News anchors across the country are becoming infected with a virus that transforms them into sub-human, brainless creatures called “Setwalkers”. What’s causing this epidemic? Should up and coming morning newscasts use the “underdog” card to rocket to #1? What if Fox News created new promos touting itself as “Faux News – Biased Beyond Belief”, or “We Do The Reporting – And The Thinking For You”? And which L.A. morning show won an ugly on-air booking battle over celebrity guest David Cassidy?
These are just a few of the questions Raymond J Brune answers in his latest book – “Held Hostage: A News Producers’ Tales From The TV Control Room”. Part memoir, part blog entry and part Facebook post, Ray’s book details the hard lessons learned from producing more than 15,000 hours of “live” TV from a control room. From auditioning anchor candidates with puppies, to the age-old battle between left-brain management and right-brain producers, Ray’s recollections, his wit, and his undeniable skewed view make “Held Hostage” must-reading for anyone in the TV and news industry, and anyone who watches the crazy collection of characters currently on airwaves around the country.
From his days as a news intern, Ray recounts how he interned at a Cincinnati TV station for 2 years – never telling anyone his internship ended many months ago, until he secured a full-time job as a writer and later a producer. He bitterly recalls how a major breaking news story destroyed his chances of partying with three outrageous pop divas. Ray competes for relevance against Justin Bieber and scores a victory over another Justin, Timberlake. He shares details about his private moments in the makeup room with songstress Olivia Newton-John, how he inadvertently sent L.A.’s mayor for a 30-minute ‘time out” facing a corner during a prime-time special and a face-off he refereed between Howie Mandel and Richard Simmons. He explains how he “came of age” as a producer during an “orgy of arson” in Detroit, he recalls attending the trial of a serial killer – the same guy who bullied him in high school and learning of his death by lethal injection, and he details the comedy of errors that ensued when one of his hosts accidentally uploaded a photo of a “Sharon Stone Moment” onto the internet, Insightful, engaging and always unpredictable, “Held Hostage” is a page-turner you’ll refer to again and again.