October 8, 2019 is a day I’ll never forget.
Just 4 months after leaving QVC and wondering what the future held, I stood on the set of the TODAY show ready to be an “expert” for my first segment.
As a journalism student in the eighties at the University of Missouri, I dreamed of being on TODAY. It was a lofty goal for an aspiring broadcaster, but a girl can dream, right?
Never, ever, did I imagine I’d be making my debut on TODAY at the age of, well, I never imagined I’d be making my debut at my age:)
Making The Right Connection
So, how did it happen?
I owe the opportunity and introduction to the producers of TODAY to Amy Rosenblum. Amy has worked as a producer on shows like Maury, Sally Jesse Raphael, and Joan Rivers. She was also the producer at TODAY who put Kathie Lee and Hoda together. She is a rockstar.
In her current business, she helps people who want to be on television through media training and her amazing rolodex of contacts.
Chances are many of the celebrities and “experts” you see on television have been trained by Amy and her business partner, Drew Auer.
Amy and Drew have become more than just “agents”or “managers.” They have become friends, confidants, cheerleaders and dedicated supporters. If I hadn’t started working with these 2, I’m not sure I’d still be working on television at all.
When I met Amy she told me, she could introduce me to producers, but there were no guarantees. And if I got a shot, the rest was up to me.
Let’s face it, in the world of television, I’m no spring chicken. And even though I had many years of experience on QVC, I’m not sure the television world of producers and agents have ever taken the hosts seriously as on air talent.
I was thrilled when Amy told me she thought I was the “real deal.” I was so happy she thought I had a shot at something!
My First TODAY Meeting
When I met the producer for Hoda and Jenna, it was a quick 10 minute visit over coffee. The producer, Rena, was so friendly and nice and we had a great chat about how I used to put together my QVC show, You’re Home with Jill. I was floored when Rena stopped me in mid-sentence and said, “Can I tell you something? I like you. I really, really like you.”
I looked over at Amy, whose eyes became the size of saucers, and looked back at Rena and said…something. I have no idea what I said or what happened next except that I left that meeting with a booking for a segment on refrigerator organization.
I left the coffee shop at 30 Rock, and walked across the street from Radio City Music Hall. I sat down by a fountain. I took a deep breath. And then I cried. Tears of joy. Of validation. Of excitement. And then I called my husband, Doug. And my sweet man, he cried too. “I’m so happy for you honey!” he said. “Nobody deserves this more.”
I had made plans to meet my friend, makeup artist, Laura Geller, for lunch that day. She was the first person, besides my husband, to know that I was going to be on the TODAY show. We shared a dessert and celebrated. It as a day I’ll never forget.
My TODAY Debut
When the day arrived for my segment, I was really…..calm. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t worried. Actually, I was worried that I wasn’t nervous! I was excited and curious, but I guess after being on television for over 20 years, the being on tv part was second nature and not cause for worry.
What was most surprising to me was that I didn’t meet Hoda Kotb or co-host Heather McMahan (Jenna was still on maternity leave) until 4 minutes before the segment began.
Hoda was so sweet and gave me a hug hello. She was friendly and kind and just lovely. Heather was fun and sweet too. And then the segment started. And before I knew it, the segment was over. But not before Hoda exclaimed, “How great is Jill?” Okay, WHAAAAATTT???? I replayed that moment over and over in my head. And it didn’t really matter to me if I ever went back on air again…that moment was perfect.
Monthly Fun With Hoda And Jenna
I never imagined I would be appearing on TODAY with Hoda and Jenna so regularly. I’m usually on about once a month and I’ve loved putting together segments to share with all of you and the TODAY audience.
From how to use certain kitchen appliances, to cleaning hacks to setting up a socially distant party, I feel like I’ve found my rhythm with the Hoda and Jenna Team.
BTW…I met Jenna on my second segment, and she was just as nice as could be! They’re both great ladies.
COVID has changed up the way I create these segments, since I haven’t been in the studio with Hoda and Jenna since February. Instead, now I shoot the video I use myself. Those journalism school classes are coming in handy!
Whether I’m in the studio in NYC or in my home “studio,” the bottom line is I am absolutely loving being part of the roster of “experts” at the TODAY show. I’m so lucky to be able to bring you the type of content that I love in a new way…and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to fulfill my journalism school dream.
I have several more segments I’m working on before the end of the year so stay tuned!
And thank you all so much for your excitement and support for me when I present these segments! Your ever present support and kind words keep me going every day. It’s my pleasure…and my honor….to create fun, informative and relatable content for all of you.
From my “TODAY” home to yours,