Years ago I was hired by a television production department to work with a live audience participation talk show that a broadcast corporation was programming at each of their three-state area stations. They had a couple of then unknowns at their other stations, Phil Donahue, later David Lettermen.
Years later after I left, our station briefly had as the show’s host Nick Clooney (father of George, a young boy at the time who a friend reported to me had strongly told her he was going to be a star). His father, Nick's talents included his having been a big band vocalist, who also sang on the corporation’s mother TV station’s popular long-standing Ruth Lyons daytime talk/entertainment show.
Our TV station’s original show’s host (now long deceased) with whom I worked was abruptly deposed after a few years while I was still there in what I have referred to as “the original here today and gone tomorrow business” as I watched turnover among what is called talent (on air personalities) in the television world.
I was delighted to take this position in the fifties at what seemed to be the beginning of a popular programming concept of talk shows no longer limited to late night but proliferating during the daytime as well. Our show’s host said he was sought after by another prominent station in a major city but that he had declined for this production. That station then hired a guy by the name of Mike Douglas whose show was produced by the since infamous Roger Ailes.
Ailes came to be known in recent years for his less than credible approach to accurate news delivery as he developed Fox News for Rupert Murdoch’s agenda as documented in the book (The Loudest Voice In The Room). Ailes finally left his high level administrative Fox position when a number of sexual misconduct accusations surfaced. Interestingly, soon after the 2016 U.S. election of our current President, Murdoch was shown by the news media meeting with our President in Scotland for whatever their purposes which we are left to surmise.
When I was hired at our station, my training begun, little did I know I would become a critical conduit of conversation. My on-the-job training experience for a week with the young woman I was replacing proved to be a most unusual one to which I adapted with a mix of awe, stifled-laughter at times, and with an incredulous reaction to what soon seemed to practically become normal.
Reminds me that the experience could be thought of as a mild form of what we’ve been subjected to the past four years from our White House leader. He persists in doing and saying so many truly bizarre things that they have almost begun to seem normal, but then that’s the desensitization process autocrats use. In neither instance should we ever permanently accept such behavior as normal.
The young woman I was replacing was leaving to wed. Eventually, I learned from others she had earlier dated the host for whom we were working, but I don’t know how that relationship had ended and she was marrying someone else. In any event an issue had arisen he, our “boss”, had chosen to interpret as her being insubordinate by failing to follow his directive and he said as much.
As I understood later from others, she was to go to the restaurant across the road from the station and bring patrons from there to the studio to be the audience for that day’s show. He clearly preferred having the studio filled with a live audience on that icy cold snowy wintry day when the fifty plus people who had reserved all the seating had been unable to travel from another city to our studio in their chartered bus.
In the recounting of this story from others, and as I came to know him, though we never talked about that matter, I think I know what happened. I think he had hastily mentioned where we might get an audience but had not given it serious consideration. She had likely quickly and adamantly stated she had no intention of soliciting an audience in that manner. Though he may not have been entirely serious about having her perform this duty, he apparently chose to exercise his employer/employee prerogative with the whole matter going out of control between the two of them, never to be resolved.
This tale has become a bit long, so I’ll continue it next week and you’ll understand then why I consider my week long on the job training experience to have been unusual, strange and even a bit bizarre.