My internship was with the New Maury Show located at Studios USA, 15 Penn Plaza Grand Ballroom, New York the Maury Show used to be on channel four but then it was bought over by Studios USA and moved channel eleven. The show was moved from uptown to mid-town. The Maury Show is on the second level of the Pennsylvania hotel right across the hallway from the Sally Jessie Raphael show. I chose to do my internship at the Maury Show because I thought it would be interesting and beneficial to my future career choices.
On non-production days, which are Monday's and Friday's, I open viewer mail. That mail is sent to the show from almost everywhere in the U. S, it is read, and then coordinated according to topic/subject. The mail can be sorted and filed into categories such as; wishes and dreams, reunion, make-over, weight loss, paternity tests, out of control teens to name a few.
On non-production days when I am not opening mail I'm sitting in the "cartroom", where phones are being answered for the question of the day. The question of the day is the question you see when the show is on a commercial break. For example, "Does your teen dress like a tramp, does she need a make-over? Then, call The Maury Show at 1-800-45MAURY. When the calls come in there are a set of questions that must be asked such as: how old is the teenager, can you give examples of clothes that are worn, do older men hit on them, have they ever been expelled from school because of the way they are dressed? The parent or guardian's name and phone number is then taken.
Being involved as an intern at the New Maury Show has been a learning experience that has taught me many things. I came to know things that are not apparent to viewers when the show airs. One of the things that was surprising was to see how the staff members will do anything to get ratings for the show, even if it means ruining the lives of a family/individual for their own success.
The producers put guests through a screening and interview process before they appear on the show, they tell the guests what to say, how to react, and deal with the audience. The screening process of a guest is pretty simple, the interns take the name and number of the person, later, and at the end of the day the producers call every person on the list back. At this point they interview them using a specific set of questions and guests are requested to send (fax) pictures of themselves. After the interview they select those person's of who fit the criteria for the show.
The shows are produced twice a day, one at nine and then at eleven, three days a week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday's. The production of a show can be exciting yet highly stressful. The producers are stressed all the time, one because they have to make sure that the guests they book show up and secondly the show must be produced in a timely fashion because Maury has other agendas within the day.
Aside from reading mail and answering phones, there are some fun things I did get to do. On production days I did such things as: holding cue cards, bringing guests to hair and make-up, directing guests on and off stage, if it was a reunion show I'd have to make sure both guests didn't see one another before hand and run on various errands.
At the end of the production day all of the used wardrobe had to be picked up and sent to the laundry. The wardrobe room needed to be cleaned; all the clothes were put back on the hangers and the shoes in the right spots. The tables, chairs, and phones had to be put back in the order that they appeared in the room, before the guests got to them.
I remember one day in particular the most, I had to stand outside and solicit people to come see the show. The audience department had about ten people cancel so; I was standing out there begging to pay anyone five to ten dollars to come see the show. It was so early in the morning there were only commuters outside, I couldn't get anyone it was embarrassing.
My favorite show to work on was the two-part reunion show. It was about people getting to meet family members that they have never met before. Because it was a two part series I had the chance to take time and get to know the guests. I felt so empathetic towards the families in their awkward situation. The suspense was overwhelming and the show left me with a warm hearted feeling. In my opinion this show really stood out from all of the others due to that fact.
The worst show I worked on was "My teen daughter is out of control." They made me realize what a good job my parents did in raising me. I would be embarrassed if I couldn't control my child. I made sure that the girls were brought to hair and makeup. I showed these five girls to the one of the green rooms, where they had to sit and wait before going on the show. I had to make sure that the mother's were kept in a separate room from their daughter's. I brought the girls food and made sure they didn't leave. These girls were low life, trashy, and had no manners at all, I was disgusted.
From being behind the scene, it is not as glamorous as people think. There is a lot of pressure, demands, screaming, and negative aspects that no one seems to realize in producing a show. These people work between sixty and eighty hours six to seven days a week. The lives that they lead are revolved around their work.
Although stressful most of the time, I liked working in a fast paced environment. However, I personally would not want this kind of profession, I would need more security in a job. Advancement is not fast paced either. Producers also have to sign a one to two year contract and by the time your contract is up if the ratings aren't up then they will get rid of you. When I started I was told that the whole staff was new, which isn't a good sign. I've gotten the chance to be behind the scenes of a talk show and view what takes place. There is a lot of preparing in order to make a show work and you don't want anything to go wrong.