If there are defining moments in people’s careers, this is clearly one for both TV reporter Stephanie Schuler (The “Shue”) and Oscar winning actor Dustin Hoffman. Stephanie and I worked together for many years on The KTLA Morning News. She was regularly sent to the various junkets movie studios hold to promote their upcoming films. What Stephanie came back with after meeting with Dustin is truly jaw dropping! Her M.O. here was shear genius – Stephanie allowed her personality to come through in the interview – but in doing so, did not rob Dustin of his! In fact, she brought him to life in the most fascinating junket interview I’ve ever seen. This is how you do an interview!
When I go through the process of looking for talent, I begin by requesting audition reels from all the agents I know and have a working relationship with. I prefer to view every link myself. I don’t want an assistant “weeding out” the good from the bad before I view them because I’m always afraid they’re going to miss something that I see. I also don’t like to watch audition reels with other people in the room. Weird, I know, but I don’t want their one-liner comments or thoughts to distract me from what I’m seeing. I also go through my own “Rolodex” of talent I keep on file, people I’ve seen on other shows or elsewhere who spark my interest. Who knows? Someday I may be able to hire them on a show I’m doing.
That’s the process I went through when I was hiring talent for TVG (the interactive horse racing network which I started with Fox and TV Guide). I had 12 positions to fill – six horseracing experts and six “co-hosts” who were TV savvy to carry the show but not necessarily experts in horseracing. I put on a DVD of a candidate who had very little on-camera experience. She was a strikingly beautiful blond with an English accent. Now, I usually shy away from hiring especially beautiful women as hosts or anchors. I find that the more beautiful they are, the less personality they are willing to reveal on camera. My theory is – and don’t judge me too harshly on this – they oftentimes seem to expect their looks to “carry them” and they don’t need to try as hard in other performance areas. I also find that male viewers will tune in to check them out, but they won’t keep coming back because these women have nothing to offer beyond their looks. Call me sexist – whatever – but I’ve been there done that – and hiring beauties just because their beautiful usually doesn’t sustain a long-term audience.
Continue reading HIRING CLAUDIA (CLOUD-e-ah!)
Signature segments are vital to creating a unique personality for your show. Remember watching Saturday Night Live back in the day when you’d wait for them to do another Wayne’s World skit, or Pat, or Church Lady. The anticipation created by hoping for a new segment combined with the payoff when a new one actually aired is what signature segments are all about. The morning show that’s perfected the art of signature segments is, by far, the WGN Morning News. One of my favorites is when they create new “promos” for their show, often parodies of their competitions’ actual promos. Here are a few of the ones I’ve collected: Continue reading sig-nuh-cher: distinguishing aspect
I’d just like to let it be known that I played a small but significant role in rescuing a classic #1 hit from musical obscurity. When Olivia Newton-John guested on KTLA the first time (1991), she was all decked out in leather, sporting the final days of her sensual Soul Kiss look.
Just before we shot the interview, we found ourselves alone as she was touching up her flawless face in the makeup room. I was sitting on the floor nearby, my shirt carelessly unbuttoned, quizzing her on her upcoming concert tour. Turning to look at me in an alluring, come-hither pose straight from the Totally Hot album cover, she asked,
Continue reading A MISTY KIND OF MELLOW
Have you ever seen such salesmanship? These film shorts from all those 50’s & 60’s “ramas” including Motorama, Homearama and Futureama are to die for. OK, I’ll say it, they’re totally gay! But damn are they fascinating to watch. I’ve compiled a few of my favorites beginning with the cult classic, Design For Dreaming from 1956. Tad Tadlock is amazing as a woman who’s lips don’t move while she sings – and dreams about a masked man (Marc Breaux) taking her to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York for the 1956 General Motors Motorama. Spoiler: They end up falling in love on the “road of tomorrow” in the Firebird 2. Favorite lyric:
“Girls don’t go to motoramas dressed in a pair of pink pajamas.”
…and if that’s not enough, try this one on for size:
“We’d better get her into the kitchen! Quick!”
Continue reading DRAMA AT THE MOTORAMA
I present to you the complete and amazing book by James Allen that can powerfully change your thinking. It’s a short read. First published in 1902, it is in the public domain – but its message is as relevant today as it was more than a century ago. At the bottom of this post is the complete audiobook with a brilliant introduction by Earl Nightingale.
AS A MAN THINKETH
By James Allen
CHAPTER ONE – THOUGHT & CHARACTER
THE aphorism, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,” not only embraces the whole of a man’s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
Continue reading “WE ARE WHAT WE THINK”
A guilty pleasure since my days as a TV news intern, The Seduction is a classic B-movie stalker film shot before “stalker” became a common term for celebrities being terrorized by fans. Morgan Fairchild is stunningly beautiful in this film as Jamie Douglas, a Los Angeles TV news anchorwoman who has it all – success, money, a house in the hills, a doting personal assistant, a lame boyfriend, and a pretty-boy portrait photographer Derek, (Andrew Stevens) who’s monitoring her every move with his camera. Continue reading SEDUCED? OR SEDATED?