Several months ago, a producer came to me quite concerned that I appeared to be “unconcerned” about a few technical glitches that showed up on-air recently in one or two of our shows. He said, “I’m a perfectionist and these kind of technical errors can’t be allowed to continue”. He wore the word “perfectionist” as a badge of honor. Almost like I should reward him for being so conscientious. I felt two things immediately, neither of which I expressed. The first was, “Boy, are you in the wrong business”. Television is an art – especially the right-brained lighter newscasts we’re producing. No piece of art is ever perfect. Secondly, I felt sad for him. Sad that he will never be truly happy with any show he’ll ever produce. Continue reading CLEAN SHOWS ARE FAILURES
Preparing for the 11pm news one night in the WBNS newsroom, in Columbus, I looked up as Dana Tyler, the 11PM co-anchor, was returning to her desk.
“Dana”, I said.
“Yes Raymond?” she replied.
With a deep sigh, I asked, “What are we going to do with our lives?
Without a second thought, she said, “Well, I guess we start with a double box, then take the live remote full, and end again on a double box.”
“Noooooo!”, I said befuddled. “Not our live shots! Our lives?”
Second Verdict was a show idea that came to me while I was working at E! Networks during a rash of celebrity court trials. What if we take footage of actual trials and re-tried them with our own jury? And instead of using jurors who were completely unbiased, we use jurors who themselves were victims of violent crimes or who had particular biases. Or perhaps we give them information that the judge declared inadmissible during the actual trial. How would that affect the outcome of our trial versus what happened in court? Continue reading WE, THE JURY…FIND THE DEFENDANT…
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? Some day I may be able to hire them on a show I’m doing. Continue reading HIRING “CLOUD-EE-AH”
I still remember vividly that December night in 1979. The Who was to perform at a concert in Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum. But before it started, eleven fans were crushed to death when the coliseum doors opened. All the concertgoers had “festival seating” tickets, which meant it was a free-for-all for them to race to the best seats. Opening the doors resulted in a stampede as everyone clamored to get through. Continue reading HIS KID’S OKAY
I’ve always thought that networks like CNN and Fox News should have a position such as “Vice President of Teases”. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but when you break it down it makes total cents (pun intended). Commercial breaks are disastrous for ratings. Ever since the invention of the clicker, now known as the remote, when viewers no longer have to get up off their butts to change the channel, they surf at will. The good news for “live” morning shows is viewers are rarely sitting down watching the show. They’re more likely using it as background noise as they brush their teeth and comb their hair and just let the commercials play through. But all viewers are automatically conditioned to mentally tune out the minute they hear that theme music begin to play, with the host saying something along the lines of “Coming up…the latest trend in swimwear. Stick around.” Continue reading THE TEASE FROM HELL!
Thanks to news anchors like Anderson Cooper, the issue of bullying is finally front and center in the media. Laws are being passed, programs are being put into place and bullies are actually being held accountable for their actions. As someone who was bullied, day in and day out, from the third grade until my high school graduation, I can tell you that being the target of bullies at every turn is a terrifying and miserable existence. I vividly remember riding home on the bus from high school in my freshman year. Every afternoon we would drive past this huge graveyard on the west side of Cincinnati. I would stare at the thousands of tombstones and envy those people for being dead. I would have written a book about my experiences ages ago but I would have to go into events that occurred in my sophomore year – and I’m not yet ready to commit them to paper. My junior and senior years are a complete blur. I remember nothing. But a bully I encountered as a freshman would come back to haunt me early on in my news career. Continue reading EXECUTION OF A BULLY
My favorite show of all time… don’t judge me!… The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour. Even now, 40 years after it first aired, it is mesmerizing to watch. And the reason it is? Because the show is nothing but the sum of all its parts. None of those parts could stand alone (and they tried in later years). Cher was OK at best. Sonny was just plain sad – but his lack of talent didn’t stop him from having his own prime time variety show! Continue reading SONNY THOUGHTS TO CHER