When my adorable daughter wants to shake it up, either on the dance floor or in her life, she says, "Mom, I wanna bust a move." She gives the same advice to me, and like her, she knows I have busted many moves, including the move to New York City post-divorce. I've taken lots of intuitive risks into an amazing new life.
One of them was writing a television pilot script and getting it to a major cable channel. That landed me as a guest panelist at NATPE (National Association of Television Programming Executives) in Vegas a few years back.
In a luncheon with the TV development execs, as they complained about losing viewership, I questioned the lack of intelligent programming for women over forty, especially given the vast amounts of money these women handle (advertisers like that). Since the guys in TV focus on peeps 18-34, my inquiry created quite a stir, so much so that some of them tracked me down the next day to hear more.
Katie Couric has addressed similar issues herself, most recently in the topical film Misrepresentation.
So I was delighted to be a guest in the first audience for her new talk show. Katie's changing it up again. She's a risk-taker, a woman after my own heart. She's stepping into her own spotlight and she was terrific... witty, intelligent, down-to-earth.
She's been doing it for a long time, this change thing, and inadvertently modeling it for all of us, first with her smarts and humor and playfulness on the Today show, then taking the evening anchor slot and the heat that went with it, essentially for not being a man. Somehow I didn't think that was an obstacle.
Evidently, it wasn't when she helped change the course of a presidential election by that savvy interview she did with a particular candidate. Hmmm.
As I watched her yesterday, I realized her immense potential to ignite women to step out bigger, and to create change. The world is screaming for it, and she may be the one to do it. She has a chance to shake it up!
Oprah helped bring us here, but Katie has an opportunity to push the envelope even further.
Just as she has created new rules in media, she has done it in her personal life. She has demonstrated not only what it is to be a professional, but also a mom, and a single woman dating hot, younger guys. YES! First, she's a female TV anchor and then she dates younger men. What's up with that? Do I detect a bit of a rebel?
I hope so. I hope that Katie gets to show all sides of herself in this show, as the confident, full out, sassy, sexy woman she is. And yes, I said sexy.
Sexy is helpful in television and she has it spades. It peeked out during the Today show, then they dissed it in her anchor woman role (but what about sexy Brian Williams?) However, it's an important part of who she is and who we all want to be... smart, funny, professional, down-to-earth, and let's be honest... sexy... not bikini bimbo sexy, but that very essence she already carries. She's playful and a natural flirt in the best possible way. I've seen it on tv and I saw it with the audience. So, don't keep it in lockdown, Katie, and do it your way.
And break the mold about audience demographic. You reach a much broader age range than is usually considered by the big boys in the exec suites. Let's see those sharp journalistic segments one day, then sing cabaret draped in a pink feather boa the next day, as I recall from a Today show segment.
Have Madeline Albright and Christiane Amanpour featured, then a segment on young women making change in the world. Leave the victim stories for reality tv, leave the meds to Dr. Oz and bring out the empowerment, and let us see the joy in that.
Tap into the young women's concerns, then dazzle the baby boomers. They're a big, untapped audience and many of them are living out loud and proud and out of the box. Do a sassy segment on dating younger men, then a rowdy, inspiring show about pleasure and it's health benefits, with Mama Gena and Dr. Christiane Northrup. That'll bring the younger and older crowd together. Trust me on that one. And, of course, there's always Colin Firth.
Be fearless. You know how to do it. Having been featured in two books this year on fearless women, I appreciate women who have led the charge. Katie's been a huge role model for that, so Katie, I say, break the rules, bust a move, let her rip, and may the Force be with you!!! Go get 'em girl.
Follow Karen Fitzgerald on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KarenFitzTV