A Publicist’s Take on The Morning Show

By Amy Kossoff Smith, President Write Ideas, Inc. and Power Hour Editing, and Editor/Founder of PRCG Powerlines

Some 9-5’ers would rather watch anything on TV but something about their career. Whether I’m an entrepreneur who doesn’t know what 9-5 means or a news junkie, I’m hooked on Apple TV’s latest headline, The Morning Show.

My journalist wiring pushes me to ask a lot of questions in a variety of settings. I’ve asked doctors if they think one of my faves, Grey’s Anatomy, is accurate in its representation of medicine. If I knew anyone who sold paper, I’d definitely ask if The Office’s Dunder Mifflin had any basis in reality. Ok, I digress.

The last time I devoured a TV show that lived in the actual PR world was ABC’s Scandal. I was thankful I had more fun and less crisis in my PR campaigns over the years. But I’d often “Olivia Pope” a situation – hey, it’s handled – and smirk like a true Gladiator – at work and at home. It was exhilarating! I even had the thrill of meeting the cast and creator of Scandal in D.C., and THAT was incredible. Shonda Rhimes was incredibly shy (surprising), and Tony Goldwyn was an unbelievable speaker, passionate about politics (not surprising).

So I’m asking myself as a journalist and publicist who has spent my fair share of time around broadcast journalism, how do I assess The Morning Show? Where do reality and fiction intersect? I think they most certainly do on this program, and I think we’re going to be talking about it for a long time.

Between exploring the Me Too movement from every angle, watching Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrel in some really serious and sometimes inflammatory roles (peppered with their signature slapstick humor to take the edge off the drama), and exploring the behind-the-scenes of broadcast news, I am hooked.

Show’s trailer in case you haven’t seen it:

There are so many (almost too many) platforms for TV shows now, and the choices are dizzying. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Producers (and Co-stars) Aniston and Reese Witherspoon were asked, “Why Apple?” I’m thinking, yea, Why Apple? They could’ve saved me another remote, monthly fee, and tech addition to our busting-at-the-seams lineup here. Aniston basically said that Apple does so much right, that they allowed the producers the creative freedom to do what they want, and that it’s working. In that same interview, the reporter wondered if “Apple product placement” was in play since Aniston in particular spends a lot of time on her phone. Great question, and … quick and “shut this question down” response, though, from Aniston – everyone is on their phone a lot…Aniston Olivia Pope’d that one fast…Handled!

Having worked in PR, media and storytelling myself for 25 years in the media world, I think it’s phenomenal to show the public the intricacies of bringing the news to the public. The pros make it look so simple, but it’s indeed a complex, time-consuming, 24/7 process that just isn’t easy. I’ve done my share of media training, and teaching clients to face interviews with poise, preparedness, and tone, is fun and rewarding. It makes sense to me, and I love to help make sense of it for clients. Talking points and prep are key; soundbites are critical; and a deep breath right before never hurts. There’s more to it, of course, but those are some of my headlines on that topic.

As PR professionals, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of the producers if we’re going to successfully pitch a story. What are they looking for? Is our topic relevant, timely, unique? I love watching the producers on The Morning News, and it reinforces the fact that these are people, just like us, looking to do the best job possible.

I remember a few years ago coaching a really timid client, and I literally had my hand on the small of his back, pushing him forward so he would engage with the reporter. People are nervous when being interviewed, especially if they don’t do it often.

I gained a lot of compassion for clients who face the media and learned a lot more than I ever expected about media training when I was in front of the camera myself, with local news for my parenting blog, reviewing my notes in front of a mirror over and over again, convinced I’d never get it right. And my lucky charm, being on The Today Show for Knowing Pains, was a huge opportunity, and sure, I was excited, but…I didn’t sleep a wink the night before and was truly petrified. Scared the alarm wouldn’t go off, scared I’d talk too fast like I often do, scared I’d smile too much when I’m really happy or pumped up, and my teeth get dry from all that air and stick to my upper lip (trust me, it’s awkward). Bottom line, scared I’d mess up a big opportunity and didn’t know how to media train…well, me.

So I love, love, love The Morning Show. I think it’s so important that we put ourselves in other people’s shoes in a variety of situations. I did it myself with the media, and I learned a ton in the process. I applaud this show for bringing light to some really important and uncomfortable issues, for introducing America to the behind-the-scenes world of broadcast journalism that we often take for granted, and for entertaining me for an hour a week. And apparently, I’m not the only one. Looks like the Award Shows are already sending nods their way. Signing off in 3, 2, 1…

For more text of this article, with some additional surprises including an Office-Morning Show connection, check it out at my website.

Amy Kossoff Smith, has been living her company’s original and current tagline, So what’s YOUR story, in many channels. Founder/President of Write Ideas, Inc., she has 25+ years’ experience in retail PR & promotions and content development.  She also launched an editing division, leveraging her storytelling and journalism/editing skills at Power Hour Editing and publishes an online parenting magazine, The MomTini Lounge.  Featured on The Today Show, on ABC National News, in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and all local TV networks, she also published a national wire column. She’s also Founder/Editor of PRCG Powerlines. And TV watching? Time-permitting 🙂