(From Debbie Kosofsky, TODAY Producer)
My name is Debbie and I am one the producers here at the Today show. I produce lots of production segments ranging from fashion shows to Broadway musicals as well segments from authors to celebrities. Part of our job as producers, is to cover the night writer position for a week twice a year. This means shifting our schedule from dayside to nightside.
As night writer, you come in for the daily rundown meeting at 2pm. Every producer with a segment for the following day meets in the executive producer's office to review the worksheet for tomorrow's show - producer's find out how many minutes they've got for a segment and who the talent will be.
Also in that meeting, the night writer is assigned any late breaking stories. As the day progresses, the night writer works closely with the overnight senior producer - a guy named Steve. You met him yesterday.
On my recent stint as night writer, things were going smoothly, and the show was completely booked until we found out that John McCain was announcing his run for presidency on David Letterman's show that night. When something like that happens, the first hour of the show gets tossed around - stories get moved, cancelled or postponed to make room for the breaking news story. Late that night, Steve and I walked to the edit rooms to review some tape for the next day. At 11:30pm, on our way back to our third floor offices, Steve mentioned that at midnight he was turning 50!
50! And you're here? In the dark, quiet offices of the Today show? No balloons, no fanfare, no cake? No cake. It's close to midnight and all the shops of Rockefeller Plaza have been closed for hours. How are we going to celebrate?
I've got it. That day, one of the senior producers received a press packet including a beautiful white and pink flowery cake! On her way out the door, she placed it on my desk and said, "Enjoy!" It wasn't exactly masculine, but it would certainly do in a pinch!
I grabbed the only other two living souls around - production assistant Ryan and Steve's right hand overnight researcher Eric. We found candles and surprised Steve with a midnight rendition of "Happy Birthday". Steve smiled as he wondered to himself, "Where did this cake appear from?"
It's part of the job requirement as a producer. When faced with the unexpected, figure it out.