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'Anchorman' joins Bismarck newscast for a night

Who was that guy reading the news? Viewers of the Saturday night news on KXMB TV in Bismarck might have thought he looked a little like Ron Burgundy.

It was actor Will Ferrell, dressed as fictional anchorman Burgundy, the character in his movie “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” opening this month.

Ferrell read the night’s news with a straight face: a trash fire in Bismarck, an appearance by Santa and a story about a dummy that staffs a police car in Amidon. Co-anchor and producer Amber Schatz said she was glad for a short rehearsal before the taping so she had time to practice keeping a straight face.

At one point in the newscast, Ferrell asked her, “Are you married?”

After she said no, he replied, “Well, I am, so don’t get any ideas.”

“He had me cracking up, just with his voice, his facial expressions,” Schatz said afterward. “I loved the character. I had the hardest time keeping it together.”

Ferrell flew into Bismarck for the afternoon taping and then flew to Canada, where Burgundy is to cover Canada’s Olympic curling trials — but not before signing autographs and taking pictures with the staff, Schatz said. The KX team gave him a sweatshirt.

Schatz said she was not in on the planning of Ferrell’s appearance. “It was very hush-hush,” she said. She found out only a few days before the broadcast.

“He was so cool, so kind to everyone,” she said.

She figures she has seen the original “Anchorman” movie about 30 times. She and her friends would write down their favorite quotes and compare them, but she never dreamed she would meet the star.

“I could never have guessed it in a million years,” she said. “But I never, ever could have picked anyone I would rather be a co-anchor to than Ron Burgundy."

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