Live television can lead to awkward moments. Today on Today it was Kathie Lee’s turn. Here’s how the Toronto Sun reported her interview with Martin Short whose wife died two years ago.
Gifford said, “He and Nancy have one of the greatest marriages of anybody in showbusiness. How many years now for you guys?”, to which he responded, “We (had been) married for 36 years.”
Gifford, however, kept pressing, saying, “But you’re still, like, in love?”
Short forced a small smile and responded, “Madly, madly in love.”
Obviously this isn’t something Kathie Lee did on purpose. Later she publicly apologized via Twitter.
I have been in the studio for a few awkward moments, but the one that stands out most was an interview between Harry Martin and Jose Feliciano. Harry was anchoring at Channel 8 at the time. Jose is a long time Connecticut resident (and really nice guy) who often came on our air.
As the interview ended with the camera pulled out for a two-shot, Harry reached out to shake Jose’s hand. Jose is blind.
Some people there thought what Harry did was awful. I thought it spoke to the fact that Harry’s interview worked so well the fact Jose was blind became a total non-factor. Harry hadn’t been thinking about it during the interview and obviously forgot about it at the end.
Kathie Lee and Harry’s interview were both awkward, not mean spirited. It’s the kind of thing they both probably wish they could take back.
It’s live TV. Stuff happens.
Blogger’s addendum: After I published this entry I got a note on Facebook from Michele Russo who was in the booth that day in New Haven.
I produced that 530 show, in fact, I booked Jose for the segment as well. It’s true, it was a painful moment, I think we all felt pain for Harry that day, but Harry was so engaged in the interview with Jose (a great musician and all around good guy) that he just got caught up in the interview with Jose. Harry was so engaged that he looked beyond the disability. And isn’t that what we all should aspire to? My son has a rare disability and it makes me smile when his peers treat him as though he’s just another regular little kid because deep down, that’s what he really is.