Being a ‘Mom’ Is Nonstop Work in NYC
Veteran producers tap into urban parenting mother lode
By Michael Malone -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/26/2010 12:01:00 AMRELATED: Talk Show To Replace 'As The World Turns' on CBS
For all the talk about multi-platform approaches, here’s a program that truly touches on an array of media. A trio of television producers hatches a newspaper column, which spawns a blog, which begets a TV program that airs on a digital channel and other platforms. Thus the rapid rise of Denise Albert, Melissa Gerstein and Raina Seitel Gittlin, who debuted their “Moms and the City” column in New York’s Metro paper last October, launched a blog on the Daily News website last month, and debuted their show July 8 on WNBC’s New York Nonstop channel.
While mommy-media is everywhere—Gannett, for one, offers local versions of MomsLikeMe.com—the Nonstop Moms say Moms and the City and a Dad Named David offers a more blunt assessment of motherhood, with a decidedly New York focus and attitude. “No-holds-barred,” goes the MATC tagline. “There’s nothing out there like it,” Seitel Gittlin adds.
The Moms have extensive experience on both sides of the camera. Gerstein was at CNN and CNBC, among others, while Albert and Seitel Gittlin worked at Good Morning America. Albert is the daughter of TV sports legend Marv Albert.
The Moms first appeared on David Ushery’s The Debrief program on Nonstop last fall, and Ushery and producer Sarah Miller began kicking around ideas for a vehicle for the trio. “I noticed the dynamic between them captured the imagination of the control room,” Ushery says. “The give-and-take was genuine.”
Airing Thursday at 10 p.m., the halfhour program, with Ushery as moderator, opens with a discussion of the topics of the day, such as playground safety and dining out with kids, then shifts to Ushery soliciting man-on-the-street opinions. The third block is a celebrity interview, and the fourth is about entrepreneurs with children.
Motherhood and New York are the threads that connect all segments. “The fourth mother on the show is the city,” says Ushery, the father of a 4½-year-old boy.
Clips from Moms pop up throughout NBC’s New York properties, such as WNBC’s weekend news and its Website. The show is a good fit within WNBC, which is rich in female-oriented content, such as the 5 p.m. lifestyle show LX New York. Ratings are not available for Moms and the City.
NBC Local Media plans to roll out Nonstop digital channels in its other markets. Former WNBC President/General Manager Tom O’Brien was named executive VP of the Nonstop division in June.
The Moms are happy to be back in television— on their terms. Balancing network news and motherhood, they agree, was brutal. “You can’t just jet to the next plane crash,” Gerstein says. “Anderson Cooper would be in Baghdad, but my kids are home, watching The Wiggles.”
Working for themselves makes for a bit of wiggle-room, but not much. “We don’t joke about deadlines,” Albert says. “This is a real business.”
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