ATLANTA—Kickboxer, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, will resume after a brief pause, TNT sources reported several seconds ago.
"Kickboxer, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, will continue in a moment," an unidentified network source said.
According to the anonymous male source, the interruption to the Kickboxer broadcast will be brief. The representative for TNT asked that all persons watching Kickboxer, the 1989 action movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, "[remain] tuned to TNT."
The interruption affects viewers nationwide.
"[Van Damme's character] Kurt Sloan had just seen his brother, a U.S. kickboxing champion, suffer a brutal beating at the hands of the sadistic Tong Po," Phoenix-area TNT viewer Charles de Bernier said. "Van Damme's brother was paralyzed, but Tong Po was remorseless—in fact, he was almost gloating. But before anything else big happened, the movie was interrupted."
De Bernier said the disruption, which followed a freeze-frame of Van Damme's bloody and shame-ridden face, did not worry him.
"I expect that Kickboxer will continue in a moment," de Bernier said.
De Bernier's roommate Kyle Hammond was unavailable for comment, having chosen to spend the broadcast interruption in the bathroom.
Boston viewer Garret Corbin, standing in front of his open refrigerator and pouring himself a glass of grape juice, is one of tens of thousands of viewers awaiting the movie's return.
"If the movie continues, I think Van Damme's character will take vengeance on Tong Po—provided he can find someone to train him," Corbin said, basing his hypothesis on two weeks of TNT pronouncements that "Jean-Claude Van Damme is… Kickboxer."
Corbin said he believes that Kickboxer, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, "will come back on any minute now."
"If I'm going to take their word for it that Van Damme will assume the titular role," Corbin said, "then I might as well take their claim that Kickboxer will continue at face value."
"I'll have to see, though," Corbin added, fumbling with a bag of pretzels.
Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, said that, during this or a future interruption, viewers are likely to hear an announcement concerning TNT programming scheduled for later in the day.
"Oh, something like, 'Thelma & Louise, an edited-for-television feature starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, contains adult situations and graphic violence,'" Thompson said. "Whatever it is, I expect the American public to remain calm during the brief interruption of Kickboxer, as frequent disruptions are a normal part of the basic-cable viewing experience. Take Jean-Claude Van Damme's movies alone: We've seen Bloodsport, Universal Soldier, and even Timecop interrupted. In every case, the network, whether it was AMC, TBS, or Spike, has always made good on its promise."
"Oh, hey!" Thompson said. "It's totally back on!"