Jimmy Kimmel And Walking Dead Fined For Fake Emergency Alert

Entertainment | By Caleb Schwartz | August 17, 2019

The world of broadcast television can be very weird and complicated. I'm not just talking about the colorful characters you find in Hollywood. The rules and restrictions from the Federal Communications Commission are a huge part of what shapes the shows you watch on television. They are the ones who make and enforce the rules.

Many of the FCC's rules are made to protect the public. For example, there are specific regulations on things you can say or show on TV, as well as when it's ok to say or show them. You may be familiar with emergency tones on your television. These tones are played during a state of emergency.

Sometimes a channel will show these emergency tones as part of a mandated test as per FCC regulations, but the shows are not supposed to play these tones outside of those situations. That's exactly what Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Walking Dead did that ended up costing them both six-figures in fines.

The FCC Comes for The Walking Dead and Jimmy Kimmel Live

There are many reasons that a show can get fined. Sometimes the show is fined because something inappropriate was said on air. The fines are a way to curtail certain behavior that goes against the FCC standards. Even live radio shows are under strict regulations from the FCC to make sure they don't say certain words or else they are pinned with hefty fines ranging in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. That's enough to stop any shock jock in their tracks who thinks it would be funny to drop an F bomb.

The FCC just put a few more shekels in their piggy bank after hitting both Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Walking Dead with a massive fine of six-figures. This fine wasn't because of a swear word used or an inappropriate image. It was because both shows used emergency tones when they weren't supposed to.

Emergency Tones are No Joke

The six-figure fine is all due to both shows using emergency tones outside of when they should. The FCC has a public press release that was announced that details the fines given to both ABC and AMC. The shows aired simulated emergency alert tones. That violates the FCC's rules on using the Emergency Alert System, those rainbow bars that occasionally come on TV.

The FCC believes that broadcasting emergency tones outside of an emergency or a test can be extremely dangerous to the public. It's reminiscent of the War of the Worlds broadcast that acted as if it were coverage of an actual alien invasion. It sent people into utter panic. This little mistake is now costing both channels over $600,000 in penalties. Both networks have made a promise not to let a mistake like this happen again.

The FCC Takes It Very Seriously

For Jimmy Kimmel Live, the incident happened back in October of 2018. The show aired emergency alert tones during one of their comedy sketches. Ironically, this was only hours before Trump sent out his first presidential alert to test out the Federal Emergency Management Agency's newest system. An ABC spokesperson remarked that they were happy to have the issue resolved after paying the fine.

For The Walking Dead, an episode titles "Omega" uses emergency alert tones. In another example of just how seriously the FCC takes using emergency alert tones, an episode of Lone Star Law that featured footage of the film crew receiving real alerts during Hurricane Harvey was fined for including the emergency alert tones. Even though this footage was trying to show the reality of what happened, it still cost the show a fine of over $60,000.

Did You Know...


They may be beautiful, rich and famous, but celebrities are human too, and that means they're just as prone to getting sick as the rest of us. And just like us, some celebs even live with chronic conditions that can take a toll on their day-to-day lives. But eczema – also referred to as dermatitis – is a common dry skin condition. Symptoms include dry, itchy, red and scaly skin. In more extreme cases, the skin can crust and bleed. According to the National Eczema Association, 1 in 10 individuals will develop eczema in their lifetime. And given these statistics, it’s hardly a surprise there are a few celebrities out there who have eczema too.


The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, 37, suffered from eczema in her teens. Kate was bullied heavily whilst attending Downe House girls’ boarding school, according to the Duchess’s friend Jessica Hay. According Hay, Middleton’s bullies made fun of her eczema. ‘It didn’t help that she was so tall and self-conscious about her eczema,’ Hay told CelebNow. Studies have shown children with moderate and extreme atopic dermatitis are more likely to suffer from conditions like anxiety and low self-esteem, which has a knock-on effect on their school work and ability to make friends.


Although Brad Pitt, 55, has not spoken about the issue himself, his co-star Cate Blanchett disclosed that Pitt was suffering from eczema during filming of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. In an interview with Scotland’s Daily Record, the actress said, ‘We went through three weeks of make-up tests and he was covered in eczema from it all.’ Blanchett sweetly loaned Pitt her skin cream to deal with the dermatitis, that had developed due to the use of prosthetic makeup worn during filming. Prosthetic make-up isn’t the hugest concern for us non-Hollywood folk, nevertheless, what is a concern, is how makeup can trigger eczema flair up. Unless makeup brushes are constantly washed (let’s be real, they’re not), they become a breeding ground for bacteria. This can lead to clogged pores and irritated sensitive skin.


Adele, 31, stated that her eczema flared up when she became a new mom. During a press conference in 2013 after her Golden Globe win for Best Original Song for the Bond film Sykfall, the singer said: ‘I am exhausted. That’s how [motherhood] changed me. I have eczema from boiling bottles.’ Research carried out by the BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal) has revealed that contact dermatitis has the potential to have ‘detrimental’ impact and in the worst case scenarios can even threaten some sufferers ability to work.

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