Hello again! Today, for me, is an exciting day. In light of some of the questions and comments I received yesterday, here is some more inside info about how the show is put together, and some other personal background info. (Can you handle the suspense?)
Today is Tuesday, and I'm a little sleepy. My parents have come to visit this morning's show, and last night I took them out to dinner. That meant staying out past 9 pm, which, sadly, is usually my bedtime! So if the puffy eyes are a little more pronounced, well, now you know why! I'm such a rebel.
Almost all of us have some morning rituals that keep us awake during the initial early hours. Hoda takes her coffee black, Kathie Lee likes it with skim and Equal. But me, I'm a little hooked on a seductress known as Diet Coke. I swig at least two before 10 in the morning. I can't get enough. No one ever said I was a health nut! Don't even ask me how many I drink in a day. I'm a caffeine junkie.
Now to your questions: Viewer Asma from the United Kingdom watches the show online and she asks about how we organize the segments for the day. Well, Asma, one of the first things we consider when we plot out our segment order is the subject matter, the popularity of a guest or topic, and how much time we'd like to give it. Sometimes the restraints of the commercial structure will give a segment more time if it appears in the back half of the show rather than the first. Since the Joy Fit Club is so popular with viewers, we often like that in the first half, with the hope that it will keep people watching. Same goes with celebrities. Other times we'll put something in the back half because we need the time. (And of course, we continue to hope that people will keep watching!)
You'll notice that a cooking segment is almost always the last segment in the show. It's not that we don't like food! (Quite the contrary! The moment we go to a commercial we dive bomb the table.) It's generally because it's the "lightest" content, and it just feels like a natural way to close the show. Don't most parties usually end in the kitchen?
Asma also asks if I personally call the actors to come on the show. In fact, I couldn't book so many celebs without our senior producer of all things entertainment, Melissa Lonner. She's the equivalent of a rockstar here in the building. She manages to book all four hours of the show. She has met everyone in show business, and she could tell you some amazing stories. In some cases, I will work with a celebrity directly, or over the years, strike up a friendship with one. Joan Rivers is one such person. I once did a story for TODAY in which I helped her find some dates. WATCH THE VIDEO
After seeing so many famous people come on the show, you do actually become less starstruck, but today, I must admit, is an exception. I don't think I've been so excited about seeing a star like I am about Kermit and Miss Piggy. Besides being such an immense part of my childhood, they really represent an idyllic genre of television that seems so rare today. Truth is, I'm dying over meeting them. I will take pictures, I will get video, I don't care. I have no shame. Try and stop me. I want a picture of me smooching with Miss Piggy. I just do. WATCH THE SEGMENT
Another question I received was regarding how far in advance we book our segments ... the answer -- it depends! Sometimes, we will book something weeks in advance. (Celebrities plan their schedules early.) But in other cases, like TODAY -- not until the day before! One of our segments fell through yesterday, and we were forced to find a new one. I wonder if you'll be able to tell which ones had advance planning, and which one was put together at the last minute! I sincerely hope you can't tell.
"K" from Philly wants to know if I'm still single! Well, well, well, all I can say is I am incredibly flattered you asked, and am fairly certain that this must be a friend teasing me ... Yes?
Thanks to everyone who took the time to wish me luck. I'll answer more questions tomorrow. Keep writing!