"What They Must Not See": A Top Producer Weighs In On How To Cover A Catastrophic InjuryS

Earlier we examined some of the difficulties and choices faced by broadcasters when a live event is derailed by a gruesome injury, like Louisville's Kevin Ware's compound fracture. We asked Fred Gaudelli, lead producer of NBC's Sunday Night Football, how he's handled similar situations in the past—and whether networks should have a specific plan in place.

"You have to use great judgment about what your audience can stomach and what they must see," Gaudelli wrote in an email, clarifying that he hasn't seen Ware's injury or CBS's coverage. "Actually, maybe more importantly, what they must not see."

He continued:

"We used to run into this in horse racing. Whenever a horse was injured and had to be euthanized on the track, we tried to show where the injury happened. We showed that one time and then we'd shoot the scene wide enough so no details could be seen. I'm sure auto racing has the same protocol if a driver is injured. It's all part of the production plan and camera meetings: What do and don't we do if a catastrophic injury takes place."

It's not clear if CBS had its own plan in place beforehand, though chairman Sean McManus seemed to indicate that the decision to stop showing Ware's injury came after two replays had already been aired. In the end, though, CBS's on-the-fly editorial decision essentially mirrored Gaudelli's best practice.