Bin Laden hoax draws big ratings

ABC's 'War' stunt stirs cops, audiences

Sydney was locked down tighter than an Oscars after-party for President Bush‘s visit to the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit last week, but a motorcade carrying Osama Bin Laden somehow made it to within a block of Bush’s hotel last.

Pubcaster ABC’s satirical laffer “The Chaser’s War on Everything” tested security by staging a fake motorcade through the streets. To their surprise, it worked — and they sailed past two checkpoints into the security “red zone.”

There were a number of clues that it was a joke: security passes reading INSECURITY, faux security guards running beside the cars with Handycams — but it took one of the comedians, Chas Licciardello emerging from the car dressed as Bin Laden, before police pounced.

“$160 million dollars they spent on APEC security, the biggest lockdown Australia has ever seen, and yet there were holes in the security wide enough to drive three trucks, two motorcycles and four secret service guys through,” says producer Julian Morrow.

Eleven members of the comedy team were detained and charged; they face up to six months in jail.

But while they may be unpopular with police, the stunt earned boffo ratings for the series.

“Chaser’s” was the most watched show on the evening of Sept. 12 with 2.2 million viewers — a new record for the team and ratings that ABC could only dream of drawing for a regular episode.

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