Producing a television show is actually pretty simple when everything goes according to plan. Unfortunately, that just about never happens.
We usually tape on Friday evening after the market closes for the week. But with the holiday, we did the show Thursday night since the U.S. exchanges would be closed until Monday morning. All week our show staff worked a little harder than normal, as we had one less day to prepare. We were way ahead of schedule. In fact, by Thursday morning, all we needed to do was a little copy editing and wait for show time at 7 p.m.
Then, at about 2 p.m., the "powers that be" called (we actually just refer to them as "ptb's" among ourselves). The ptb's had just found out that
wouldn't be appearing on the show because of a conflict. The entire second block of the show was scheduled to be the very popular Ask Cramer call-in segment. I made the quick determination that the segment might not have the same punch without him. (It's that kind of judgment that makes me worth the hundreds of dollars a week, thousands of dollars a year, they pay me!)
Of course, now we had to replace those four minutes. I thought about just putting up color bars. You know, call it some sort of artsy thing. But I figured that might not fly with the ptb's. After a huddle with
(associate producer) and
(writer/researcher), the clear solution was having
Gary B. Smith
square off in a Chartman segment.
These are situations when having a good team will make or break the show. No matter what skills you possess as a producer, the people you work with will determine how it turns out. The good news for me is that I don't just have a good team, I have a
team. This includes Gary B. and Adam, who immediately agreed to do the segment. This means Gary B. needs to mark up and email charts and Adam has to quickly get on the phone and do the fundamental analysis of two companies. It's not like they had any other plans in the few hours before the show.
Meanwhile, the rest of the show team kicks into high gear. Chartman is our most intensive segment in terms of production value. Brenda and Alison make changes to the script. William starts breaking the news to the
graphics department that a boatload of work is coming down the pike with not a lot of time to get it done. Usually Gary B. sends the first draft of his charts more than a day before we tape so graphics can get them started.
In the 12-plus years I've been in television production, some of the most exciting times have been watching and participating in the dynamics of pulling things off in spite of last-minute changes. It's always an inner charge to see how everyone molds right into whatever role they can best serve from moment to moment. This is hands down the best team I've ever worked with. For that I can thank the person who put our group together:
. She's got a big title at
. In fact, she's a ptb. Jamie wrote the mission statement for the show and was the driving force in our launch last summer. She's part of the team as much as anyone who appears on the show or works behind the scenes. Jamie is the one who sees the forest through the trees for us. We knew people would still be calling in for the Ask Cramer segment. With our staff already strapped, Jamie made sure an extra person came down to the studios to field the calls and explain the situation. It helped us and it helped those who called in.
If you weren't able to catch the show on
Fox News Channel,
I hope you watch the video clips on the TV page. I admit I'm not the most objective reviewer. But even if it wasn't the show we had originally planned for you, it was still a great show, full of information that I hope helps each of you this trading week. That, in the end, is always the goal I think we achieve. Even though things going according to plan just about never happens.