I have a habit of keeping both my expectations and enthusiasm at a minimum. When I was approached by the Meredith Vieira Show to be part of a segment, I was as excited as my cautious emotions would allow me to be. When they said they were sending a crew to my home to film my family and I (more about that another time) I thought, “that’s pretty cool.” When they said I would be in studio and meet Meredith Vieira, who I have always admired as a positive and humble role model for modern women, I thought, “It doesn’t get better than that.” Little did I know…
For so long, since childhood I’d say, I’ve been infatuated with the mysteries behind the glass box. How does a show get put together? Who decides who gets to be on it? How do those lucky people get on it? I’ve always wanted to be on the other side. I assumed that a regular person featured on a talk show was super lucky to be there, but treated like a regular person. I can’t speak for other talk shows, but at Meredith I wasn’t treated like a regular person at all. Long story short, they gave me the star treatment. The last time I was treated this well I had to first produce two newborns from my dissected abdomen.
My first tip off that this was going to be a VIP day was my arranged transportation. I had been planning to brave a drive into Midtown Manhattan, home of the NBC studios, with my mother. Neither one of us like driving there, especially during mid-day. It’s a veritable zoo! I never imagined that I’d be given a lift. Then the producer called me two days before, “Has my team set up your travel arrangements yet?” I was relieved, yet still it hadn’t dawned on me what was happening. After all, this was MY dream. They were giving me this opportunity to live it, I shouldn’t expect anything else…right?
An SUV picked my mother and I up at 11am. Water, candies, and M&Ms were set up if we needed a snack. Like anyone wants to eat chocolate and candy before a TV appearance. It was a pleasant ride in, much better than having to drive myself. I now understand why the wealthy have drivers.
The NBC studios at 30 Rock have better security than the White House. It was so tight that we had to provide IDs, then wait for somebody to come down to escort us up. My guest pass had to be scanned several times just to let me through the turnstile. If NBC had been guarding our Commander In Chief, I’m pretty sure those recent security breaches never would have happened.
We rode up in a quiet elevator making small talk with the nice young man who came to get us. Then the doors opened and BOOM, chaos. But happy chaos. It was like the doors opened to Munchkin Land. The place is that alive and buzzing with positivity. There are peopl e crowding the hallway (which is shared with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) taking pictures and shuffling talent in and out of green rooms. There was a cart full of pumpkins that had been used the previous day for a pumpkin carving segment. The staff showed me to my green room and offered us coffee, tea, sandwiches, a cashmere blanket…which I wrapped myself in as they steamed my blouse that had gotten wrinkled on the ride over. When I say it was my green room, it really was that day, my name was on the door.
The green room was really tiny with a cozy chair, a mounted television that showed what was happening in the studio, and a counter with a sink. Pictures of Meredith’s family hung on the walls. Producers came in and out to talk to me and make sure I was comfortable. They calmed my nerves and made me feel extremely welcome. Meredith sent a handwritten thank you note in to me for being a “good sport”.
I was part of a healthy eating segment with Dolvett Quince from The Biggest Loser. Since I was eating on set I had a walk through. I was really worried about eating in a live to tape studio situation. Having that walk through was great as I knew where to stand and had a general idea of what I would say. After my walk through I went to hair and makeup which is where I first met Dolvett. We were laughing and joking in the makeup chairs and he massaged some lotion into my hands…swoon.
When it was finally time to go on Dolvett and I stood back stage. Then Meredith came to get us, offering me a warm welcome and generous hug. It was like meeting an old friend. The studio was extremely bright. A crew was working with the audience, playing games with them to keep them occupied between takes. Other people rushed back and forth with headsets making sure everything was ready for the segment. There was a countdown and we were rolling.
Everything went quite close to how it was planned in my walk through. I was extremely careful using the silverware and took dainty bites when I was required to taste Dolvett’s recipes. Once the segment was over we posed for pictures and then I was sent back to my green room where I was presented with a photo of Meredith, Dolvett, and me in a frame with the show’s logo. Then we were escorted to the Mercedes waiting to take us home.
It was an incredible day that drove home one thing I’ve always known, that my place is working in television, that it’s still my dream. Being behind that stage, the energy, the collaboration of all these people to produce something, it was magical. It was why I started TBB in the first place. The Meredith Show’s team kept asking me if I was excited…that reserved thing I mentioned in the beginning threw them off I guess…in case you all didn’t know it was one of the most exciting days of my life. I’ll never forget it.