Bonnie Franklin was a very good friends of ours at The KTLA Morning News. Every on-stage event we had, there she was joining in! I recently came across one of her earliest acting roles – as Sally in You’re The Judge from 1965. It’s an ephemeral film from that era produced by Crisco. Two girls are trying to “trap” two boys and the only way they figure they can do it is through their stomachs with some chicken and some cheating! It’s a wonderful lesson for the children of tomorrow! Enjoy. Continue reading A SHORT ABOUT SHORTENING
THE CENTERPIECE OF YOUR SHOW
On The Golden Girls, where did Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia spend most of their time? At The Kitchen Table. At your house, where does the family end up together more often than not? Correct! The Kitchen Table! It’s where you have your everyday meals, it’s where the kids do their homework, it’s where dad does his crossword puzzle and where mom reads her magazine. When a friend stops over, he joins the family at The Kitchen Table. The centerpiece of your home is The Kitchen Table – it’s the “home base” of your family.
The Kitchen Table is also the home base of your morning show. It’s where your family of anchors, sports and weather casters, reporters, and contributors hang out. When Chris Pine drops by, he joins everybody at The Kitchen Table. When the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders arrive, they join the gang at The Kitchen Table. When the mayor visits to discuss the teachers strike, he does so at The Kitchen Table. You don’t take guests and move them to a more formal location (like a living room set). You all hang out around The Kitchen Table where everyone joins in on the interview, the food and the small talk. Continue reading THE KITCHEN TABLE!
-THE RECIPE FOR RATINGS-
Do you know the “secret sauce” to morning show success? It’s a simple recipe. And it’s right there on the screen. It’s the one thing all these clips have in common.
AN ILLUMINATING OVERSIGHT
If you’ve ever met her, you know Marie Osmond is pretty in person. Stunning even. And she is just as beautiful on TV. Marie, a TV veteran of her own prime-time variety series and a daytime talk show, knows how crucial lighting is on a TV set. Good lighting can make a talent “glow” on screen. Bad lighting is the kiss of death. Many years ago, Marie was a guest on The KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles. Coincidentally, we shot our show on the very same stage she and her brother had shot all 78-episodes of Donnie & Marie on ABC twenty years earlier. I remember very clearly, when she arrived, before going to makeup, Marie asked me if she could go out on set for a moment during a commercial break. I led the way. Once there, she looked at where she would be sitting for the interview and then examined the lighting grid above her, determining whether or not she had a key light, a fill light, and a rim light (a back light). She was happy when our three-point lighting met her standards.
WAZE 2 UTILIZE UR NEWS CHOPPER
One of my greatest resources while producing The KTLA Morning News was Skycam 5 – our news helicopter, and the people inside – traffic reporter Jennifer York, a photographer (often Martin Clancey) and their pilot (usually one of the Tamburro brothers). With L.A. traffic being a commuter’s worst nightmare, the chopper was in the air four hours daily with scenes from traffic tie-ups in every direction. The chopper was also one of our greatest tools in covering breaking news. In fact, early on, we found a huge audience from an exclusive story KTLA broke thanks to our chopper – the massive flooding in Ventura County where torrents of water literally washed away a mobile home park. You can check out a quick recap of that exclusive footage here before I go on to address the “elephant in the air”… Continue reading THE ELEPHANT IN THE AIR
OPEN TEASES MUST SET THE TONE
How do you open your morning newscast? Let me guess. Video of that overnight fire, wiping to that avalanche caught on tape, wiping to the footage of a dolphin giving birth. Music is urgent, your talent is breathless and graphics are flashing all over the screen. Yep. You’re producing that pre-open tease exactly as Walk Away Joe tells you to do it. If you’re producing a personality-driven newscast, Joe, aka your news consultant, is dead wrong. Here’s why. Continue reading ESTABLISH YOUR ATTITUDE
“THIS GUY’S A REAL PLAYER!”
This is a huge reason The KTLA Morning News was beloved by viewers… Sam Rubin, our entertainment guy, who livvvvvvves to share the latest gossip about anyone or anything, would bring viewers “inside scoop” like he does below – even if that scoop is currently airing on a competing channel!! Check it out! A brilliant moment that had people changing channels all over town trying to identify who Sam was talking about! Continue reading A SCOOP CAUSES CHANNEL-CHANGING CHAOS IN LA!
Here’s a great promo clip the WB did about KTLA Morning News traffic reporter Jennifer York. It’s a interstitial the network ran during its children’s programming highlighting the crazy careers some people choose. Cute little theme song. Check it out. Continue reading JENNIFER BELONGS TO THE SKY!
Doing press junkets can be very tricky for reporters. On one hand, you’ve got a celebrity who has been answering the same questions, over and over again, for every local TV station from Los Angeles to Schenectady. (S)he’s bored and (s)he’s cranky and (s)he’s often judgmental in his/her crankiness. Next there’s the overprotective publicists. They want to ensure you ask questions only about the movie and not about the star’s personal life. They hover right over you, just off camera, during your carefully timed five-minute-and-not-one-second-longer interview. Any deviation from the plan and the publicist shuts down the shoot. And finally, there’s you… waiting your turn for over an hour, jet lagged from the red eye arrival and the early morning screening of the film. You’re just hoping you look decent for your cutaways, praying you ask questions that make some semblance of sense, and hoping they’re fresh and different from all the bigger-name TV news royalty waiting ahead of you in the green room. Thus are the trappings of a blockbuster hundred-million dollar movie studio junket. Continue reading HYSTERICAL PRESS JUNKET HIJINKS!
—CODE 1000’S CAN BE CREATIVE!—
We call it a “Code 1000”. It’s a mention upper management wants you to include in your newscast. It might be a charity event the station is sponsoring that they want you to shoot and mention in a :30 voice-over at 11pm. Or maybe they want you to promote a free flu shot giveaway the station’s part of at the Walgreens down the street. Or it could be something as obvious as promoting a Cheers marathon happening this weekend now that the station has bought the syndication rights to the sitcom. Continue reading A “MUST COVER” IN YOUR NEWSCAST!