Do You Get Nervous? And Other FAQ's About My TODAY Show Segments.
First off, No.
But that is not to say there aren’t nerves that come in to play as I prepare to share my favorite discoveries on tv in front of roughly 4.2 million people. I am often asked to share behind-the-scenes scoop on what goes in to a four-minute live segment, so I figure this is as good a place as any to answer the questions that come up over and over again.
1- Do you have to wake up at the crack of dawn? Not really. If I have a segment that is live in the 8am hour, I like to arrive at the studio a bit before 7 so there is ample time to get through hair and makeup (yes, they do hair and makeup for me, which is MAJOR- I show up literally looking like that scary MOMO lady…), grab a coffee, chat with my producer about any last minute changes, get into my “grown up” tv clothes (my go-to commuting outfit usually consists of THESE jeans and a sweatshirt from HERE.) So, I get picked up at 5:50 (they send a car, which is also pretty key!), and usually pull up to the studio by 6:50am.
2- Does TODAY come to you with an idea they want you to do, or do you present ideas to them? It works both ways- for last minute timely angles like Post-Holiday Sales or Black Friday Deals, someone from the Booking department will call me to see if I am interested. Or for segments that they dream up tying in to hot trend topics or topics currently on the minds of the hosts, often a producer will think of me and reach out to gauge availability. But 90% of the time, since I started doing this 15 years ago, I am dreaming up dozens and dozens of ideas, and throwing the proverbial spaghetti against the wall until one idea sticks.
It is funny though- on this topic- I spent SO MANY HOURS over the past 15 years developing concepts for regular segments that I could do monthly around a common theme- I would write up these detailed briefs, come up with clever names, etc. Then, I kinda gave up on it and accepted that my best bet would always be pitch, pitch, pitch and hope for the best, one segment at a time. Then I had this idea for a segment sharing the best versions of things we use everyday (inspired by THESE SOCKS, actually), and in the pitch, off the top of my head as I typed, I titled it something like “Better Basics”. Sure enough, it stuck. And has become a VERY popular segment on Today.com (this one got like a record number of click throughs- WOO HOO!) Now, I share #BetterBasics every month, and it just sort of happened organically. Go figure.
3-How do you find the products you feature in your #BetterBasics segments? Oh my, it is a wild goose chase. Once I have a confirmed theme (today it was Sleep Solutions, next month it will be all about travel innovations), I search obsessively- on Amazon, via articles found on Google, and actually Instagram hashtag searching has recently become my best ally. I also reach out to a handful of publicists that I know and trust, and there is a members-only Facebook group for media and publicists that allows me to connect with independent pr people who often represent the coolest niche brands that I would never have found otherwise. (On the topic of nerves- this is the only time in the process that I feel nervous- what if I miss something/don’t find truly amazing things/find something that looks great but when I actually try it, it stinks and I have to go back to square one, etc.)
4- Do you get paid for going on the show? Nope. I am not under contract as a paid contributor, I don’t get paid by the products I feature (that is a HUGE legal no-no, something that could end a career in seconds), and I am not affiliated with a publication or website that compensates me for television appearances.
5- So why do you do it? Because I can, and it would be insane not to. The exposure opens so many doors for me, the experience is incredible- the people I get to work with, the content I get to create, the opportunity to bring my daughters along for the ride, the list goes on. I worked really hard to get to this point, and I plan to white-knuckle-hold-on for as long as I can, because I truly believe that someday down the road, it all will lead to something that I was meant to do from day one. And hey, if it doesn’t, who cares? I had the best time along the way.
Okay- that’s all for now. But if you do have other questions for me, please DM me on Instagram or leave it in the comments and I will happily answer it directly or in a future post! xx JF