Skills that Get the Guest for Your Television and Radio Show
What does it take to be a producer for The Joy Behar Show or The Wendy Williams Show? If you wanted to get your book or your author on The John Batchelor show, how would you go about it? I attended a CENCOM panel, “Celebrity Wranglers: Getting the Guest,” that provided insight into the skills and sources producers use to get ideas and guests for their show.
The panel included:
- Todd Polkes, Senior Producer for The Joy Behar Show
- David Goodman, Associate Producer for The John Batchelor Show
- Sean Flax, Associate Producer for One on 1 with Budd Mishkin
- Rena Popp, Senior Producer for The Wendy Williams Show
Todd Polke, Senior Producer for The Joy Behar Show has used some unconventional methods for getting guests when he was working on The Larry King Show and trying to book LaToya Jackson during the Michael Jackson trial. After many unsuccessful attempts, he heard that LaToya was ill with a cold so he sent her chicken soup from Larry King’s favorite restaurant. LaToya appreciated the gesture and appeared on the show. According to Polke, your role as a producer means that you have to relay to your potential guest (if they appeared on the show), what is the benefit for that guest? With the appearance the guest will have the opportunity to tell his/her story. In researching guests and topics Todd reads Drudge Report, Huffington Post, and thirty other magazines a week. Was there ever a time when a guest walked out on a show? Todd spoke about the Gene Simmons/Shannon Tweed appearance on Joy Baer when Shannon walked off the set as well as when Jan Adams walked off from a Larry King interview.
To be a talented segment producer David Goodman, Associate Producer for The John Batchelor Show feels you must be aggressive and persistent in tracking down a guest which he revealed his method: researching the guest online via LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. A great source in selecting guests and ideas for David is seeing which new books will be released over the upcoming months since those guests will be booked by the time their book is out so best to contact and book them in advance when they will be promoting the new book. As for a backup plan in the event of breaking news and an expert is needed to discuss the specifics of that news event (hostage situation, bomb, national security event) have a roster of people that you can get on short notice/last minute when the event happens.
For Sean Flax, Associate Producer for One on 1 with Budd Mishkin, a talented segment producer needs to find an angle. Since One on 1 with Budd Mishkin is a weekly New York series, it provides an open forum for guests to discuss causes he/she may be involved in so that guest can push their cause and provide more exposure to it and you get a different perspective of that person. As for guests and topics for the show Sean reads all New York newspapers, New York themed blogs, and looks for trends via blogs and Facebook to see what people are talking about.
Rena Popp, Senior Producer for The Wendy Williams Show felt that a key producer skill is researching your guests, and providing insight to the host about what topics/facts will be of interest. To keep up with news, topics, and ideas Rena reads the tabloids as she is looking for stories/events/topics that will be timely, funny, and create discussion. Reana also shared that if you make your guest look good following the show, you will be able to get access to other guests represented by that manager/publicist.
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