Earlier this month, NBC Universal brought multiple volunteer opportunities to its employees at a daylong event held in "Saturday Night Live's" Studio 8H at 30 Rock. It was so successful that NBCU President and CEO Jeff Zucker pledged to ante up $100,000 to stage similar events in other major NBCU markets.
Since the first volunteer fair in 8H last December, the NBCU volunteers in the New York tri-state area have beat their projected participation. At the latest fair, a corporate representative said, some 1,200 employees packed and labeled 13,000 food packages, made 1,000 senior-care kits, created 600 craft kits and get-well cards for ailing children and painted two murals for local hospitals for City Harvest, United Way of NYC, Project Sunshine and the Foundation for Hospital Art -- all without any extreme loss of man-hours to NBCU.
Adding to the warm and fuzzy mood this time was the presence of animals up for adoption from the ASPCA of NYC, a pet project of Frank Accarrino, VP of news and entertainment operations (co-chairman of the NBC tri-state chapter of parent company General Electric's volunteers), and wife Letitia, whose household includes two shelter cats.
For Tina Ryan, wardrobe supervisor for "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," it was love at first sight of a Yorkshire terrier mix, then named Lucky, whose short life has been a dramatic one: abandoned at a garbage dump with a serious injury that required a delicate life-saving operation. Ms. Ryan had been without a pooch since the death a couple of years ago of Lucy, a Cairn terrier she had adopted from "The Will Rogers Follies." Lucky was quickly renamed Frankie, and Ms. Ryan's new Yorkie baby has "100 percent" bonded with her and her husband. And he's into TV -- NBC and "Late Night," of course.
"He just sits there in front of the TV and cocks his head one way and the other," Ms. Ryan bragged. "He is brilliant, I tell you."
Next goal: for Frankie to appear in a remote with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, a milestone the late Lucy achieved. (Triumph took liberties with her, if you get Blink's drift.) Don't think the possibility of a Frankie-Triumph sketch hasn't already been raised, but Triumph will ruin his reputation as an insult stud if he takes the same kind of liberties with Frankie. If you get Blink's drift. -- Michele Greppi