Rise and Shine
Between 5:15 a.m. and 6:15 a.m.
Alarm goes off. I grab both my cell phones (work and personal) and slip out of the bedroom into my living room. I check my work emails from overnight, catching up on whatever has developed, but focusing specifically on anything relevant to the story I’m covering that morning. Occasionally, a senior producer at Good Morning America has some notes or changes to that morning’s script, so I’ll pull up that email, grab my portable microphone, plug that into my phone, and stuff myself into my coat closet (enough winter jackets make it basically soundproof) to record the final version of the script. Then I make coffee, shower, get dressed, and get out the door. Bonus points if none of this wakes up my girlfriend, Lexi (an esteemed Greenwich Academy alum, by the way).
6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.
In the car en route to GMA’s Times Square Studios, I write my wraps (the on-camera intro and tag that bookend the scripted, taped piece) on my phone and email them to a group of producers for approval. If I have time, I’ll listen to a bit of a podcast, either The Daily from the New York Times or ABC News’ Start Here.
7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
GMA is live. My car is met by our security/logistics people including Howard, Elvis, and Richie, each of whom I’ve known since I interned at ABC nearly a decade ago. It’s such a great feeling to start my day off joking around with them; they’re so familiar by now, and that’s a great source of comfort. Once I’m upstairs in the studio, I pop my head into the control room to let the producers get eyes on me (anything to reduce their stress!), and I head to the makeup room.
15 minutes before I’m on air
Andrea Fairweather, one of our many talented makeup artists, does my makeup. Truth be told, I hate wearing makeup, but I love Andrea, and I’ve known her since I was a little kid, so my few minutes in her chair are really nourishing—and, more often than not, hilarious. After my GMA story of the day is done, I go sit in the control room—the nerve center of the whole operation—where producers and directors and other crew members do their daily dance through the chaos of live TV. I’ve learned more from just sitting silently in there than just about anywhere else in the industry.
I dial into ABC’s company-wide conference call, led by our president, James Goldston, in which he and the rest of the senior team lays out the day ahead around the world. Then, I walk Lexi to work; one of the many great aspects of my unconventional job is the freedom I have to do little things like that, that make my day just a little bit happier and easier. The five minutes we have together to chat and stroll before she starts her high-intensity job and I return to mine are so important to me.
I’ll try to work out. If I don’t go to the gym, I love my Peloton bike and I also try to run outside as often as possible.
There’s always something happening at ABC headquarters on the Upper West Side. My office is in a dark, windowless corner of a small corridor overlooking the World News Tonight set, which is a descriptive way of saying my office is boring and lonely. So, when I’m in the office, I spend most of my time at the assignment desk, which is where pretty much every relevant decision at ABC News gets made on a daily basis. The assignment editors are so skilled, so smart, and, somehow, so kind and understanding. If I have a story for World News, I’ll be working on a script on my phone or laptop, trading emails or phone calls with the producer running point on my story. Then, when we’ve gotten it to a place everyone’s happy with, I’ll track the script and head outside to the street to do my stand-up, and then head home.
Either I order in or cook, depending on my or Lexi’s schedule/appetite/energy level. Then we’ll watch a game or a show if we don’t have work to catch up on. Then I’ll lock back in on GMA for the next day—talking with producers about the next day’s story, reading in on whatever it is I’ve been assigned, making calls, writing my script, basically doing any and all things necessary to own the story, until we’re all on the same page and I can track my script to send to the overnight team. They work their magic while the rest of us are sleeping.
I try to read a little bit before bed, either a book or a magazine or newspaper article I didn’t get to during the day. Then, almost always later than I’d like, I go to sleep and get ready to do it all again the next day. Unless it’s totally different.