I was recently reading on my friend Tory Johnson's blog (www.womanforhire.com). Tory's blog mentioned how she had met Suzie Orman and her "life partner," Kathy Travis ("KT"), at a speaking engagement called the Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women.
Orman is a lesbian TV personality who talks and writes about money related issues. She is a class act to whom I look up. According to the "Woman for Hire" blog, Suze and KT were both excited about Suzie's high ranks in the TVNewser poll, which, to that date, placed Orman as the highest contender to replace Diane Sawyer in January on ABC's Good Morning America.
Here is a little back-story about Tory Johnson. Tory founded a woman's job fair company called "Woman for Hire," after losing her job at NBC, where she had previously worked as a publicist. Tory is also a paid workplace expert on ABC's Good Morning America, and the author of the new book Fired to Hired, which I highly recommend.
If Tory can go from a public relations person at NBC, lose that job and somehow convince a producer from Good Morning America to hire her as "on-air" talent -- not to report on "public relations" but to give career advice, without her even needing to go back to school, you want to know her secret. I say, good for Tory. It's sweet revenge for her with NBC. After all, these are the same producers that hired all these childless "on-air" talents to lure parents to the show. Welcome to the world of television! Or, as I call GMA, "smoke-and-mirrors in Jimmy Choo shoes!"
However, I had to chuckle at the Suze Orman story Tory wrote. There is the sense of clear irony in what Tory wrote about regarding "Good Morning America" and the woman Tory said now feels like her "BFF" -- Suze Orman.
It was my impression that Disney/ABC had decided to focus on attracting moms (women), to score the all-time highest ratings war for television's morning shows. "Moms" are apparently the strongest demographic for morning television.
However, here is the thing. Disney/ABC's Good Morning America is the only morning show on network broadcast that does not have a parent at the helm. Diane Sawyer is not a mom. Robin Roberts is a single woman in her mid-to-late forties who never married, and never talks about having a boyfriend or even dating men, like Hode Kobe does on NBC's Today Show.
I was on a Ferry from the Fire Island Pines, a predominately lesbian and gay community near Long Island, NY, about two years ago. Robin Roberts had spent the weekend there and was on her way back with her doggy. She may have been visiting Sam Champion, who has also been out there.
All of the morning show's programming strategy seemed to be to attract women, mostly moms who would be home in the morning or at least part of it, before getting the kids off to school and then heading off to work ... and well, I found the whole story amusing. Tory would be an ideal host. As a working mom, she even looks like a Sawyer, that is, if Sawyer had had children.
I love to put on my headhunter hat with these TV "on -air" scenarios and add my two cents, even when not asked. I have no gripe with the lesbians, even single straight women, and non-moms ruling the morning talk-show world. After all, Oprah and Tyra are not married, and are not mothers, either -- at least that we have heard of.
First, picture this in your head. "Good Morning America" with your hosts, Robyn Roberts and Suze Orman, Sam Champion with the weather and our news reader Chris Cuomo (who has kids). If ABC does not give the job to Cuomo, (and if not, I would walk if I were Chris Cuomo), then give his job to Anderson Cooper! Better yet, here is an idea: ABC can hire MSNBC's, talk show host, Rachel Maddow. Then, ABC may be able to cross-sell their morning franchise to Viacom's LOGO network. (Just tongue-and-cheek here, before you write, and no pun intended!)
My last advice to ABC is that Barbara Walters should bring in Sarah Palin as a replacement for Elizabeth Hasselbeck! Boy did I hear from thousands of my readers about that. Wow! Therefore, I hope you will let me know what you think of this list of TOP TEN.
OK, here are my top ten more realistic picks (men and woman) to replace Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. I write them as a recruiter, author of the HarperCollins book "Bulletproof Your Job," and as a TV-journalist and writer myself:
1. Ann Curry - ABC should be trying to steal her away.
2. Kathy Lee Gifford - Meredith Viera and her are roughly the same age, she is a mom and cannot stop talking about her kids.
3. Rosie O'Donnell - at least she has kids.
4. Campbell Brown - Former NBC Weekend anchor of the Today show, and now has her own gig on CNN. Moreover, she cannot seem to stop having kids.
5. Dr. Phil - Come on, you know he would be great to wake up to.
6. Heidi Klum -- Perfect complement to Robin and another one who can't stop having children!
7. Willie Geist - MSNBC's Morning Joe contributor.
8. Wendy Williams - ABC/Disney can go out on a limb and consider "How You Do-In'" gal (also my friend).
9. CBS Weekend Morning Show host Chris Wragge - A HUNK that everyone seems to love.
10. And -- for my Number TEN choice -- well of course... Paula Abdul, who I hear is still looking for work!
Tell me what you think!
You're always welcome to write me with your career dilemmas, and I'll answer you on this column.
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Disclaimer: The scenarios and events portrayed in this article are products of the author's imagination.
(c) Stephen Viscusi. All rights reserved. Article can be duplicated in part of full without author's permission.
Stephen Viscusi is the author of two books about jobs and the workplace. Charles Gibson from ABC's World News calls Viscusi, "America's Workplace Guru".
Viscusi is a TV broadcast journalist on jobs, a headhunter and resume spin doctor. His latest book, Bulletproof Your Job: 4 Simple Strategies to Ride Out the Rough Times and Come Out On Top at Work (HarperCollins) has been published around the globe in at least 9 languages including Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese.
Viscusi is also the founder of www.BulletproofYourResume.com.
Viscusi's headhunting and workplace advice is usually considered counter-intuitive to the conventional wisdom. Viscusi is not a career or life coach. To the contrary, his current book, Bulletproof Your Job has been described as the New Millennium's The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, and that's how Viscusi sees the workplace. He's your workplace General.
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