NY1’s Pat Kiernan on His Role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Blowing That Sopranos Audition

Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images

Although the Daily Bugle is Peter Parker’s main journalistic crush, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 it appears that most New Yorkers are glued to NY1. And actual beloved anchorman Pat Kiernan appears quite a few times to announce some moment of great destruction or another. It isn’t the first time Kiernan has appeared in a movie to warn New Yorkers of danger: He’s also in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. The NY1 faithful should rest assured that when the time comes to announce the end of the world, Kiernan will be prepared. We spoke with him about what it’s like to report fake movie news, his adventures boldly crossing Marvel universes, and what happened that one time when he blew an audition for The Sopranos.

You are in a good amount of this movie!
I haven’t seen it yet, but everybody tells me that they are surprised about how much ended up in the final cut. We do this often enough that the producers tend to ask us for more than they end up using.

It’s really more than you’d expect.

Apparently, NY1 is the channel everyone’s tuning to in the movies!
[Laughs.] It’s good. I remember I did a scene, a fairly long scene, for The Avengers. I went to the premiere and I’m waiting the whole movie for my line. Finally, in maybe the final two minutes, there’s a montage of several television reporters, and you kind of see me blurry in one corner of the montage and hear my voice for three seconds. I was like: “That’s it?!” It’s the opposite in Spider-Man 2, I guess?

Totally. It’s a very New York film. There are a ton of landmarks.
I feel like that’s a little bit of the attraction where you have writers and producers that know the city, it’s kind of fun for them to write NY1 in in that same sort of “wink-wink, this is ours’” kind of way. It’s not as overt as having a generic ABC or CBS station. It’s more believable than when they make up some call letters for a Channel 8 news. I often think, when these things come up, where even on the production teams where people come from all over, there must be one or two advocates that are very pro–New Yorkers.

Peter Parker does work for the media.
That’s gotta be the next evolution, really. I’m holding up his newspaper article!

I think he should work for NY1, because honestly I don’t think the Daily Bugle is paying him that well.

Over here we also noticed that you, as Pat Kiernan, are the only “character” to cross over the Marvel universes.
I didn’t wanna give it away but I did an interview with a guy from and he pointed out the same thing. He said, “Do you understand the significance of this in the comic book world, that you are the only link between these two universes?”

It’s huge. I don’t know how you’re this transcendent superhero that gets to be in both worlds.
I anchor it. I give it some sense of realism. I think that’s what NY1 lends to these things, is just that little bit of authenticity. And we don’t agree to do everything that comes our way, because we want it to be … It’s hard to explain. If the things that were happening in the movie were really happening, we want NY1 to be portrayed in the way that we think we might react to that series of events.

What’s the process like?
Generally, the writers send our people both the entire script and the script for the scene in question. NY1 evaluates it to make sure that it’s not something that’ll discredit the brand, and if they’re okay with the script, then they’ll present it to me and if I’m into it, I’ll either read it as they’ve written it or I’ll go back to them with follow-up questions or suggested changes. They send us a script, we put it in the TelePrompTer, I try to take a little extra care with my hair and makeup that morning, and when we’re in a break, I sit down and read the story to the camera. Then we just send them a hard drive of the video clip.

So basically you’ll be reporting on real New York news and then suddenly you’re like “and Spider-Man … ”
Yeah. I’ve sent reply-all emails to the newsroom before saying, “Please don’t be alarmed if you hear me talking about the end of the world. It’s not actually happening.”

That’s very scary!
Oh yeah, when you take it out of context, you could make a very frightening NY1 newscast out of all my appearances.

This is the beginning of a whole new world for you.
Yeah, I made the decision years ago that the only character I play is Pat Kiernan, and I’m very comfortable with that decision. It was after I had a bad casting experience: A casting director was trying to find someone to play an interviewer, a talk-show host, and so they reached out both to the acting community and some people at TV stations and agents who represent TV people. I was asked to come read in front of the producer and director for this new TV series. It was one of these cattle-call kind of auditions where you go sit in a room and sign in with the actors and they don’t know who you are from the next guy. You go in for two minutes and then they’re like, “Next!” I did my exact usual thing, which they could’ve seen on TV in the morning, and at the end they go, “Yeah, could you be more like Larry King?” I was like, “No. I’m not Larry King and you should’ve known that before I trekked down to Astoria to read for you.”

Why didn’t they just ask Larry King?
Well, in some ways I felt bad about that because that was for a new HBO show called The Sopranos.

What could’ve been!
I have no real regrets about it because the “Pat Kiernan as himself” thing has worked out pretty well.

Pat Kiernan on His Role in Amazing Spider-Man 2