Newsreaders Star Mather Zickel Discusses the Evolution of Fictional Newscaster Louis La Fonda
Fictional newscaster Louis La Fonda is incredibly invested in his work. From investigative reporting to human interest pieces, he likes to dive headfirst into the story. And, that's kind of the problem. The deeper La Fonda explores his assignments, the more of a mess they become.
Image courtesy of Adult Swim Mather Zickel stars as reporter Louis La Fonda in Newsreaders
"He really has no idea where the stories are going," says Mather Zickel, who stars as La Fonda in the new Adult Swim series, Newsreaders. "He just sort of reacts in a way to cause more interest where there wouldn't necessarily be much interest. He'll go and try to make news."
This Thursday, La Fonda marks the Adult Swim premiere of Newsreaders with an exposé on van sex that's as riveting as it is ridiculous. (You can watch the episode now on Adult Swim's website now.) Zickel describes the show as "sort of the evening news magazine format, in the vein of 60 Minutes or 20/20 or something like that, something else with a number."
He adds, "They cover in-depth on stories that people never thought they cared about, and probably don't."
Although it is only now beginning its first season, Newsreaders is familiar to avid Adult Swim viewers. The show is a spinoff of Childrens Hospital, the popular medical drama parody starring Rob Corddry. In three episodes of Childrens Hospital, the series' show-within-a-show is profiled by La Fonda for Newsreaders. While that's the origin of this particular series, the character of Louis La Fonda actually predates Childrens Hospital.
In 2007, David Wain, who produces, writes and directs Childrens Hospital, directed a flick called The Ten. The movie, which Wain also co-wrote, features ten short, sometimes interconnected stories based on the ten commandments. Louis La Fonda, played by Zickel, appeared in two segments of the film. Back in the days of The Ten, La Fonda was a TV reporter assigned to cover a the story of a young man whose life is completely changed after falling out of an airplane. He ends up marrying the victim's fiancé, who betrays the reporter in possibly the most disturbing scene involving a ventriloquist dummy ever.
"He was left kind of shattered," Zickel says of the character, before filling in the missing, imaginary history between The Ten and Childrens Hospital. "Since then, he has gone on to host several entertainment news programs. There was The La Fonda List. He would do a weekly wrap-up of who's who in television and entertainment. That gave way to Newsreaders, which started getting a lot of viewership during Childrens Hospital."
Up next: What is the show parodying?