When Barry Poznick worked as an assistant on Sally Jessy Raphael's show 20 years ago, he was told he had what it takes to be on TV. But he felt more comfortable behind the scenes until he met Oprah, who gave him his own show, "Are You Normal, America?"
"I was Amy Rosenblum's production assistant at the Sally show," Poznick tells me. "She knew how to make TV like nobody's business. I learned so much from her, and she kept saying, 'You should be on TV,' and I was like, 'No, I like being behind the scenes.'
"Cut to 20-something years later. There's this woman named Oprah and we did the run-through of this game show, and whenever we sell a game show, we push the conference room table out of the way and we act it out. So we did that for Oprah. Oprah was like, 'I love this show. Let's put it on the air ... [but] one note.' So it was only one note. That's great -- you usually get a million notes. 'One note -- you are the host.'"
After he downed a few drinks at the Chicago airport waiting for his flight home, it finally started to sink in. Poznick says he called his wife to tell her the exciting news. At first, she told him he was drunk and needed to come home.
"When we were taping the show, I was nervous having Oprah in my ear [on a device used by most TV hosts to receive information from the control room]. She started to speak, and I was terrified until she said, 'Barry, your ass looks great in those jeans.'"
"Are You Normal, America?" explores questions such as whether it's common to pee in the shower, talk on the phone while on the toilet or let adult children sleep with a partner under their parents' roof. Here are some of the show's findings based on what Oprah.com describes as "a highly scientific and deeply revealing poll":
74 percent of Americans pee in the shower.
71 percent of Americans talk on the phone while sitting on the toilet.
36 percent of American parents let their adult children sleep with a boyfriend or girlfriend at the parents' home.
"Are You Normal, America?" appears on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. Visit Oprah.com for more information about the show, hosted by Barry Poznick and Kim Coles.
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