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Serene Branson returns to the red carpet two weeks after Grammy scare

February 28, 2011 |  2:07 pm

Serene Branson is thankful she did not have another YouTube moment on Oscar night.

The KCBS-TV Channel 2 reporter who became an unwitting media sensation two weeks ago when she began to speak incoherently during a live report following the Grammy Awards returned to the Hollywood red carpet scene Sunday, filing several live reports before and after the Academy Awards.

"It was great, and it felt so good to be back on the red carpet," Branson said Monday. "It was a long day, but everything went well." She added that she nabbed a little bit of celebrity status  from publicists, other journalists and even an actor from "The Fighter" who recognized her.

Branson pointed out that the ceremony marked the end of a week when she'd returned to work full time, filing reports of several stories ranging from the Somali pirate hijacking to the troubles surrounding Charlie Sheen. But many of her colleagues were openly concerned about her handling the demands of covering the Oscars and kept checking in with her to make sure she felt OK.

During her live report three hours following the Grammys, Branson garbled words and began speaking nonsense. Feeling weak and numb in her arm and hand, she knew immediately that something was wrong, and she was later examined by paramedics who were called to Staples Center. When she began to feel better, she declined to go to a hospital, saying she just wanted to go home.

After several tests over the next few days, Dr. Neil Martin, chief of neurosurgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, determined that the reporter had suffered a "complex migraine." The symptoms included dizziness, weakness and difficulty speaking.

Most of the week had passed before Branson realized that a clip of her live report had been posted on YouTube, prompting concern and speculation around the country that she had suffered some kind of breakdown or serious medical problem on the air.

On Sunday, she started work around 1 p.m. and was greeted by several publicists and journalists: "They said it was good to see me and and that it was great to see that I was doing well."  Jack McGee, who appeared in "The Fighter," also said hello, telling Branson, "I know who you are."

Her crew, including her field producer and cameraman who had been working with her on Grammy night, kept asking her how she was during the day. "It wasn't at the forefront of my mind, but it was on everyone else's mind," Branson said. "Everyone was making sure I felt OK."

After finishing up at the Oscar pre-show, Branson and her crew got something to eat, then went over to prepare for the Vanity Fair after-Oscar party at the Sunset Tower Hotel. She put together a fashion piece and did live reports as celebrities arrived. At one point while trying to get in position, several journalists started shouting her name as if she were a celebrity herself.

"My mother texted me," Branson said. "She said I looked great and my jewelry was amazing!"

She is ready to move past the Grammy episode. "I've pretty much moved on," Branson said. "It was great to return to work and find that every day I received dozens of handwritten letters and cards from people around the country thanking me for talking about this and wishing me well. Even though it happened just two weeks ago, it seems like a very long time."

She added, "It's still uncomfortable to watch that clip. It's tough to see myself in a vulnerable position. But everything has turned out fine."

— Greg Braxton

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