adrenaline television
(uh.DREN.uh.lin TEL.uh.vizh.un) n. A live television broadcast of a dramatic event.

Example Citation:
For several gripping hours on Tuesday afternoon, the Colorado school siege provided cable news networks with adrenaline television — students running from the school with hands in the air, crying parents desperate to see their children, a bloody victim dangling from a broken window as he sought help.
—David Bauder, "School shooting replaces horror from Yugoslavia on TV screens," The Associated Press, April 21, 1999

Earliest Citation:
Of the four TV screens in my office, three, at minimum, were needed to track developments from 2 p.m. on yesterday. It was an afternoon of television perhaps unmatched in sheer adrenaline since the day of O. J. Simpson's flight. "We have a kind of a crescendo in the Oklahoma City story at this hour," said CNN anchor Lou Waters, not long after 2 p.m. It was among news TV's few instances of understatement over the past three days.

Just as Boston viewers had become used to blast-site feeds from Oklahoma City TV stations, they could see Detroit stations pan their own cameras (rather frighteningly) around a SWAT team staking out an upstate Michigan farmhouse. Moments later, all the networks cut to Attorney General Janet Reno, who, from the White House press room; announced Timothy McVeigh's arrest; then President Clinton arrived to say the government would ask for the death penalty. Back in Oklahoma City, CNN anchor Bernard Shaw warned gravely of wind shifts that might cause the torn Murrah office building to collapse further. CNN's cameras also carried us occasionally to Perry, Okla., where McVeigh was arrested and a crowd of several hundred people waited outside the courthouse in which he was being held. Then, in Kansas, Terry Lynn Nichols turned himself in. Briefly, Boston viewers could watch a picket-line protest by government employees demanding security at the federal building outside Detroit, as WHDH (Ch. 7) patched into the Detroit NBC affiliate covering developments in upstate Michigan, where authorities searched a farmhouse thought to hold clues to the bombing.

Adrenaline TV, indeed.
—Frederic M. Biddle, "Bombing coverage hits crescendo," The Boston Globe, April 22, 1995

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