Old-fashioned Common Sense

During my nine-year venture with Good Morning America, I was privileged to meet some interesting people, occasionally facing some challenges along the way. This one was rather easy.

On one beautiful day in Pebble Beach, Monterey, California, we were broadcasting from the famous 17-mile drive golf course. We were set up on the green. Our guests that morning were the gracefully beautiful Doris Day and the tall, impressive, gentlemanly Clint Eastwood.

While I was having a casual conversation with Ms. Day in her guest van, one of our producers interrupted us, obviously a bit nervous and upset. She told me that Mr. Eastwood would not sign the standard consent form we required of guests. Such forms have long been SOP on talk shows.

I took the form and found Mr. Eastwood. He kindly and courteously told me that since GMA videotaped highlights when we were on the road, offering them for sale to our audiences, he felt he should be compensated. I told him that in principle I agreed with his position, but we really were not at a time and place where I could effectively discuss or change an industry practice. After about 30 seconds of silent staring at each other, I suggested a solution. If he would sign and appear, I would guarantee, in writing on the release form, that his segment would not be included on any replay.

“That sounds fine,” he said, shaking my hand. He then signed, smiled and went back to the set.

And the show went on.

My staff may have credited me with some undeserved management skill, but what happened was we both simply proved that often a bit of old-fashioned common sense does, in fact, work!

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