Tag Archives: TV host

Review: Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One.

Recap: Ginger Zee is one of the most recognizable faces in TV news. As the chief meteorologist for ABC News, she appears daily on Good Morning America, travels the country to storm chase and deliver vitally important news about the weather and shares the details of her personal life on Instagram – complete with very adorable photos and videos of her two young sons.

But as she describes in her memoir, it took a while and a windy road for her to get this point. She worked in small markets, wore flip flops her first time on-air and wasn’t entirely sure how to write a script. She dated men who were horrible for her, broke off an engagement and suffered from verbal and emotional abuse. She tried to commit suicide and ultimately checked herself into a facility to get help. All of this was going on “behind the scenes” as she climbs the professional ladder, eventually making it to New York.

She is so delightfully adorable on-air and on social media that it’s hard for viewers to consider the many layers of anxiety and depression that she has managed over the years. And that is exactly why she wrote the book – to show the way things appear on the outside aren’t always the way they appear inside. This book is a thorough study on that, and an encouraging look at what can happen when you recognize the problems in your life and finally decide to get help.

Analysis: Ginger Zee’s story is powerful and necessary to be heard. Especially by young women – in any industry. But as a TV news person myself, I was also enraptured with her tales of job interviews, TV mishaps and ABC Network travels and assignments.

As much as I love her as a person and her anecdotes and found her story to be captivating, the writing itself could have used some work. The Natural Disaster title works perfectly as a representation of what she does for a living and how she describes herself, but the metaphor is used repeatedly throughout the book, to the point where I felt like I was being beat over the head with it. At times, I also found the book confusing in terms of time jumps. There were a few chapters that would go in chronological order and then she would write something like “But wait, let’s go back because this was also happening that entire time.” Maybe she was going for a little whiplash action in her writing just as she felt she was experiencing in her life, and just as one would experience in a real natural disaster. Either way, I sometimes got a little lost keeping track of what happened when because of those time jumps.

All that said, Ginger Zee has a voice and she’s using it to talk about big topics that MATTER. And there’s nothing more that I can do except respect and thank her for that.

Get Natural Disaster in paperback for $16.99.

Or on your Kindle for $14.99.

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Review: One More Time

carolburnettRecap: Carol Burnett is one of the truly great comedic icons and badass females of her generation and of our time. I was first introduced to her as Miss Hannigan from the original movie version of “Annie,” one of my favorite movies to watch growing up. She was perfect as Miss Hannigan — a villain who was more pathetic than evil, who was hilarious in her awkward gawkiness and who I was glad to see have a happy ending because you knew she wasn’t really a bad person at heart, just a desperate one. Having finally gotten around to reading her memoir from the 1980’s, I’ve come to learn that Carol Burnett was really not that different from the character she played in “Annie.”

She grew up under pretty horrible circumstances, though she didn’t realize as much until she was older. Her parents divorced at a young age and she lived with her grandma since her mother couldn’t properly take care of herself, let alone another person. When her grandmother and she finally moved to Hollywood from Texas, where her parents were already living separately, Carol started to standout as the tall, funny girl with the imaginative mind. When her illegitimate half-sister was born, she took her under her wing as though she were her own. She cared for her while focusing on her schoolwork and a potential career in journalism.

But as we all well know, things changed, and one taste on the stage had her itching to act forever. Her drive, devotion and ambition led her to UCLA and acting troups across California. A performance, a nice man and a lot of luck helped her earn enough money to go to New York and embark on the career she always wanted. But even that wasn’t as easy as she dreamed.

Analysis: Carol Burnett is a living, breathing rags-to-riches story. Yes, some of her story involved some extremely generous business men who were able to help her financially or give her references. But Burnett defined making her own luck. If not for her whipping personality, spunk and obvious natural talent and work ethic, she wouldn’t have had guts to ask for help or to keep in touch with the right people who would help her along the way.

It was amazing to read about her childhood and realize the hardship she had to overcome. Lots of “mommy issues” and lots of “daddy issues” could have been enough to break anyone. Not Carol. The entertainment industry itself is enough to break people. Not Carol. Her positivity and determination are to be admired, let alone her comedic chops. While she often talks about her many fears, it’s obvious that she’s also fearless.

Her story is more unbelievable than I could have imagined, and her writing exquisite. That’s not always the case with “celebrity” memoirs. But the truth is she was always a storyteller of some kind — acting out scenes, telling stories. Writing is another way to do that, and she’s obviously very good at it. (It’s no surprise she initially wanted to be a journalist — she has the chops.)

The updated version of her memoir, which I eventually read after accidentally leaving my first copy on a plane (whoops!) was even better because of the epilogue it includes at the end. The epilogue was added years later and tells the story of some of the additional tragedy she dealt with in her adult life. While sad, it’s an important section of the book that makes a point of showing no matter how successful you are, no matter how hard you’ve worked or where you’ve come from, we’re all people and we’re all going to have hard time to work through. Like Carol, we’ve got no choice but to keep going. One more time.

Get One More Time in paperback now for $14.53.

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Billy Eichner to Pen Book

OKAY, FOR A DOLLAR, WHAT’S YOUR GUESS ON THE NEXT BIG-NAME TO PEN A BOOK…AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, DO YOU CARE?

If you couldn’t already guess from that introduction, it’s Billy Eichner, star and host of Funny or Die and Fuse’s Billy On the Street. The comedian, who on his show, prances around New York City, screaming questions at people about what they know or like about celebrities and pop culture, has recently signed a publishing deal with Hachette Grand Publishing, according to Entertainment Weekly.

It’s not clear what the book will detail, but on Eichner’s Tumblr page, he mentioned “This book is for anyone obsessed with show business, pop culture, social media and lots of other fun topics that fill our days as we hurtle helplessly towards accidents, illness, infidelity and death.”

That’s about what I guess I’d expect from the pop culture obsessed man himself! No word on when the new book will be released.

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Bourdain Has No Reservations About New Book Line

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is no longer lending his name to just hit TV shows; now he’s also signing off on books.

According to this article by The New York Times, the popular chef, author, and TV host will acquire books for Ecco, which is part of HarperCollins. This doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be writing them, but he will assist in the overall process. The plan is for 3 to 5 Bourdain books to be produced annually.

It’s a deal similar to that which Chelsea Handler has with Grand Central Publishing.

In a press release, Bourdain says the books will be about food — obviously — but that’s not all.

We’re presently looking at an initial list composed of chefs, enthusiasts, fighters, musicians and dead essayists. And we’re looking to publish them in a way that’s both accessible and respectful of the power of the written word – and appropriately fetishistic about the tactile joys of the printed page.

Seems like a good move for Bourdain’s growing empire. But it’ll be interesting how the non-food-related books fare.

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Bravo for Andy Cohen! TV Exec To Pen Memoir

For all you deliciously-obsessed Real Housewives fans, good news: there will soon be even more ways to stalk Bravo Andy.

Bravo executive vice president Andy Cohen is penning a memoir, set to be published in the summer of 2012. According to EW, the book will cover his journey from his closeted teen years in St. Louis to his fabulous life as a Bravo executive and TV personality.

I, for one, have never been much of an Andy Cohen enthusiast, but I know you’re out there. And I imagine if you watch any of the following shows — Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, The Real Housewives of Orange County, New York City, Atlanta , New Jersey, and D.C., Kathy Griffin My Life On the D-List, The Millionaire Matchmaker, Million Dollar Listing, The Rachel Zoe Project, The Fashion Show, Bethenny Getting Married?, Shear Genius, Tabatha’s Salon Takeover and Flipping Out — there’s a very good chance you’ll be interested enough to read his memoir.

Which means…bravo for Andy! You’re about to be a bestseller!

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