As 2012 closes and 2013 opens, I’ve taken a moment to reflect on several of the interesting people I’ve met and unique experiences I’ve had while covering the television industry this past year.
In November, Disney Junior premiered a young new princess movie, “Sofia the First.” A series based on the movie will premiere on Friday, January 11th.
While working on a story about the movie and series, I got to meet the executive producers of the project, Craig Gerber and Jamie Mitchell. Sitting in their offices, surrounded by sketches of characters, the two explained the process of creating the world of Sofia and bringing her to life. It was very cool to learn about the whole process, especially on a production that falls under the legendary Disney banner. To read the whole article about my visit, please click here.
In a double whammy for me, “Sofia the First” stars Wayne Brady as the voice of Sofia’s closest friend, a bunny. I’m a big fan of his so it was amazing to meet and speak with him. He was everything you’d expect – smart, funny, and charming. My exclusive interview with Wayne will be posted next week.
Like it or not, “Honey Boo Boo” has become a cultural sensation. Created by Authentic Entertainment, the show features a slice of life look at an unusual family.
Laura Lexton, one of the prinicipals of Authentic, spoke with me about her company and how they create a wide range of content including “Toddlers and Tiaras” and “Cheer Perfection, among others. To read about Authentic Entertainment, please go to this site.
Late night television is all about enjoyment and that’s exactly what I experienced when I visited Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. There were interviews, lots of signing and plenty of all out laughs. I’ll be writing about my time in Studio 6H in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that.
While working on a piece about the show “Parole Diaries,” I was privileged to interview Denise Jackson, a veteran parole officer in Indianapolis. The show may not be mainstream, but really it should be. The show reveals facets of the judicial system that Americans are most likely not familiar with, but, again, should be. And, Ms. Jackson, is more than just a committed civil servant. She’s really a star in her profession. Part nurturing mother, part hard-ass officer, as she states, she just wants to help her recently paroled clients overcome their personal barriers to making a new start and staying out of prison; a task that is extremely difficult. To read my article about “Parole Diaries” and Ms. Jackson, please click here.
I don’t interview a lot of actors because I specialize in more of the creative part of the television industry, but I’m not averse to doing so if asked. One of the actors that I interviewed this year was Roger Bart. Bart, who’s not only a versatile television actor, having appeared in “Revenge” and ‘Desperate Housewives,” he’s also appeared in several films and on Broadway. For my article, I was interviewing him about guesting on “Law & Order: SVU” that week. Bart called me directly, which is a departure from using a publicist and having him/her monitor the call. We had a great conversation as he was extremely friendly and personable and I enjoyed every minute of our chat. To read about his time on “SVU,” please click here.
Earlier this year a show entitled “Married to the Army: Alaska” premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The show features the spouses of recently deployed military personnel. I was fortunate enough to interview Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch and Yolanda Goins about their roles in the show. Creator and Executive Producer Drachkovitch detailed her nearly five year struggle to bring the show to air while Mrs. Goins talked very candidly about her role as a Brigade Commander’s wife and how being on television during her husband’s deployment changed her. To read the full article about Drachkovitch and Mrs. Goins, please visit this page.
For years, I’ve watched the various incarnations of the Canadian teen show “Degrassi.” I am truly a fan of the series. Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with the creator of the series, Linda Schuyler, on the occasion of the show’s 300th episode. Ms. Schuyler discussed anything and everything about the show and didn’t shy away from any questions, including those about controversial storylines on the show. To read about the show’s recent milestone, please click here. And, to tease fans a little, the story what led Schuyler to create the series is fascinating and will be featured in an upcoming article.
He worked on the mega-hit show “ER” for years and was the showrunner on “Law & Order: SVU” for a remarkable 12 seasons. To say that Dr. Neal Baer knows a few things about creating compelling drama is a bit of an understatement. Not only does he have a few pilots in the works, including Stephen King’s “Under the Dome,” he’s also authoring a book series about a forensic psychiatrist. “Kill Switch” debuted this year and “Kill Again” will bow in 2013. I’m grateful to have interviewed him twice this year. During one of those meetings I blurted out that he’s so interesting I could talk to him all day. I’m slightly embarrassed by that, but I certainly wasn’t being untruthful. To read my article about “Kill Switch,” please visit this site. I’ll be writing more about Dr. Baer, including not only his work in television but his amazing efforts in the medical field as well in the New Year, so please look for that.
Wolf Films seems to have another hit on their hands with “Chicago Fire.” The production company behind the mega-successful “Law & Order” franchise has branched out in creating this thriving series. Prior to the premiere, I spoke with Peter Jankowski, executive producer of the show about the incarnation of the new series and his hopes for what will transpire in the future in the Chicago firehouse. To read that piece, please click here. Jankowski was also gracious enough to talk about a difficult time in his career and I’ll be sharing that as well as more about his role within Wolf Films in an upcoming article.
I love to highlight people who are strong in their convictions. Maria Bello, a very talented actress, is also a very talented fundraiser as well. And she’s not the kind who just uses her fame to solicit funds for a charity, she really walks the walk. Working with a women’s rights group she founded called WeAdvance, Bello regularly travels to Haiti to oversee the operation of a health clinic, as well as educational and empowerment programs. To learn more about WeAdvance, please click here.
One of my favorite days this year was the day I visited the set of “Law & Order: SVU.” While there, I met many members of the creative team, including showrunner Warren Leight, producer Michael Smith, writer Stuart Feldman, and director Michael Slovis. I also spent time with another director, Laura Belsey and two of the actors on the show, Danny Pino and Mariska Hargitay. The actors, while not knowing I was a writer as I was visiting ‘incognito’, treated me spectacularly. Now to put this in context, I visit a lot of sets and most are professional, but not all are friendly and fun. “SVU” has moved to the top of my list of sets to visit, and second place is really, really far down that ladder. I’ve written many articles about “SVU” this year and will be writing many more in the next few months, including my interview with Executive Producer Julie Martin, so keep an eye out for those. Here’s one of my favorite articles about the show from this past year.
A big thank you to all of the writers, producers, directors, actors, publicists and everyone who worked with me to make all of these things happen so that I could write about them. I have great appreciation for not only your hard work, but most importantly for the time that you spent with me. Thank you, thank you.
In closing, I’m sure that there are plenty of great things to come in the New Year for all of us, so as we say in TV, stay tuned!
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