fake news outlets in tv shows

Ranking the 10 best faux news outlets in TV shows

From Mode magazine to the West Beverly High School Blaze, these faux outlets shared news and workplace hilarity.


Angela Andaloro

Pop Culture

The best TV shows are the ones that give you a universe that you can really sink your teeth into. What that actually looks like on a show is different for different genres and different viewers. Some love a good news station to anchor a series’ cannon in cultural interests.

Here’s a ranking of the best faux news outlets in TV shows, from best to worst.

1. WJM-TV from The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Richards celebrating in the newsroom with her co-workers, including Ted Baxter and Lou Grant, in an episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.'
The Mary Tyler Moore Show / CBS / Hulu

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is one of the most unforgettable sitcoms featuring a newsroom, perhaps the greatest of all time. The 6 o’clock news was full of characters, all of whom had a soft spot for Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), their associate producer and frequent voice of reason.

The show was beloved by audiences for good reason. Through the lens of working in a newsroom, the show covered major and sometimes taboo subjects that were controversial at the time, like workplace discrimination against women to ethics in the newsroom. The who’s who of pop culture—including well-known journalists of the time—also appeared on the show, with guest appearances from Walter Cronkite and then-First Lady Betty Ford.

2. FYI from Murphy Brown

Murphy Brown talking to her co-workers in the FYI newsroom.
Old N Classic / CBS / YouTube

You simply can’t have a discussion about fictional news outlets without talking about Murphy Brown. The no-nonsense newswoman (played by Candice Bergen) makes no apologies for being a hard-working, tough-as-nails woman in the media.

Murphy is an investigative journalist who goes on to co-host a second show in addition to her work at FYI in the later seasons. Along the way, she breaks glass ceilings and unapologetically rewrites the rules. The show also worked real-life journalists and newsy figures into scenarios at the fictional news magazine, with cameos from Connie Chung, John F. Kennedy Jr., and Katie Couric. There was also the revolving door of Murphy’s secretaries, which also led to some hilarious guest appearances.

3. Mode Magazine from Ugly Betty

Betty Suarex at MODE
Ugly Betty / ABC / Netflix

Mode Magazine was the Vogue of the Ugly Betty universe. The Meade Publications magazine hired Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) as the assistant to the editor-in-chief, who was known for having a zany style that doesn’t sit within the fashion industry norms.

In a lot of ways, Mode shows all the best and worst things about the fictional world of fashion. The office spaces are truly unforgettable, but so are some of the harsher jabs at those who don’t “fit in.” It’s an unsettling but real look at how the publishing industry can play out for some.

4. Flavor Magazine from Living Single

Khadijah chatting with Sinclair at the Flavor office in an episode of 'Living Single.'
Living Single / FOX / Hulu

Living Single broke barriers in a lot of ways, but one of the best was the way Khadijah (Queen Latifah) was unapologetically smart and business savvy. The publisher behind Flavor Magazine—an independent magazine dedicated to the interests of the Black community—was a Howard University graduate who was always down to chase a story and knew when to put work first.

Flavor was a nod to the up-and-coming Black publications of the early ’90s, many of which were focused on entertainment. The newsroom stayed bustling, with sharp women and attractive men always passing through.

5. Blush from Just Shoot Me

'Just Shoot Me' cast in a scene at Blush Magazine.
Just Shoot Me / NBC / Roku

Through its flagship, Blush, Just Shoot Me took a funny and, at times, unhinged look at the fashion world. Like Ugly Betty, Blush was the Vogue of its universe, the magazine gave us all the drama you’d expect from a high-end fashion magazine.

One of the best things that elevated Blush within the sitcom was the ability to see covers throughout episodes. While some trended more Cosmo than Vogue, they brought the fictional publication a little more to life.

6. The Morning Show from The Morning Show

Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston sitting at a news desk together in a scene from 'The Morning Show'
The Morning Show / AppleTV+

A powerful newcomer, The Morning Show is a great dramatized look at the dynamics behind a high-stakes news market. Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston play co-anchors of TMS, aka The Morning Show, which is similar to the real-life versions TODAY or Good Morning America.

Faux news outlets often bring the drama and TMS doesn’t disappoint. Unlike other faux news outlets on TV, TMS also engages with some real-life news. Even the show’s premise is, in nearly every sense, ripped from the headlines. While touching on news and engaging in real-world plots, the character’s drama also leaves you wondering what’s going on behind the scenes of your own favorite broadcasts.

7. WKRP from WKRP in Cincinnati

Dr. Johnny Fever, Jennifer Marlowe, and Venus Flytrap in the booth together in an episode of 'WKRP in Cincinatti'
Torimasu Letrai / CBS / YouTube

A departure from the many TV and print news outlets on this list, WKRP is there to remind you of the glory of radio. It wasn’t strictly a faux news outlet like the rest of this list, but there were news DJs, as well as a big cast of characters at the station and on-air made for high entertainment, so it counts.

The show was praised and, in many ways, succeeded beyond its first season thanks to praise from real-life DJs who praised the show for getting the dynamic of a radio station.

8. Metro News 1 from How I Met Your Mother

Robin reporting on Metro News 1 in front of a hot dog cart.
How I Met Your Mother / NBC / Netflix

Robin Scherbatsky wanted to be a hard news journalist, but like so many in the industry, she had to fight to get to something substantial. Her fluff pieces and sometimes straight nonsense on Metro News 1 were truly the work of a desperate newscaster—and something you could easily tune into on any given night on the actual local news.

There were plenty of stories that had Robin wanting to give up journalism: A kid caught in a toy crane, 5-cent hot dogs on sale (above), and even interviewing someone on their 100th birthday. However, Robin persisted and eventually got her break away from the local news circuit with World Wide News.

9. WNYX from NewsRadio

The cast of NewsRadio gathered in a staff meeting.
NewsRadio / NBC / Roku

NewsRadio was an underrated ’90s sitcom gem, as was WNYX, an AM all-news radio station. A victim to frequent time-slot changes at NBC, NewsRadio excelled in explosive hilarity. The love-hate relationship between the offbeat ensemble made for plenty of laughs.

The situations at the station were parts over-the-top and entirely relatable. There was chaotic energy to go around but at the same time, there was always a point. Their main pairing was competing for the same job. It was a solid workplace comedy and a suitable vehicle for some of Phil Hartman’s final performances.

10. West Beverly High School Blaze from Beverly Hills, 90210

Brandon and Andrea have a tense conversation in 'The Blaze' newsroom in an episode of 'Beverly Hills, 90210'
Beverly Hills, 90210 / CBS / Paramount+

A high school newspaper probably isn’t what you’re thinking when you’re thinking news, but the West Beverly Blaze really set the scene for quite a few major Beverly Hills, 90210 moments. Who can forget Brandon’s profile on the student body’s tennis savant, played by the late Matthew Perry, who had some serious mental health struggles? In another assignment, the student journalist casually goes undercover to find out about steroid use on school sports teams.

The Blaze was a character in its own right during the high school years, also setting the scene for endless romantic tension between Brandon and Andrea.

The internet is chaotic—but we’ll break it down for you in one daily email. Sign up for the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter here to get the best (and worst) of the internet straight into your inbox.

The Daily Dot