Star Jones And Me

I don’t know Star Jones, but I’ve been following the brouhaha between her and Barbara Walters. Nasty stuff. After Larry King Live tonight I expect nastier.

There’s some advice I can give Star, because I’ve been there. No, not a network job. I’ve been there in the ‘ruining a good thing’ sense.

A while ago, I had a boss at the TV station – Billy Otwell. Billy’s out of TV now, but I consider him a friend and I think he probably feels the same way about me. Still, during contract negotiations he said to my agent (at the time), “Some people burn their bridges behind themselves. Geoff burns his in front.”

That was one of the best lines ever spoken… pretty profound. Billy was probably just trying to get the edge in negotiations at the time, but what he said has stayed with me. And, he was right (back then).

It’s easy in TV, where you’re the product being sold at contract negotiations, to overvalue yourself and act like a spoiled child. There are lots of examples we’ve all seen or read about, and many people get away with it. I probably did.

However, it’s possible to make yourself more of a pain in the butt than you’re worth. That line varies depending on your perceived value.

I approached the line. Star steamed right through it.

Since Billy made his pronouncement, I have tried my best to back off a bit – and hopefully others have noticed. Who knows? Maybe it’s only noticeable to me.

Star will surely back off now. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s been given a lesson in self awareness. She’ll have to implement what she learned from her next job, which will undoubtedly be of lower stature than the one she left this week.

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