Talk Show Business


The thing about talk shows is that they are not usually live. Keller prefers to film in advance, simply because it saves a lot of hassle where fines, technicalities, and copyrights are concerned. You never know when a celebrity is going to say something that could get you in trouble – so filming in the early morning and afternoon hours for an evening show – Ah! Keller loves it!

It also allows him to do segments that incorporate relevant social media – something every talk show must do in order to stay relevant. All of the big shows are doing it now – live trends and tweets scrolling across the screen. Last year Keller incorporated “Trending Tweets” in which he spends five minutes discussing five trending hash tags on Twitter. The segment has been their most popular one on their YouTube channel without any alterations to the format – so he’s made very few changes to the segment. It’ll be reviewed at the quarterly meeting, though, he’s sure. Everything could use a refresher at some point.

As for today’s episode it appears to be the usual…

“The fifth top trending topic on Twitter right now is Hash tag Monday Motivation. I understand that we all need help staying motivated when the new workweek begins – but it’s a top trending tag every Monday! I mean, can we have a Monday where we are actually motivated by our actions and not our Twitter?” The audience laughs, chiming their agreement in a beautiful sort of melody. The Keller Show has a demographic made up primarily of thirty-somethings who aren’t completely “up” with the times but are at least familiar and capable of using the social media effectively. There are younger viewers, but saying something about getting off the Internet isn’t too far fetched to say on air. It won’t ruin the ratings by any stretch.

“The fourth trending topic is about the President. She’s been – caught? Hash tag Prada President! President Bennett wore Prada to a recent press conference and it’s all the Internet is talking about – but I think I’d rather get a transcript of what was said. Isn’t that what really counts?” Political awareness has been growing for years. No longer are the times when it was more important to have a beautiful face running the country; no longer are the times when the youth don’t care about who is running for office! Acknowledging the value in this country’s politicians has become an asset in his show whereas many other shows still glance over the goings-on in the nation’s government. Keller is one of maybe two talk shows not already dedicated to politics and satire that has a large segment once a week focusing on anything happening. It is called “Week at a Glance.”

Keller thinks on how there’d been so much concern naming the segment that – wondering it there was a copyright infringement issue. It was so silly, and he’d told everyone he was positive it would be fine. And it was! So much drama that wasn’t necessary. Keller likes exciting but not dramatic.

He skims over number three (hash tag Winter Woes – a tag dedicated to complaining about the nasty nuisances that occur during the winter). Number two is not as vacant in nature, although many of the trending topics are on Mondays (hash tag Success In Syria – which discusses how far Syria has come as a country in the last ten years). It proves to be the perfect transition into the top trending tag.

“And our number one trending topic is hash tag M.I.A. This tag is bringing attention to the one-year anniversary of a company founded by Doctor Celeste Gonzalez and her brother, Franklin Gonzalez. The M.I.A. Foundation brings awareness and assistance to those affected by mental illness. They offer their services to thousands of people in North America. It is a fantastic organization that receives high praise from dozens of celebrities – many of whom also donate the organization regularly.” As Keller reads this he catches sight of some bustling beyond the cameras. He breezes through the segment that follows “Trending Tweets.” For a Monday episode, it’s a run down of movie releases and television show finales that people can expect this week. The content starts light and simple at the beginning of the week because it fits the audience interests. The episodes that yield a higher intellectual value typically air on Thursday, which is where “Week At A Glance” is placed.

By the time there’s a break in filming to ‘cue’ in commercials, Keller has forgotten about all the madness behind the cameras. So it is somewhat of a surprise to him when the producer and her three interns bombard him; there’s a ton of babble until Keller raises a hand and points at the producer to speak first.

“There was just an announcement made by director Henley Bridget! He tweeted three weeks ago that he was going to do a documentary on the top ten female icons that propelled the gender equality movement forward over the last decade. He just tweeted the list – and this Doctor Celeste Gonzalez – she’s on it! We need to schedule her for an interview. We need to get her on the show Thursday to talk about what’s happening so that Henley will want clips from the show.” It’s always for business; it’s always about business. How can we make waves? How can we get noticed? What can we do to be bigger, better, and richer? Keller understands the ‘we’ mentality. He understands that this is just how these things work in Hollywood.

So, he shrugs his shoulders, “Get me a contact. I’ll personally request her. But the company pays to fly her out and for her accommodations. Understood?” The producer nods her head – Nancy, he thinks her name is. Nancy has been around for a little less than a year. The last producer fell horribly ill and had to leave unexpectedly. Nancy was chosen based on merit within the crew already. He’d not worked closely with her before and still didn’t work closely with her. She was just carrying the torch of a show already set in its ways – for the time being anyway.

The producer and her interns leave, all of them talking about who has to do what and when. In the meantime, Keller is thinking about this documentary and how gender inequality is still a hot-button issue. It shouldn’t be taking a decade for differences to be made so that women are paid equally and treated respectfully. Even with the surge in women occupying leadership roles – it’s not the number that confirms that the gender inequality movement has been a success. Just because corporate America is now fifty percent men and fifty percent women – the women still get paid marginally less. Less is less – and that’s what this director is trying to accomplish with this documentary. Even bigger attention to make even bigger changes!

Keller can get behind that. His ex-wife was a huge name in the feminist community, always writing articles on the sexist ways of the world. She travelled often, discussing the magnitude at which third world countries struggled with the harshest forms of sexism and gender inequality. It is unlike she will, or did, make the list – being that there are a good many other women who made even bigger differences. Hollywood is all about recognition, and she’ll call half-drunk for not having made the list tomorrow.

And Keller just knows she didn’t, because that would have been an even bigger deal than getting Doctor Celeste Gonzalez on the show this week. As soon as he’s nabbed a donut, the crew is calling him back to the set. Since he is the host, it won’t matter if he meanders because it’s not a show without him. He decides to poke just a moment so he can enjoy the donut – white frosting and yellow sprinkles. There’s something intrinsically charming about this particular donut that makes the stress of changing the entire show line-up for Thursday sound easy.

It’s probably because it’s delicious.


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