Coordinating Editorial Producer
I got the assignment in early January, not realizing how difficult it would be. CNN, and specifically the 360 staff, would be working on a TV special about the TIME 100 list that comes out today. At the time, we had an idea of how we wanted to produce this, so all I was waiting on was the list.
As we got names on the list from the TIME editors and PR team, I started making calls and sending emails to various publicists, assistants, managers, and whatever other contacts I could get my hands on. The idea for our special was to get those who wrote the profiles of the honorees to actually do an on camera interview. It sounds so simple, but we decided to make it that much harder: we wanted the honorees and those who wrote about them to be in the same location for the interviews. That was not going to be easy.
After a few weeks of calling and sending emails, I finally got my first “yes”. CNN founder Ted Turner was thrilled to be included in the special, but he only had a few days available to go on camera. After several calls to T. Boone Pickens’ office, I finally got a “yes” from them as well. Success! Right? Not so fast, my friend. This is TV and it’s just not that easy. After much back and forth, they were not going to be in the same city on the same day with the same time available. We finally came up with a compromise and had Ted at CNN Headquarters in Atlanta, and T. Boone at CNN’s studios in NY. Not the ideal way to do an interview, but it definitely worked.
From that point on, it was on to the other honorees. After making roughly 100 phone calls, I finally got my second “yes” from George Clooney’s publicist. Several days later, Bono’s press person called me and said he’d be interested in interviewing George. They are friends and know each other’s work, so I knew we’d have a great interview. I wasn’t disappointed. The interview was fantastic, and it was clear that they admired one another. They also were really cool with the crew, which always makes these interviews easier.
The next interview on my list was Suzy Welch interviewing Suze Orman. That interview literally came together in less than a day and was surprisingly easy to get together even though both women had limited time available. Fortunately, we had good luck getting the NY Stock Exchange to help us out, and a crack team of producers to put this together in no time.
Finally, the women of The View let me know they were interested. After much back and forth on timing and schedules, we decided to shoot it on Wednesday after their show. Unfortunately, Whoopi Goldberg was sick that day. But because we had spent 6 hours setting up and this was the only day the other ladies would be available, we had to go ahead and get it done. The ladies were great, and seemed to enjoy the conversation with Anderson. There was a lot of laughter and we were all glad that we were able to make that one happen.
The interview ended around 12:40pm on Wednesday, and ever since then, producer Maryanne Fox and Senior Producer Sean Yates have been working with our editors to get the show together. It’s in the final editing process now, and I’m anxious to see the final product tonight at 11pm.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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