVENTION WEEKEND WITH YOUR SECRETARY, IS IT,

OR SOME BROAD THAT YOU PICKED UP

AFTER THREE BELTS OF BOOZE?

THIS IS YOUR GREAT WINTER ROMANCE, ISN'T IT?

YOUR LAST ROAR OF PASSION

BEFORE YOU SETTLE IN TO YOUR EMERITUS YEARS.

IS THAT WHAT'S LEFT FOR ME?

IS THAT MY SHARE?

SHE GETS THE WINTER PASSION,

AND I GET THE DOTAGE?

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?

AM I SUPPOSED TO SIT HOME KNITTING AND PURLING

WHILE YOU SLINK BACK LIKE SOME PENITENT DRUNK?

I'M YOUR WIFE, DAMN IT!

IF YOU CAN'T WORK UP A WINTER PASSION FOR ME,

THE LEAST I REQUIRE IS RESPECT AND ALLEGIANCE!

[CRYING]

I HURT. DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?

I HURT BADLY!

OH, SAY SOMETHING, FOR GOD'S SAKE.

I'VE GOT NOTHING TO SAY.

I WON'T GIVE YOU UP EASILY, MAX.

PERHAPS IT IS BETTER IF YOU MOVE OUT.

DOES SHE LOVE YOU, MAX?

[SIGH]

I'M NOT SURE SHE'S CAPABLE OF ANY REAL FEELINGS.

SHE'S TELEVISION GENERATION.

SHE LEARNED LIFE FROM BUGS BUNNY.

THE ONLY REALITY SHE KNOWS

COMES TO HER OVER THE TV SET.

SHE'S VERY CAREFULLY DEVISED A NUMBER OF SCENARIOS

FOR ALL OF US TO PLAY,

LIKE A MOVIE OF THE WEEK.

MY GOD, LOOK AT US, LOUISE.

HERE WE ARE, GOING THROUGH

THE OBLIGATORY, MIDDLE OF ACT TWO,

"SCORNED WIFE THROWS PECCANT HUSBAND OUT" SCENE,

BUT DON'T WORRY.

I'LL COME BACK TO YOU IN THE END.

ALL OF HER PLOT OUTLINES HAVE ME LEAVING HER

AND COMING BACK TO YOU

BECAUSE THE AUDIENCE WON'T BUY A REJECTION

OF THE HAPPY AMERICAN FAMILY.

SHE DOES HAVE ONE SCRIPT IN WHICH I KILL MYSELF--

AN ADAPTED-FOR-TELEVISION VERSION OF ANNA KARENINA

WHERE SHE'S COUNT VRONSKY, AND I'M ANNA.

YOU'RE IN FOR SOME DREADFUL GRIEF, MAX.

I KNOW.

[NARRATOR] THE MAO TSE-TUNG HOUR

WENT ON THE AIR MARCH 14th.

IT RECEIVED A 47 SHARE.

THE NETWORK PROMPTLY COMMITTED TO 15 SHOWS

WITH AN OPTION FOR 10 MORE.

THERE WERE THE USUAL CONTRACTUAL DIFFICULTIES.

"EQUAL TO 20%,

"EXCEPT WHEN SUCH A PERCENTAGE

"SHALL BE AT 30%

FOR 90-MINUTE OR LONGER TELEVISION PROGRAMS."

HAVE WE SETTLED THAT SUBLICENSING THING?

NO.

WE WANT A CLEAR DEFINITION HERE.

"GROSS PROCEEDS SHOULD CONSIST OF ALL FUNDS

"THE SUBLICENSEE RECEIVES,

"NOT MERELY THE NET AMOUNT PERMITTED

AFTER PAYMENT TO THE SUBLICENSEE OR DISTRIBUTOR."

WE'RE NOT SITTING STILL

FOR OVERHEAD CHARGES

AS A COST PRIOR TO DISTRIBUTION.

DON'T FUCK WITH MY DISTRIBUTION COSTS!

I'M MAKING A LOUSY 215 PER SEGMENT.

I'M ALREADY DEFICITING 25 GRAND A WEEK WITH METRO.

I'M PAYING WILLIAM MORRIS 10% OFF THE TOP!

I'M GIVING THIS TURKEY 10 THOU PER SEGMENT

AND ANOTHER 5 FOR THIS FRUITCAKE.

HELEN, DON'T START NO SHIT WITH ME ABOUT A PIECE AGAIN.

I'M PAYING METRO 20%

FOR ALL FOREIGN AND CANADIAN DISTRIBUTION,

AND THAT'S AFTER RECOUPMENT!

THE COMMUNIST PARTY'S

NOT GONNA SEE A NICKEL OUT OF THIS GODDAMN SHOW

TILL WE GO INTO SYNDICATION.

COME ON, LAUREEN, THE PARTY'S IN

FOR 7,500 A WEEK PRODUCTION EXPENSES.

I'M NOT GIVING THIS PSEUDO-INSURRECTIONARY SECTARIAN

A PIECE OF MY SHOW,

I'M NOT GIVING HIM SCRIPT APPROVAL,

AND I SURE AIN'T CUTTING HIM IN

ON MY DISTRIBUTION CHARGES!

YOU FUCKING FASCIST!

DIDN'T YOU SEE THE FILM WE MADE

OF THE SAN MARINO JAIL BREAKOUT

DEMONSTRATING THE RISING UP

OF A SEMINAL PRISONER CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE?

YOU CAN BLOW THE SEMINAL PRISONER CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE

OUT YOUR ASS!

I'M NOT KNOCKING DOWN MY GODDAMN DISTRIBUTION CHARGES!

MAN, GIVE HER THE FUCKING OVERHEAD CLAUSE.

NO ONE'S GOING TO BELIEVE THIS.

LET'S GET BACK TO PAGE 22.

"5a-- SUBSIDIARY RIGHTS."

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

PAGE 22, MIDDLE OF THE PAGE, SUBSIDIARY RIGHTS.

"AS USED HEREIN, SUBSIDIARY RIGHTS MEANS,

WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY AND ALL RIGHTS...."

OVER THE PAST TWO DAYS,

YOU'VE ALL HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET DIANA CHRISTENSEN,

OUR VICE PRESIDENT IN CHARGE OF PROGRAMMING.

THIS AFTERNOON, YOU ALL SAW SOME OF THE STUFF

SHE'S SET UP FOR THE NEW SEASON.

[LOUD APPLAUSE]

NOW...

YOU...

YOU ALL KNOW THAT

SHE IS THE WOMAN BEHIND THE HOWARD BEALE SHOW.

[WHISTLING AND CHEERING]

NOW, WE...

WE ALL KNOW SHE'S BEAUTIFUL.

WE ALL KNOW SHE'S BRAINY.

I WAS THINKING...

BEFORE WE START DIGGING INTO OUR CHATEAUBRIANDS,

LET'S SHOW HER HOW WE FEEL ABOUT HER.

[WHISTLING AND CHEERING]

YAY, DIANA!

WE'VE GOT THE NUMBER-ONE SHOW IN TELEVISION!

YAY!

YAY!

AND AT NEXT YEAR'S AFFILIATES MEETING,

I'LL BE STANDING HERE TELLING YOU

WE'VE GOT THE TOP FIVE.

LAST YEAR, WE WERE THE NUMBER-FOUR NETWORK.

NEXT YEAR, WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

[APPLAUSE]

IT IS EXACTLY 7:00 HERE IN LOS ANGELES,

AND RIGHT NOW,

OVER A MILLION HOMES USING TELEVISION IN THIS CITY

ARE TURNING THEIR DIALS TO CHANNEL 3,

AND THAT'S OUR CHANNEL!

[ANNOUNCER] HOWARD BEALE!

[AUDIENCE CHEERS]

STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!

NOW, YOU LISTEN TO ME AND LISTEN CAREFULLY

BECAUSE THIS IS YOUR GODDAMN LIFE

I'M TALKING ABOUT TODAY!

IN THIS COUNTRY, WHEN ONE COMPANY

WANTS TO TAKE OVER ANOTHER COMPANY,

THEY SIMPLY BUY UP

A CONTROLLING SHARE OF THE STOCK.

BUT FIRST, THEY HAVE TO FILE NOTICE WITH THE GOVERNMENT.

THAT'S HOW CCA TOOK OVER THE COMPANY

THAT OWNS THIS NETWORK.

BUT NOW SOMEBODY'S BUYING UP CCA--

SOMEBODY CALLED THE WESTERN WORLD FUNDING CORPORATION.

THEY FILED A NOTICE THIS MORNING.

WELL, JUST WHO IN THE HELL

IS THE WESTERN WORLD FUNDING CORPORATION?

IT IS A CONSORTIUM OF BANKS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES

WHO ARE NOT BUYING CCA FOR THEMSELVES

BUT AS AGENTS FOR SOMEBODY ELSE.

AND WHO IS THIS SOMEBODY ELSE? THEY WON'T TELL YOU.

THEY WON'T TELL YOU. THEY WON'T TELL THE SENATE.

THEY WON'T TELL THE SEC, THE FCC,

THEY WON'T TELL THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT.

THIS IS MR. HACKETT.

DO YOU HAVE A NEW YORK CALL FOR ME?

YOU WANNA TURN THAT DOWN, PLEASE?

I WILL TELL YOU WHO THEY'RE BUYING CCA FOR.

THEY'RE BUYING IT

FOR THE SAUDI ARABIAN INVESTMENT CORPORATION.

THEY'RE BUYING IT FOR THE ARABS.

CLARENCE, FRANK HACKETT HERE.

HOW'S EVERYTHING BACK IN NEW YORK?

HOW'S THE GOOD LADY?

ALL RIGHT, CLARENCE, TAKE IT EASY.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

WHEN?

TONIGHT'S SHOW?

CLARENCE, TAKE IT EASY.

THE HOWARD BEALE SHOW'S JUST GOING ON OUT HERE.

YOU GUYS GET IT THREE HOURS EARLIER IN NEW YORK.

CLARENCE, TAKE IT EASY. HOW THE HELL COULD I SEE IT?

IT'S JUST GOING ON NOW!

WHEN DID MR. JENSEN CALL?

WE ALL KNOW THAT THE ARABS

CONTROL $60 BILLION IN THIS COUNTRY.

THEY OWN A CHUNK OF FIFTH AVENUE,

20 DOWNTOWN PIECES OF BOSTON,

A PART OF THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS,

AN INDUSTRIAL PARK IN SALT LAKE CITY.

THEY OWN BIG HUNKS OF THE ATLANTA HILTON,

THE ARIZONA LAND AND CATTLE COMPANY,

THE SECURITY NATIONAL BANK IN CALIFORNIA,

THE BANK OF THE COMMONWEALTH IN DETROIT.

THEY CONTROL IRANCO, SO THAT PUTS THEM

INTO EXXON, TEXACO, AND MOBIL OIL.

THEY'RE ALL OVER-- NEW JERSEY, LOUISVILLE,

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI!

AND THAT'S ONLY WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT.

THERE'S A HELL OF A LOT MORE

WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT

BECAUSE ALL OF THOSE ARAB PETRODOLLARS

ARE WASHED THROUGH SWITZERLAND AND CANADA

AND THE BIGGEST BANKS IN THIS COUNTRY.

FOR EXAMPLE,

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT IS THIS CCA DEAL

AND ALL THE OTHER CCA DEALS.

RIGHT NOW, THE ARABS HAVE SCREWED US

OUT OF ENOUGH AMERICAN DOLLARS

TO COME RIGHT BACK, AND WITH OUR OWN MONEY,

BUY GENERAL MOTORS, IBM, ITT, AT&T, DU PONT, U.S. STEEL,

AND 20 OTHER AMERICAN COMPANIES.

HELL, THEY ALREADY OWN HALF OF ENGLAND!

SO LISTEN TO ME!

LISTEN TO ME, GODDAMN IT!

THE ARABS ARE SIMPLY BUYING US!

THERE'S ONLY ONE THING THAT CAN STOP THEM--YOU.

YOU!

SO I WANT YOU TO GET UP NOW.

I WANT YOU TO GET UP OUT OF YOUR CHAIRS.

I WANT YOU TO GET UP RIGHT NOW AND GO TO THE PHONE.

I WANT YOU TO GET UP FROM YOUR CHAIRS, GO THE PHONE,

GET IN YOUR CARS,

DRIVE INTO THE WESTERN UNION OFFICES IN TOWN.

I WANT YOU TO SEND A TELEGRAM TO THE WHITE HOUSE.

OH, MY GOD.

BY MIDNIGHT TONIGHT,

I WANT A MILLION TELEGRAMS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

I WANT THEM WADING KNEE-DEEP IN TELEGRAMS

AT THE WHITE HOUSE!

I WANT YOU TO GET UP RIGHT NOW

AND WRITE A TELEGRAM TO PRESIDENT FORD

SAYING, "I'M AS MAD AS HELL,

"AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

"I DON'T WANT THE BANKS SELLING MY COUNTRY TO THE ARABS.

I WANT THE CCA DEAL STOPPED NOW!"

I WANT THE CCA DEAL STOPPED NOW!

COME ON!

[AUDIENCE] I WANT THE CCA DEAL STOPPED NOW!

I WANT THE CCA DEAL STOPPED NOW!

I WANT THE CCA DEAL STOPPED NOW!

I WANT THE CCA DEAL STOPPED NOW!

[THEME MUSIC PLAYING]

LOOK, COULD WE HAVE THE ROOM?

SURE.

WELL, I'D LIKE TO SEE A TYPESCRIPT

AND RUN THROUGH A COUPLE MORE TIMES.

AS FOR THIS WHOLE CCA DEAL WITH THE SAUDIS,

YOU'D KNOW A LOT MORE ABOUT THAT, FRANK,

THAN I WOULD.

IS IT TRUE?

CCA HAS 2 BILLION IN LOANS WITH THE SAUDIS,

AND THEY HOLD EVERY PLEDGE WE'VE GOT.

WE NEED THAT SAUDI MONEY BAD.

DISASTER-- THE SHOW WAS A DISASTER.

UNMITIGATED DISASTER.

DEATH KNELL.

I'M RUINED. I'M DEAD.

I'M FINISHED.

MAYBE WE'RE OVERSTATING

BEALE'S CLOUT WITH THE PUBLIC.

AN HOUR AGO, CLARENCE MacALANY

CALLED ME FROM NEW YORK.

IT WAS 10:00 IN THE EAST.

AND OUR PEOPLE IN THE WHITE HOUSE

REPORT THEY WERE ALREADY KNEE-DEEP IN TELEGRAMS.

BY TOMORROW MORNING,

THEY'LL BE SUFFOCATING IN TELEGRAMS.

CAN THE GOVERNMENT STOP THE DEAL?

THEY CAN HOLD IT UP.

THE SEC COULD HOLD THIS DEAL UP FOR 20 YEARS

IF THEY WANTED TO.

I'M FINISHED.

ANY SECOND, THAT PHONE'S GOING TO RING,

AND CLARENCE MacALANY'S GOING TO TELL ME MR. JENSEN

WANTS ME IN HIS OFFICE TOMORROW MORNING

SO HE CAN PERSONALLY CHOP MY HEAD OFF.

FOUR HOURS AGO, I WAS A SUN-GOD AT CCA,

MR. JENSEN'S HAND-PICKED GOLDEN BOY,

THE HEIR APPARENT.

NOW? HA.

I'M A MAN WITHOUT A CORPORATION.

LET'S GET BACK TO HOWARD BEALE.

YOU'RE NOT SERIOUSLY GOING TO PULL BEALE OFF THE AIR?

MR. JENSEN'S UNHAPPY WITH HOWARD BEALE

AND WANTS HIM DISCONTINUED.

HE MAY BE UNHAPPY, BUT HE ISN'T STUPID ENOUGH

TO WITHDRAW THE NUMBER-ONE SHOW ON TELEVISION

OUT OF PIQUE.

$2 BILLION ISN'T PIQUE!

THAT'S THE WRATH OF GOD!

AND THE WRATH OF GOD WANTS HOWARD BEALE FIRED!

WHAT FOR? EVERY OTHER NETWORK WILL GRAB HIM

THE MINUTE HE WALKS OUT THE DOOR.

HE'LL BE BACK ON THE AIR FOR ABC TOMORROW,

AND WE'LL LOSE 20 POINTS.

I'M GONNA IMPALE THE SON OF A BITCH

WITH A SHARP STICK THROUGH THE HEART!

40 MILLION LOSS IN REVENUES FOR THE YEAR.

I'LL TAKE OUT A CONTRACT.

AND LET'S NOT DISCOUNT FEDERAL ACTION

OR THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT. IF CCA PULLS BEALE OFF...

NO, I'LL DO IT MYSELF!

I'LL STRANGLE HIM WITH A SASH CORD!

VIOLATION OF NETWORK AUTONOMY AND...

JEEZ!

I DON'T THINK JENSEN'S GONNA FIRE ANYBODY.

[TELEPHONE RINGING]

HACKETT.

YES, CLARENCE.

I'VE ALREADY BOOKED MY FLIGHT.

CAN YOU GIVE ME A LITTLE MORE TIME THAN THAT?

I'VE GOT THE RED-EYE FLIGHT.

I WON'T BE BACK IN NEW YORK TILL 6:00 TOMORROW MORNING.

THAT WILL BE JUST FINE.

I'LL SEE YOU THEN.

MR. JENSEN WANTS TO MEET HOWARD BEALE PERSONALLY.

HE WANTS MR. BEALE IN HIS OFFICE

AT 10:00 TOMORROW MORNING.

THE FINAL REVELATION IS AT HAND!

I HAVE SEEN THE SHATTERING FULGARATIONS

OF ULTIMATE CLARITY!

THE LIGHT IS IMPENDING!

I BEAR WITNESS TO THE LIGHT!

GOOD MORNING, MR. BEALE.

THEY TELL ME YOU'RE A MADMAN.

ONLY DESULTORILY.

HOW ARE YOU NOW?

AS MAD AS A HATTER.

WHO ISN'T?

I'M GOING TO TAKE YOU INTO OUR CONFERENCE ROOM.

SEEMS MORE SEEMLY A SETTING

FOR WHAT I HAVE TO SAY TO YOU.

I STARTED AS A SALESMAN, MR. BEALE.

I SOLD SEWING MACHINES AND AUTOMOBILE PARTS,

HAIRBRUSHES AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT.

THEY SAY I CAN SELL ANYTHING.

I'D LIKE TO TRY TO SELL SOMETHING TO YOU.

VALHALLA, MR. BEALE.

PLEASE, SIT DOWN.

YOU HAVE MEDDLED

WITH THE PRIMAL FORCES OF NATURE, MR. BEALE,

AND I WON'T HAVE IT!

IS THAT CLEAR?

DO YOU THINK YOU MERELY STOPPED A BUSINESS DEAL?

THAT IS NOT THE CASE.

THE ARABS HAVE TAKEN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS

OUT OF THIS COUNTRY,

AND NOW THEY MUST PUT IT BACK!

IT IS EBB AND FLOW-- TIDAL GRAVITY.

IT IS ECOLOGICAL BALANCE!

YOU ARE AN OLD MAN

WHO THINKS IN TERMS OF NATIONS AND PEOPLES.

THERE ARE NO NATIONS. THERE ARE NO PEOPLES.

THERE ARE NO RUSSIANS.

THERE ARE NO ARABS. THERE ARE NO THIRD WORLDS.

THERE IS NO WEST.

THERE IS ONLY ONE HOLISTIC SYSTEM OF SYSTEMS,

ONE VAST AND IMMANE,

INTERWOVEN, INTERACTING, MULTIVARIATE,

MULTINATIONAL DOMINION OF DOLLARS.

PETRODOLLARS, ELECTRODOLLARS, MULTIDOLLARS,

REICHMARKS, RIYALS, RUBLES, POUNDS, AND SHEKELS.

IT IS THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM OF CURRENCY

WHICH DETERMINES THE TOTALITY OF LIFE ON THIS PLANET.

THAT IS THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS TODAY.

THAT IS THE ATOMIC

AND SUBATOMIC

AND GALACTIC STRUCTURE OF THINGS TODAY!

AND YOU HAVE MEDDLED

WITH THE PRIMAL FORCES OF NATURE!

AND YOU WILL ATONE!

AM I GETTING THROUGH TO YOU, MR. BEALE?

YOU GET UP ON YOUR LITTLE 21-INCH SCREEN

AND HOWL ABOUT AMERICA AND DEMOCRACY.

THERE IS NO AMERICA.

THERE IS NO DEMOCRACY.

THERE IS ONLY IBM AND ITT AND AT&T

AND DU PONT, DOW, UNION CARBIDE, AND EXXON.

THOSE ARE THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD TODAY.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE RUSSIANS TALK ABOUT

IN THEIR COUNCILS OF STATE?

KARL MARX?

THEY GET OUT THEIR LINEAR PROGRAMMING CHARTS,

STATISTICAL DECISION THEORIES, MINIMAX SOLUTIONS,

AND COMPUTE THE PRICE/COST PROBABILITIES

OF THEIR TRANSACTIONS AND INVESTMENTS,

JUST LIKE WE DO.

WE NO LONGER LIVE IN A WORLD

OF NATIONS AND IDEOLOGIES, MR. BEALE.

THE WORLD IS A COLLEGE OF CORPORATIONS

INEXORABLY DETERMINED

BY THE IMMUTABLE BYLAWS OF BUSINESS.

THE WORLD IS A BUSINESS, MR. BEALE.

IT HAS BEEN SINCE MAN CRAWLED OUT OF THE SLIME.

AND OUR CHILDREN WILL LIVE, MR. BEALE,

TO SEE THAT...

PERFECT WORLD

IN WHICH THERE'S NO WAR OR FAMINE,

OPPRESSION OR BRUTALITY.

ONE VAST AND ECUMENICAL HOLDING COMPANY

FOR WHOM ALL MEN WILL WORK TO SERVE A COMMON PROFIT,

IN WHICH ALL MEN WILL HOLD A SHARE OF STOCK.

ALL NECESSITIES PROVIDED,

ALL ANXIETIES TRANQUILIZED,

ALL BOREDOM AMUSED.

AND I HAVE CHOSEN YOU, MR. BEALE,

TO PREACH THIS EVANGEL.

WHY ME?

BECAUSE YOU'RE ON TELEVISION, DUMMY.

60 MILLION PEOPLE WATCH YOU EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK,

MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY.

I HAVE SEEN THE FACE OF GOD.

YOU JUST MIGHT BE RIGHT, MR. BEALE.

[NARRATOR] THAT EVENING,

HOWARD BEALE WENT ON THE AIR

TO PREACH THE CORPORATE COSMOLOGY OF ARTHUR JENSEN.

LAST NIGHT, I GOT UP HERE AND ASKED YOU PEOPLE

TO STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR HERITAGE,

AND YOU DID, AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.

SIX MILLION TELEGRAMS WERE RECEIVED AT THE WHITE HOUSE.

THE ARAB TAKEOVER OF CCA HAS BEEN STOPPED!

THE PEOPLE SPOKE! THE PEOPLE WON!

IT WAS A RADIANT ERUPTION OF DEMOCRACY.

BUT I THINK THAT WAS IT, FELLAS.

THAT SORT OF THING IS NOT LIKELY TO HAPPEN AGAIN

BECAUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF ALL OUR TERRIFIED SOULS,

WE KNOW THAT DEMOCRACY IS A DYING GIANT,

A SICK, SICK, DYING, DECAYING POLITICAL CONCEPT

WRITHING IN ITS FINAL PAIN.

I DON'T MEAN THAT THE UNITED STATES IS FINISHED

AS A WORLD POWER.

THE UNITED STATES IS THE RICHEST, THE MOST POWERFUL,

THE MOST ADVANCED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

LIGHT YEARS AHEAD OF ANY OTHER COUNTRY.

AND I DON'T MEAN THE COMMUNISTS

ARE GONNA TAKE OVER THE WORLD.

BECAUSE THE COMMUNISTS ARE DEADER THAN WE ARE.

WHAT IS FINISHED...

IS THE IDEA THAT THIS GREAT COUNTRY

IS DEDICATED TO THE FREEDOM AND FLOURISHING

OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL IN IT.

IT'S THE INDIVIDUAL THAT'S FINISHED.

IT'S THE SINGLE, SOLITARY HUMAN BEING

THAT'S FINISHED.

IT'S EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU OUT THERE

THAT'S FINISHED,

BECAUSE THIS IS NO LONGER

A NATION OF INDEPENDENT INDIVIDUALS.

IT'S A NATION OF SOME 200-ODD MILLION

TRANSISTORIZED, DEODORIZED, WHITER THAN WHITE,

STEEL-BELTED BODIES,

TOTALLY UNNECESSARY AS HUMAN BEINGS

AND AS REPLACEABLE AS PISTON RODS.

WELL, THE TIME HAS COME TO SAY,

IS DEHUMANIZATION SUCH A BAD WORD?

BECAUSE GOOD OR BAD, THAT'S WHAT IS SO.

THE WHOLE WORLD IS BECOMING HUMANOID--

CREATURES THAT LOOK HUMAN BUT AREN'T.

THE WHOLE WORLD, NOT JUST US.

WE'RE JUST THE MOST ADVANCED COUNTRY,

SO WE'RE GETTING THERE FIRST.

THE WHOLE WORLD'S PEOPLE ARE BECOMING MASS-PRODUCED,

PROGRAMMED, NUMBERED, INSENSATE THINGS...

[NARRATOR] IT WAS A PERFECTLY ADMISSIBLE ARGUMENT

THAT HOWARD BEALE ADVANCED IN THE DAYS THAT FOLLOWED.

IT WAS, HOWEVER, ALSO A VERY DEPRESSING ONE.

NOBODY PARTICULARLY CARED TO HEAR

HIS LIFE WAS UTTERLY VALUELESS.

BY THE FIRST WEEK IN JUNE,

THE HOWARD BEALE SHOW HAD DROPPED ONE POINT

IN THE RATINGS,

AND ITS TREND OF SHARES DIPPED UNDER 48

FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE LAST NOVEMBER.

YOU'RE HIS GODDAMN AGENT, LOU.

I'M COUNTING ON YOU

TO TALK SOME SENSE INTO THE LUNATIC.

NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR

ABOUT DYING DEMOCRACY AND DEHUMANIZATION!

I'M SORRY I'M LATE.

WE ARE STARTING TO GET RUMBLES

FROM THE AGENCIES.

ANOTHER COUPLE OF WEEKS OF THIS,

AND THE SPONSORS WILL BE BAILING OUT!

THIS IS A BREACH OF CONTRACT, LOU.

THIS ISN'T THE HOWARD BEALE WE SIGNED.

YOU BETTER GET HIM OFF THIS CORPORATE UNIVERSE KICK,

OR SO HELP ME I'LL PULL HIM OFF THE AIR!

I TOLD HIM, LOU!

I'VE BEEN TELLING HIM EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK!

I'M SICK OF TELLING HIM! NOW YOU TELL HIM!

JESUS CHRIST.

YOU COULD HELP ME OUT WITH HOWARD IF YOU WANTED TO.

HE LISTENS TO YOU. YOU'RE HIS BEST FRIEND.

I'M TIRED OF ALL THIS HYSTERIA

ABOUT HOWARD BEALE.

EVERY TIME YOU COME BACK FROM SEEING SOMEBODY

IN YOUR FAMILY,

YOU COME BACK IN ONE OF THESE MORBID,

MIDDLE-AGED MOODS!

AND I'M TIRED OF FINDING YOU ON THE GODDAMN TELEPHONE

EVERY TIME I TURN AROUND.

I'M TIRED OF BEING AN ACCESSORY IN YOUR LIFE,

AND I'M TIRED OF PRETENDING

TO WRITE THIS DUMB BOOK ABOUT MY MAVERICK DAYS

AND THE GREAT EARLY YEARS OF TELEVISION.

EVERY GODDAMNED EXECUTIVE FIRED FROM A NETWORK

IN THE LAST 20 YEARS

HAS WRITTEN THIS DUMB BOOK

ABOUT THE GREAT EARLY YEARS OF TELEVISION,

AND NOBODY WANTS A DUMB DAMN GODDAMN BOOK

ABOUT THE EARLY DAYS OF TELEVISION!

TERRIFIC, MAX! TERRIFIC.

MAYBE YOU COULD START A WHOLE NEW CAREER

AS AN ACTOR!

IT'S THE TRUTH.

AFTER LIVING WITH YOU FOR SIX MONTHS,

I'M TURNING INTO ONE OF YOUR SCRIPTS.

WELL, THIS IS NOT A SCRIPT, DIANA.

THERE'S SOME REAL, ACTUAL LIFE GOING ON HERE.

I WENT TO VISIT MY WIFE TODAY

BECAUSE SHE'S IN A STATE OF DEPRESSION--

SO DEPRESSED THAT MY DAUGHTER

FLEW ALL THE WAY FROM SEATTLE TO BE WITH HER.

AND I FEEL LOUSY ABOUT THAT.

I FEEL LOUSY ABOUT THE PAIN

THAT I'VE CAUSED MY WIFE AND MY KIDS.

I FEEL GUILTY AND CONSCIENCE-STRICKEN

AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU THINK SENTIMENTAL

BUT WHICH MY GENERATION CALLS SIMPLE HUMAN DECENCY.

AND I MISS MY HOME

BECAUSE I'M BEGINNING TO GET SCARED SHITLESS

BECAUSE ALL OF A SUDDEN,

IT'S CLOSER TO THE END THAN IT IS THE BEGINNING,

AND DEATH IS SUDDENLY A PERCEPTIBLE THING TO ME

WITH DEFINABLE FEATURES.

YOU'RE DEALING WITH A MAN

THAT HAS PRIMAL DOUBTS, DIANA,

AND YOU'VE GOT TO COPE WITH IT.

I'M NOT SOME GUY DISCUSSING MALE MENOPAUSE

ON THE BARBARA WALTERS SHOW.

I'M THE MAN THAT YOU PRESUMABLY LOVE.

I'M PART OF YOUR LIFE.

I LIVE HERE. I'M REAL.

YOU CAN'T SWITCH TO ANOTHER STATION.

WELL...

WHAT EXACTLY IS IT YOU WANT ME TO DO?

I JUST WANT YOU TO LOVE ME.

I JUST WANT YOU TO LOVE ME,

PRIMAL DOUBTS AND ALL.

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, DON'T YOU?

I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.

[TELEPHONE RINGS]

[RING]

I'LL--

I'LL BE WITH YOU IN A MINUTE, MAX.

[RING]

[NARRATOR] BY THE FIRST WEEK IN JULY,

THE HOWARD BEALE SHOW WAS DOWN 11 POINTS.

HYSTERIA SWEPT THROUGH THE NETWORK.

HE'S A PLAGUE. HE'S SMALLPOX! HE'S TYPHOID!

I DON'T WANT TO FOLLOW HIS GODDAMN SHOW!

I WANT OUT OF THAT SPOT.

I'VE GOT ENOUGH TROUBLES

WITHOUT HOWARD BEALE AS A LEAD-IN.

YOU GUYS SCHEDULED ME UP AGAINST TONY ORLANDO AND DAWN.

NBC'S GOT LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE.

ABC'S GOT THE BIONIC WOMAN!

YOU GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT HOWARD BEALE.

GET HIM OFF THE AIR! GET HIM OFF!

DO SOMETHING! DO ANYTHING!

WE'RE TRYING TO FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR HIM!

I'M GOING DOWN TO LOOK AT AUDITIONS FOR IT NOW!

AND HOW, WHEN THE SIXTH SEAL,

AND, MAN, I TELL YOU, I SAW IT!

IT WAS HEAVY, BABY.

I SAW THE EARTH QUAKE,

AND I SAW THE MOON BECAME LIKE BLOOD,

AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND ISLAND

WAS MOVED FROM ITS PLACE.

NO, NO, NO, DAMN IT!

IF WE WANTED HELLFIRE, WE'D GET BILLY GRAHAM.