More insomniacs get their news from "World News Now" than from any other source.

"World News Now" premiered on ABC on January 6, 1992, and has been airing early weekday mornings ever since with essentially the same format. It airs live from 2:00 A.M. to 3:30 A.M. Eastern time (originally 2:00 to 4:00), and is then repeated several times, although portions may be updated in the event of breaking news. In practice, ABC's local affiliates end up joining it in progress at some point and then staying with it, even if it starts repeating itself, up until it's time for "World News This Morning" at 4:30 or their own local news at 5:00. Some evil affiliates, however, pre-empt it entirely with syndicated programming or a test pattern.

Each half hour block consists of a news segment, a weather update, a sports segment, a brief update of the headlines, and two feature segments. The feature segments run the gamut from highlights of the previous evening's "Nightline" to a business news update from the BBC to reviews of items of interest in the morning papers to commentaries from various ABC personalities and even viewers.

Among the innovations "WNN" has brought to television are the National Temperature Index, broadcasting over the Internet via CU-SeeMe (beginning in November 1995), and having a cardboard cutout fill in for an absent anchor.

The roll call of past anchors is long, because they tend to eventually want an assignment that doesn't involve being awake in the middle of the night. The first anchors were Aaron Brown and Lisa McRee, and also taking their turns at the anchor desk have been Thalia Assuras, Boyd Matson, Kevin Newman, Mark Mullen, Asha Blake, Anderson Cooper, Juju Chang, Derek McGinty, Alison Stewart, and Liz Cho. In addition, there has been an unending stream of guest anchors (whoever ABC can con into pulling the night shift for a week or so).

Although it certainly has its share of serious news, there has always been an irreverent edge to "WNN." That's best exemplified in its closing theme, the "World News Polka," played on Friday mornings while the credits roll, sung and performed on accordion by regular commentator Barry Mitchell. Some of the lyrics have been rewritten several times over the years to account for changes in the show; this version was used from 1993 to 1997.

Hey. News got you down? Come on, let's polka!
Politics and foreign wars
All the weather, all the scores
That's the World News Polka

Business news from Tokyo
Stuff you saw on Koppel's show
That's the World News Polka

It's late at night, you're wide awake
And you're not wearing pants
So grab your "World News Now" mug
And everybody dance

Have some fun, be a pal
Every anchor guy and gal
Do the World News Polka

Come on, everyone
That's the World News Polka
Insomniacs only
That's the World News Polka

Who cares what the network thinks
Or the sponsors, too?
Who cares?
And if your neighbors call the cops
Here's all you have to do

When they yell, "It's half past three"
Tell them, "Hey, it's news to me"
That's the World News Polka

They make us work the graveyard shift
That's why we go for broke
So why not tune in ABC
And join our little joke?

Five whole days every week
We're here with our tongues in cheek
That's the World News Polka
Do the World News Polka

(Sound effect: Coin being tossed into cup)
Gee, thanks, Mr. Jennings!

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