By Roger Strauss
Director, “CNN Newsroom with Tony Harris”
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://blogs.cnn.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/50/2009/05/roger.jpg caption="Roger Strauss, Director, CNN Newsroom with Tony Harris."] It’s 10:59AM. There is one minute until the show starts. During the next two hours, we are scheduled to bring you 24 live shots.
Right now, none of them are ready, and three of them run in the first five minutes of the show. There are now thirty seconds until we start. I look down my line of monitors and see this: an empty shot from the White House lawn where there should be a correspondent, color bars where I should see a reporter in Afghanistan, and an empty chair in New York where a guest is supposed to be. Am I about to experience a TV director’s worst nightmare? No, I’ve had much worse.
One of the goals of “CNN Newsroom with Tony Harris” is to bring you as many live reporters, guests and events as possible while Tony is in the anchor chair.
We average around 25 live hits in the two-hour show. Once commercial time is taken into consideration, we have about 88 minutes of air time to fill. If you do the math, that’s a live shot every 3.5 minutes. It’s a lot of stuff to keep track of and in the controlled chaos that we call live television, we usually get it right. When we don’t, it winds up on a blooper reel or on YouTube!
When we get it right, how do you like the show? Leave your comments—we read them all. This is your chance to talk directly to the show’s director. (Directly to a director, get it?) Believe me, you will never get a chance like this at any other network!
So what became of the show where nobody was ready just before we started? Did it become the latest viral video on YouTube? The White House reporter walked into her shot. The color bars from Afghanistan dropped and there was our correspondent. The New York guest sat down in her chair just before we rolled our open. No worries, no problems.
But wait, we’ve got breaking news and we have to go to it. That means a new set of worries and a new set of problems. All in a day’s work in the CNN Newsroom.