Having cohosted and directed a number of TV talk shows, we are sometimes asked at seminars, workshops and media conferences about what it takes to become a good on-cam television talent.
We share that, since TV shows reach and influence many viewers, the people who host programs should be the best possible talents!
They should not only look good but should also be at the top of their graduating class, unusually intelligent and articulate, knowledgeable about the TV medium’s unique strengths and how to use them for viewer’s optimum advantage, be informed not just about current events and history, but also about a wide range of topics—and they should be committed and engaged citizens and public servants in the broad and authentic sense of the term!
So many requirements? That’s because the job is that important, and affects so many people. Only the very best will do!
Okay, can we wake up now? As you very well know, the reality of local TV hosting is very different from and less true-blue than that ideal, so a lot needs to be done for viewers to be truly served well.
At the moment, for instance, we’re writing this as we listen to a program host yakking away about a topic that she most loves to talk about—herself! Most everything else she talks about is made to relate to her preferences!
Today’s guest has just come back from Europe? So did the program host last year, only she stayed at a much more expensive and exclusive resort-hotel!
Lesson learned by prospective TV hosts: Focus on your guests, not yourself, because they’re the ones viewers want to get to know and listen to, not you!
Just last week, another less-than-exemplary TV personality provided her own example of how not to speak, think and behave in front of the camera: The host was no spring chicken, and yet it was clear that she still fancied herself to be quite beautiful and sosyal because she was coming on like a combination of Dawn Zulueta and Anne Hathaway! The reality, of course, was—well, not so much!
Even worse, she was pretending to do the show while actually pretty much snoozing her way through it. For example, she was interviewing a chef who was demonstrating how to cook a special dish, and part of their conversation went this way:
He: First, lagyan natin ng tubig.
She: Ah, tubig.
He: Ibabad ang vegetables.
She: Ah, ibabad.
He: Hahaluin natin.
He: Lagyan ng herb.
She: Ah, may herb pa?
He: Oo, pampalasa.
She: Hmm, pampalasa—wow!
She: Tapos? Tapos na?
He: Hindi, lulutuin pa natin.
She (giggling girlishly): Oo nga pala, lulutuin pa!
He: Lagyan ng itlog.
She: Itlog pa, wow!
He: Tapos i-garnish at i-serve.
She: Wow, napakasarap—I guess!
Obviously, while the guest was in Metro Manila, the “snoozing” host was somewhere else in the universe, smugly believing that she was still doing a good job at hosting the cooking portion, even if she was giving it only 20 percent of her actual attention.
Lesson learned: Prospective TV personalities, don’t take your job for granted—otherwise, like this “automatic” host, you’ll end up with more than egg on your fatuous face!