Behind the Scenes at The Today Show

Published: October 3, 2009 | Last Updated: February 16, 2024 By | 13 Replies Continue Reading
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The initial email looked like any other. But the subject line was anything but ordinary: POSSIBLE TODAY SHOW APPEARANCE.

The email that every author hopes for!

After a brief wave of nervousness, followed by a happy dance, and a few calls and emails between the perky Today Show segment producer, Lindsay, and my publisher, Overlook Press, the plans were set. Kathie Lee and Hoda would interview me at 10AM on Wednesday, September 30, about friendship breakups-a subject near and dear to my heart and one of the main topics of my book, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend.

My black pantsuit was pressed and bagged should such an occasion arise. My head was wrapped around it too. After a recent radio tour with more than 20 different stations across the country, I was confident that I knew my book and my subject well but I had no idea about the questions that I would be asked on live TV. That was the good news–because I didn’t have to prepare!

The experience was a hoot! A black Mercedes limo picked up Vida (the dynamic Overlook publicist), my son Boxer Boy (nicknamed for his favorite home attire), and my hubby Jerry and drove us to 30 Rock (yes, that 30 Rock!) If you haven’t been there, it’s a wonder art deco building that only looks more beautiful over time.

I was told to arrive with dry hair and no makeup at 9AM. Four pairs of hair stylists and makeup artists (who told me that they only do TV hair and faces) got right to work on me and other guests simultaneously. The chairs were set up, salon style, four in a row with a refrigerator and snacks nearby for my guests. No pictures were allowed of the primping room. Kathie Lee walked past us into her dressing room while I was seated. Since each TV segment is about 5-7 minutes long, I tried to figure out how many heads are done in those chairs each day. Many.

Then I was ushered into the green room and met my fellow guest, anthropologist Helen Fisher, an experienced talking head. There was a tempting spread of goodies (but who could dare eat and ruin her lipstick?) and multiple TV sets so you could watch the segments preceding yours. 

Within minutes, Helen and I bonded and were led to the chilled studio set that looked like a Manhattan living room (there was even a kitchen set behind the cameras for cooking segments). Kathie Lee and Hoda were knockouts: charming, chatty, and beautifully attired. They welcomed us warmly and then we were on!

The only thing I can compare the experience to is my wedding. After all the anticipation and excitement, it went so fast. But the memories made it like a Polish wedding that goes on forever: warm calls and emails from friends, relatives and fellow writers who had seen me on Today. Jim, from Virginia, said that he had seen me on the treadmill in the gym. The women at Donna Hair Design huddled around the computer at the front desk. My mom watched it with a caregiver in her apartment. And my former office colleagues watched it live at work. We were picked up in a Lincoln Town Car and taken back home like Cinderella. Then the downloads began as I posted the video clip on Facebook and Twitter. The joy of being on live TV with an audience estimated at around 5 million viewers was only exceeded by the spike in my book sales! Now I’m definitely ready for Colbert and Oprah!


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Category: IN THE MEDIA

Comments (13)

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  1. Pamela Miles says:

    We are connected on LinkedIn–that’s a start!

  2. Irene says:

    Thanks for much for taking the time to post!

    Warm regards,


  3. Irene says:

    I suspect that most women have lives that are far different than that of their mothers. We are more mobile, more likely to work, more likely to make changes, and therefore, more likely to have friendships that are more dynamic with beginnings and endings.

    That just means that we need to be more purposeful about making and nurturing friendships.

    Warm regards,




  4. Irene says:

    I’ve really appreciated your support along the way!

    Lots of love,


  5. Irene says:

    Hmmmm. Maybe we should be friends 🙂

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write!






  6. Pamela Miles says:

    No, we’ve never met, but you radiated the warmth and sensitivity of a buddy, while demonstrating your easy command of your subject, making the segment comfortable and compellling. Congrats!

  7. Allison Winn Scotch says:

    Yay! So very thrilled for you, Irene. Thanks for posting this behind-the-scenes. What fun!

  8. starrlife says:

    Wow- just catching up! I loved the interview- you did great holding your own and looked fabulous!
    I was thinking about my expectations for friendships and my sadness re: endings and less connection than I would like. I have a Mom who has almost all of her friends now that she made in high school. She talks to them regularly, sees them often, they are mainly her high school friends but also some newer ones that she made along the way. She grew up with lots of cousins and closeness to extended family and seems to have taken that into her friendships. I see others that have that as well- separate and apart from personality and trials and tribs of life. I do not have that knack- my life goes clickety clack down the track leaving alot behind. Just some thoughts….

  9. Carole says:

    I saw it live and really liked the info. I’ve been on both ends of ending female friendships. I understand the loving relationships you’re talking about. Thaks for explaining that we all feel this way.

  10. Irene says:

    Have any connections?



  11. Jill says:

    If you’re going to be on Colbert, let me know. I would PAY to see that!

  12. Irene says:

    One of the nicest parts of writing a book is sharing the journey with writer friends like you!

    Much love,


  13. You looked mah-va-lous! Great interview, Irene. You did get plenty of words in edgewise (per the photos on Picasa–loved them!), made the topic interesting, and was very gracious to your co-guest, whom I’ve read as well. Sounds like it was a great coup for you!

    Thanks for sharing the video clip.

    All my best,

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