Jewish World Review Sept. 15, 2004 / 29 Elul, 5764
I'm a TV talk show failure
I hate to brag, but I have probably not been on more television talk shows than the average bear.
Some years ago, a producer for the Rosie O'Donnell show read one of my columns about family vacations that coincided with natural disasters.
Other people had snapshots of their kids in front of Mickey and Minnie at Disney; we had vacation pics of our kids in front of flood damage, forest fires and a utility pole with a 2x4 driven through the center of it, courtesy of a tornado.
The producer thought the column was funny and asked if I would come on the show. She called back later to say they had decided to fill the slot with a potty chair that played music when someone filled it. I was beat out by a two-year-old with a bladder that could trigger three rounds of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
When my first book was published, a publicist (someone you never meet, never see, but still believe in, much like electricity, gravity and Vice President Cheney) sent copies to all the talk shows. Producers at "The View" thought the book was funny and did a pre-interview by phone. They told the publicist I was nice, but not controversial enough.
Had I known that, I would have made disparaging comments about Barbara Walters and Meredith Vieira. Once you get a reputation as nice, you're pretty well sunk.
Shortly after that, a producer from the Roseanne show called. They were looking for women to share personal horror stories about giving birth. I told her nothing with a lot of screaming and hemorrhaging came to mind, but I'd think on it. She then said, "I see on your bio that all three of your children are teenagers. That must be your worst nightmare come true."
I said: "Opening my front door and seeing Charles Manson on the other side would be my worst nightmare. My children are not a nightmare."
She hung up and never called back.
My publicist didn't send a book to Regis and Kathie Lee, so I did it myself. Kathie Lee has always been a polarizing figure. Future historians will look back one day and see the three great divides in America were The Civil War, the 1960s and Kathie Lee Gifford.
One morning I came home to a voice-mail from Kathie Lee's assistant telling me to turn on my television; Kathie Lee was reading an excerpt from my book. It was great. I didn't even have to leave home and looked 10 pounds thinner in my picture on the book jacket.
This week I received an e-mail from a producer for the "Larry Elder Show," a talk show debuting this fall. She read a column about my girls fighting over a pair of pants and laughed "hysterically." She said Larry wants to do a show on sibling rivalry and help siblings and their parents resolve their issues. She asked if the girls and I would be on the show.
I laughed "hysterically."
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on whether you are a producer, the girls are very close and do not have issues that need to be resolved on national television. That said, the youngest promptly went on record saying she would be willing to fake conflict in order to open the door to stardom.
I told her to forget it. I'm batting a 1000 failure rate for television talk shows and I'm not about to blow it now.
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© 2004, Lori Borgman
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.