Let’s Get This Production Started!

Not so long ago, I was daydreaming of ‘booking’ a poolside Spring Break trip complete with a fully-loaded Kindle. Point of reference, that post mentioned the next eleven (eleven!) books I wanted to read. And because I love to read, and because I never hesitate to purchase yet another book, I promised myself I wouldn’t purchase any more books until I read the ones I already owned. So yeah… I bent that promise a bit. I will read those eleven books, but in the meantime, I let another book jockey its way into first place.

It all started when I read the New York Times magazine article, “Who Can Save the ‘Today’ Show.” The article was adapted from Brian Stelter’s new book, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, and it left me wanting more.

I did what you do when a new book is only one click away… I downloaded Top of the Morning to my Kindle (for iPad app) and began reading.

Likes-to-smile-top-of-the-morning copy

I read the entire book in one day plus two hours the night before. That counts as one day, yes? The book was ah-mazing! It is a behind-the-scenes portrait of how the Today Show lost its lead to Good Morning America. I was left questioning the role that Ann Curry’s departure played in their ratings downfall. I finished the book on Sunday evening and I’m still thinking about how it all went down. Mostly, my brain keeps toying with this hypothetical question: If I was the Executive Producer of the Today Show and no longer wanted Ann Curry in the host chair, how would I handle her departure?

Alas, I am not a Producer on the Today Show. But, in a very Oprah Winfrey Live-Your-Best-Life way, I came to the realization that I am the Producer of my own life. I am fully in charge of, what I like to call, “The Stacey Production.” Which left me rethinking two analogies Brian Stelter raised in Top of the Morning:

**Please note: The next two points could be considered a “Spoiler Alert,” although I am trying not to give away anything that would take away any joy from your reading this book for the first time.**

1. He likened being a host on a morning program to perpetually playing hacky sack. The goal was to keep the conversation moving and always in the air. To never let it land (or say something so awkward that the conversation was over).

2. He discussed advice that Lara Spencer received about hosting amongst Robin Roberts. She was told to: Be Lamar Odom. At the time, Odom was the first person off the bench, meaning that a Laker’s win fully depended upon whether he played well or played poorly. In other words, it didn’t matter if you started the game or were first off the bench, so long as you made a few slam dunks while you were on the court.

This Executive Producer of “The Stacey Production,” found a lot of wisdom in those two ideas. I spend a lot of time trying to keep my “hacky sack” in the air. Like so many others that I know, my life is a fully programmed schedule. And while I pride myself on having high standards of conduct, I think I sometimes fail to give myself credit for how much is accomplished by merely keeping the hacky sack in the air. And I have certainly given myself a hard time for not being the first off the bench.

It is time to restructure my thoughts and reinvigorate “The Stacey Production.” I will celebrate the joys that come with being able to have so many different conversations, events and programs — all that hacky sack stuff. I will give myself credit for not dropping said hacky sack, too. I will give myself, this ‘host,’ the ability to learn how to host better by continuing to try to keep the hacky sack in the air. And I will remember that how you behave when you are in the game has a far greater likelihood of contributing to a win than how quickly one got off the bench. Scoring points is scoring points and that’s what leads to victory.

I’m writing this blog late Tuesday night, for publication on Wednesday, May 1. It is serendipitous that this will publish as a new month begins. Seems like a good time for a fresh, reinvigorated attitude. But more than that, it’s also the start of my birthday month, as my birthday is May 29. I always think of my birthday as a new beginning and have created some annual traditions I’ll be sharing as the birthday approaches. New year, new ‘programming,’ new goals. Which leaves me with (almost) one month to come up with an answer to: How will I “Produce” my best life? Or at least, the best next year of my life.

And you? Lots of questions for you today: how would you have handled Ann Curry? how do you produce your best life? do you give yourself fair credit for your achievements and the way you play when you are in the game? And…seeing as how I broke my “rule” and bought another book… what should I buy next?

Until next time!


Postscript Note 1: This book was 1 of the 100 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas I posted. I loved it and will loan it to my Mom, so it was not what I purchased her. 99 choices still remain!

Postscript Note 2: At the end of Top of the Morning, Brian Stelter promises that if you tweet him a question, he will tweet you back. It’s true.


  1. Great post! I agree that we should give ourselves credit for keeping the hacky sack in the air, although having to make that kind of conversation day after day is definitely not something I’d want as my job! Ok, weird book recommendation time: to follow up on the TV theme, you might enjoy Portia de Rossi’s autobiography . It’s called “Unbearable Lightness.” I don’t really follow celebrity stuff, but another blogger recommended this one, and it turned out to be a great bio!

    • Hi Cari!

      Thanks so much! I think making that kind of conversation day after day (as in ‘being a morning television host’) is a combination of talent and practiced skill. I think the more frequently you do it (well), the easier it becomes. Although, I could see how some would argue that’s not true.

      Thanks so much for the book recommendation. I love the memoir/autobiography category so I will definitely check it out. This definitely falls into the “fun and light read” category, but I thought that Rob Lowe’s memoir, “Stories I only Tell My Friends,” was phenomenal. It was super fun and he had this great style of being “a producer this” and “a producer that” and then at the end of the chapter being like “oh yeah, and that producer is Dick Wolf (Law & Order).” It made it fun because you started trying to guess who he was telling you a story about.

      Hope you’re having a great week!


  2. Lots of good questions to ponder. I just heard the Dean of a university speak and he talked about going from good to great. Those people who are great at their job, sport, etc. practice it every day. You have to put the work and dedication into whatever it is you do and do it every day. If it’s not your passion then you probably won’t do it. Don’t know if that makes sense. On another note, I loved Rob Lowe’s book. One of my favorite memoirs is “The Glass Castle ” by Jeannette Walls. It’s a quick read too.

    • Stacey says:

      Hi Dawn!

      Was it Jim Collins? He authored a book called, “Good to Great,” yes? I love the idea. I do think that practice takes someone from good to great. I’m not sure to what extent talent plays into “great,” but I am certainly very curious. I’m also fascinated by how companies handle PR, my brain loves to turn over “how would I do it differently?” or “how can it be improved?”

      Thanks for the book recommendation. I’m adding “The Glass Castle” to the list! Hope you’re having a great week.


  3. I totally do it too – I buy too many great books and then I promise myself I won’t get any more… for a while :) It’s great to know I’m not on my own in that :)
    xox, Wioleta

    • Stacey says:

      Hi Wioleta,

      So glad to hear I’m not alone in that, either. What are your favorite reads as of late?


  4. Right now I’m reading ‘At home’ by Bill Bryson and I absolutely love it. I highly reccomend it!

    • Stacey says:

      Ooooo! I just read the description on Amazon. Added to my wishlist. Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. That book sounds really interesting! I’ll have to download it! I love how you related it to your life — I never thought of myself as the producer of my life, but it’s true. I need to start looking at it that way!

    • Stacey says:


      Let me know if you read the book…I would love to chat about it with someone! It was EXCELLENT! A really fun and interesting read. I’m so glad you liked thinking of yourself as “the Producer of your life,” I was hoping it was more “awesome” than “Oprah,” but I really do love me some Oprah!