This morning at 7:45 we had a segment about two people who found out they were cousins from DNA tracing. The twist to the story is that one of the two people is a dark-skinned woman, Vy Higginsen, and the other is a light-skinned cowboy, Marion West. Vy had been searching for her ancestry for over twenty years, and had been expecting to trace her lineage to Africa. Imagine her surprise when she got a call from Poplar Bluff, Missouri and heard a gruff male voice say, "Hello Kiddo. This is Marion West, I'm your cousin." The two exchanged pictures and eventually traveled to meet each other and see their newfound extended families. WATCH VIDEO
This segment got a lot of buzz this morning in the control room, partially for the surprising genetic link, but also because both of the guests were, in television lingo, real characters. The producer was explaining that he wasn't sure how the live interview would go, because one of his guests, Marion, had never been on television before.
Luckily the producer's worries were put at ease when the segment began, because Vy was a natural (in fact, our makeup artist Barbara Kelly recognized her from a different television appearance) and Marion was incredibly funny and warm in his gruff cowboy style. Both were incredibly enthusiastic about the entire experience and finding each other, and the control room was laughing and cheering as the segment unfolded. Afterwards I popped into the studio where senior producer Amy Rosenblum - a character of our own - was holding onto Vy's arm and announcing to the room, "I want to be related to you!" Marion was chatting with Meredith and Matt and inviting them out to his ranch in Poplar Bluff, insisting he would show them a good time. Meredith and Matt agreed, and everyone hugged goodbye. The guests were ushered back to the greenroom where Nightly News producers were waiting to chat with them about a possible appearance on the evening news!