IF YOU GO TO the Newseum in Washington, D.C., to check out the wing exclusively devoted to Walter Cronkite, you won't find it, because there isn't one.

But there is an exhibit featuring artifacts from the "career" of anchorman Ron Burgundy, who, unlike this exhibit, does not actually exist.

Anywhere but in the hearts of moviegoers, who've made Will Ferrell's TV news simpleton one of the more enduring and beloved comedy creations of the new millennium.

Quick example of his cultural reach: In the upcoming movie "Lone Survivor," the fact-based account of a doomed Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan, there's a scene of two men pinned down by Taliban fire. "What do you want to do," says one. Says the other: "I want to go back to Texas and watch 'Anchorman.' "

There are complex reasons why folks respond to Ron (see story above), the chauvinist caveman slowly adapting to life in the advancing age of diversity.

But surely one reason for the original's popularity was its gift for freewheeling improvisation - cinematic jazz flute, if you will. Vince Vaughn on a 10-speed bike, spoiling for a street brawl. Jack Black drop-kicking a fake dog off a bridge.

The demands of a sequel could be deadly to that kind of inspired nonsense. But in "A2," Ferrell and company manage to preserve that spirit of demented comic innovation, even if the element of surprise is gone.

To that end, they've given Ron a new address and a new set of challenges. He and his news crew (Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Steve Carell) have moved to New York and taken jobs on one of the nation's first 24-hour cable news channels.

Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), now his ex, has a more prestigious network job and a new, ponytailed psychologist boyfriend (Greg Kinnear) who is sensitive and at ease with the language of therapy - which id-driven Ron believes to be some form of voodoo.

In "Anchorman," we saw Ron poorly equipped to handle the advent of feminism. Here, he takes up with his African-American station manager (Meagan Good), and of course proves to be as cluelessly racist as he was sexist in the original.

Why would this woman date him? Because Ron becomes a sensation on cable news. The joke is that his complete lack of real news sense make him ideal for the medium, as cable accelerates the TV news transition from fact-gathering to blathering about car chases.

It's the sort of pointed satire we get from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert every night, so it's hard to break new ground here. Still, the consistent satire brings slight order to the grab-bag of comic anarchy surrounding America's favorite blundering oaf.

Please, don't stay classy, Ron Burgundy.