Production Blogs

The reality of live guests

Scheduling live guests is more complicated than I thought.

A photo of Alexis Gebhardt lead producing  Annenberg TV News.

Interviewing guests live. My co-producer and I tried implementing this element in our most recent Tuesday show not only to give our anchors practice live interviewing someone but also to make our show more interesting. Did it work out? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

My co-producer, the lead producer for the day, had scheduled a live interview over the weekend prior to Tuesday. However, due to miscommunication issues, that did not pan out like we thought it would. Then I received an email from an organization that I thought would provide an interesting live guest, however, the person responded too late and was unable to come in that day. I’ve learned from this experience that pre-planning and communication for a live segment are essential.

The extra effort and pre-planning that goes into adding a live guest as another element of the show are much more than I realized. Another team of producers was more successful in doing this, and they relayed to me the amount of work they had to do. They had to pre-plan almost a week in advance, they had the art director, who makes all of the full-screen graphics for the show, make a moving graphic as an introduction for the segment. They had to carve out time for the anchors during what is usually a very hectic 10 hours to do the interview. All of these extra steps are on top of the daily producer responsibilities of creating the show rundown.

This doesn’t necessarily deter me from adding a new element into our show, but it is something that my team and I need to consider and for which we need to do the necessary pre-planning.

This story was written as an assignment in JOUR403: Television News Production with Professor Stacy Scholder. Annenberg Media student editors also reviewed the story and published it per newsroom guidelines.