April Harriet O'Neil was a television reporter for Channel 6 News. She was employed by Burne Thompson, though due to her headstrong nature and passion for her work, she expressed frequent disagreement with the assignments he gave her. She also butted heads on a regular basis with Vernon Fenwick, the director/camera operator whose enormous ego compelled him to beat April on her stories whenever possible.
April was best friends with Irma Langinstein, the receptionist at Channel 6. April could usually be found wearing a distinctive yellow jumpsuit with white boots. She lived in an apartment in New York City, though during the course of the series, she was forced to relocate several times due to a variety of indirectly Turtle-related mishaps.
In the 1987 series, having been employed at Channel 6 for less than a year, April was reporting on a series of thefts of high-tech scientific equipment, apparently by a ninja (ostensibly components Shredder was securing for use in the Technodrome), when she came under attack by a gang of punks. Thinking quickly, she managed to squeeze into a storm drain and ran from the mob until she hit a dead end. As it happens, the Ninja Turtles were nearby and soundly defeated the punks for her. They took her back to their sewer lair for rest and recovery where they explained their origins to her. At first, she believed them to be responsible for the equipment thefts, but they agreed to provide her with the true culprits if she provided her assistance. April quickly became the Turtles' link to the outside world, since their unusual appearance effectively precluded them from functioning above ground without some sort of disguise.
April's friendship with the Turtles resulted in the opportunity to film exclusive footage of their encounters with Shredder, but despite her intimate knowledge of the details of their lives, she tended to keep her professional news reports about them impersonal and mysterious. She was a vocal champion of their cause, despite the opinion of Burne Thompson that the Turtles were a menace to the city, and most episodes generally showed her attempting to convince Burne and the New Yorkers that the Turtles are not the criminals he is convinced they are; by the episode "Doomquest", she finally succeeds by exposing Lord Dregg's propaganda campaign and plans to take over the Earth to the public. April was frequently kidnapped by Shredder, quite often as bait in order to lure the Turtles out of hiding in order to unleash his latest attempt at destruction upon them. Turtles Forever exploited this plot device to comic effect when the 2003 Turtles arrived in the "1987" Turtles' dimension, with 1987 Donatello commenting that they saved April at least once a day to the extent that watches could be set by it.
April underwent multiple brief mutations over the course of the series, though each of these mutations was reversed by the episode's conclusion:
- In 1987 in "The Catwoman from Channel Six", an accident with Shredder's Matter Transporter transmutated her with an alley cat.
- Playmates Toys released a "Mutatin' April" figure in the second wave of their "Mutations" line, homaging this transformation.
- In 1990 in "Rebel Without a Fin", Dr. Polidorius, in a failed attempt to turn all humanity into aquatic hybrids, mutated her into a fish woman, giving her sonar powers.
- In 1993 in "Revenge of the Fly", Baxter Stockman shot April with a mutagen gun, which transformed her into a giant wasp.
Later in the "Red Sky" seasons of the series, Shredder succeeded in destroying the Channel 6 building, forcing everyone to relocate. In the eighth season April continued to work for Channel 6, but by the ninth season rather than stay working for Channel 6, April became a freelance news reporter for reasons never specified. Now she was wearing a brown jacket with a green shirt and a pair of khakis. She continued to help the Turtles, even after the defeat of Shredder and his subsequent exile to Dimension X.
During the final seasons, April began to distance herself from the Turtles, even once rigorously badgering them in the press when they were framed in "State of Shock", though she apologized when the Turtles proved their innocence. Despite still loving the Turtles, she maintained this character change for the remainder of the series, calling on the Turtles if she was in need of rescue or in over her head, but admitting that she had left her once adventurous life behind her and was trying to put her life back on track.
April revealed her age in Season 3's "Leatherhead: Terror of the Swamp". While in Florida for vacation, the Turtles meet with her, and join forces with the Punk Frogs. They find a body of water contaminated with mutagen, which makes mutants feel youthful, while physically de-aging humans into 4 year old versions of themselves. Donatello does not allow April to enter the water, to which April laments, "Oh, great! I'm doomed to be a decrepit twenty-eight year old hag!"
April was normally portrayed as a capable woman, her most important contribution to the Turtles was her experience in doing research on the Channel 6 computers and alerting the Turtles to trouble and possible case leads.
This April appeared in the Turtles Forever special which is the pre-Season 8 version. She is seen in the movie being attacked by Mutant Pizza, Mutant Bananas, leprechauns and bowling balls but she is saved by the 1988s TMNT and she also got to met the 2003 Turtles and was ready to record this on her camera. 2003 Donatello asked her, "Whats with the yellow jump suit?" and also said, "Do you work in a car wash in this dimension?". After that she is seen being taken by the Mutant Banana and its unknown what became of her after that, but the 1988s Turtles likely saved her at some point at the end of Turtles Forever when they returned to their own dimension.
- David Wise borrowed her signature hair and jumpsuit from the character of Fujiko Mine, a thief who occasionally posed as a news reporter on the anime Lupin III.