My parents and family friends have a history of involvement in television. Heck, I’ve worn my NBC Today Show extra-large tee-shirt to bed ever since I can remember. I often like to pretend that Katie Couric and I have more in common than our first names.
Then last Friday, I found myself getting Matt Lauer’s coffee. I brought the Dropkick Murphy’s down to hair and makeup. I stood a foot away from Mindy Kaling. I learned the inner-workings of a morning news show—and couldn’t have been more riveted by what was happening.
The Today Show has been taking special “field trips” on various Fridays to different cities in the United States in an effort to boost ratings and mix things up. Last Friday, the show landed in Beantown at Faneuil Hall, and my mom’s oldest friend set me up as a runner for the day.
As a runner I had to help anywhere I was needed. I woke up in the dark at 3:30 A.M. and took a cab into Boston for my 5 A.M. shift. My main job was to look after the guests, make sure they arrived on time and escort them to the green room, the makeup chairs, or to wherever they needed to be on the set. The show rented out Cheers and the taping took place outside and in the rotunda of Faneuil Hall.
I also got Matt and Savannah Guthrie’s nonfat grande lattes. I told a peculiar man in the crowd outside that I could not help him with his “large sum of money” that needed to be dealt with on national television. I shared everyone’s anxiety when the celebrity chef was running late. I cleaned up everyone’s pens and papers at the end of the shoot.
I felt like a disciple of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Or a staff member on HBO’s The Newsroom. But this wasn’t a make-believe set, I was doing something real in television, and the pop culture-loving girl within in me squealed. Here I was in a shimmering media moment, playing a real part behind the scenes of a live morning show. Everything went perfectly due to the show’s massive amount of planning and creativity, and me, I was just grateful to ride the intense thrill of it all.