More "behind the scenes"....
At 9:31pm eastern last night an e-mail was sent to me by my New York producer telling me that my DC producer told her that our guest - Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich -- was not going to be on the show as had been planned for more than 24 hours.
I learned of this major problem after 9:45pm (I leave my office before 9pm to go to makeup and hence I did not get the e mail.) I learned via my earpiece after I had been on the set for a bit getting ready for the show. Of course our show begins at 10pm eastern.
The reason Congressman Kucinch became a "no show" was that the car we sent to pick up him up developed a problem. Apparently it was so cold (minus 20 degrees) where the Congressman was -- in Maine -- that the car door was frozen and would not shut once the Congressman got into the car. I can understand him not wanting to drive the local bureau hanging onto the door.
Making matters worse for me was the fact that I learned of this problem immediately AFTER I did the live tease in "Hannity & Colmes" promising the viewers that Congressman Kucinich would be our guest. Frankly, had I been told earlier, I would not have made this promise. But now, within 15 minutes of showtime, we had a big problem.
My New York producer suggested doing Congressman Kucinich as a "phoner." While tv is not about phones but cameras, I agreed. We really had no other choice. Then another problem arose: how much time can you do a phoner? TV is a visual medium - it is not radio - so we needed to cut the interview so as to maintain a good and brisk segment. To solve that problem, my NY producer suggested re-stacking the show and placing FNC's Carl Cameron in the segment with Congressman Kucinich. Carl was live in Iowa and is always very engaging.
This was a great idea except it now created problem #3 and, by this time, we were minutes from 10pm. Problem #3 was that Carl was going to be his own segment so now that we had joined two segments into one, what were we going to do in that now "no guest" segment that was originally Carl's alone?
Again my NY producer came to the rescue and suggested doing a 3rd segment on the Scott Peterson murder trial. We had many guests so it was easy to give them more time (an additional segment) and there was much to talk about since Peterson had been in court earlier in the day. I just had to quickly re-think what topics and what direction to take the discussion now that I had more time. I also had to re-think how I was going to tease going in and out of segments. I could not very well say, "coming up next, Congressman Dennis Kucinich" and then have the camera return to my legal panel with Bernie, Ted etc.
If we taped our show rather than do it live, we would not have these problems (or at least they would be less of a crisis.) But live tv is so much more fun (I think people in live tv like to live on the edge) and we can thus guarantee to you that we will bring you news as it happens. We are always ready if there is breaking news if we are live.
Tonight I have my fingers crossed that all will go as planned.
Do you have something you'd like to say to Greta? Please write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Watch On the Record with Greta Van Susteren weeknights at 10 p.m. ET