I had no idea there was so much involved in launching a show. Sony set up a big, multi-city promotional tour, and I couldn't wait to start. They scheduled a quick trip to Chicago as a warm-up.
My first morning show appearance was to be on a wonderful affiliate, WFLD. The station’s vice president of promotion and programming, Dominic Mancuso, introduced me to the sales staff, all who seemed to be as excited to meet me as I was to meet them. When being interviewed on their news, the station's entertainment reporter asked me, "Judge Young, what do have to do to win a case in your courtroom?" Before I could answer, he started belting out "That's Entertainment!" in his best Ethel Merman impersonation. I cracked up. Is this what I have to look forward to at every stop on the tour?
As I was rushing through the airport on the next stop of the tour in San Diego, I was informed that Larry King wanted me on his show that night to discuss the Senator Craig scandal that had just broken. I’d need to go to a studio directly from the airport for a live satellite interview. Wow! What a GREAT beginning to my new career!
The euphoria was short lived, however, as the airline lost my luggage. I'm in jeans and I'm on national TV in two hours. PANIC!
Luckily, my partner Scott is great in a crisis. Before I knew what was happening, he was talking on my cell phone with the Sony publicist, telling her what to ask for from Nordstroms. She called ahead and Scott and I ran through the store in literally five minutes. He picked out a new outfit (waist up only) and we were back in the car on the way to do the studio. And I considered myself the shopper! I went on the show as scheduled, and it was great. Larry was so gracious and dedicated—how does he do this every day? David Theall, “Larry King Live’s” producer, called afterwards to thank me, and I was thinking that I was one the one who should be calling thanking him!
The next afternoon we met with the GM from San Diego's XETV, Richard Doutre Jones and his team of truly dedicated salespeople. What a great operation Richard is running! I had a wonderful time on their morning show -- commenting on Leona Helmsly's suddenly wealthy female dog (OK, maybe I didn't use the words ‘female dog’). I have to remember not to be so colorful on morning TV.
The next stop of the tour was San Francisco. I met the incredibly energetic and capable Akilah Monifa who works for CW 44. She did a remarkable job getting the San Francisco leg organized with tons of radio, several print interviews and an appearance on “Bay Area Focus with Susan Sikora.” Later I had a chance to meet and thank all of the sales, programming and promotion people at the station, which I love to do because I know they work so hard.
Adding to the memorable San Francisco excursion was spending a sunny Labor Day afternoon at Dolores Park with our friends from www.crackle.com, a user-generated content website. Under the direction of executive producer Matt Labate, rising star comedian Jacob Sirof and I strolled around the park promoting “Judge David Young” and taping segments for “Judgment Day,” a hilarious online show that can be seen on the site. Jacob and I got along great as we canvassed the park-goers, making snap judgments and seeing how correct our assessments really were. Some very interesting rulings came that day!
Having covered the entire park with an entourage of ten people and two cameras, the whole park knew who we were by the end of the afternoon!
The excitement I felt as the plane was landing for the next stop in LA was indescribable and the folks at the station put me at ease right away. It was such a pleasure to see Leslie Lyndon again (we first met at FPEC in Orlando in July) and two key promotion people for KTTV/KCOP, Kathleen Bracken and Marla Schulman, dropped in to take photos and say hello. Even John Frenzel, director of programming and publicity for the station stopped by.
Just before I went on their local news program, “Good Day LA” (great fun!) I met James Brolin and had my photo taken with Frankie Avalon. My mother was thrilled. Afterwards, Marla had me do some lively promo reads for the “digital lounge” section of the My13LA website, which was a hoot. [A sidebar note: James Brolin's wife's niece and I were friends in college at Tulane University. "Small World isn't it..."]
Afterwards, I was whisked off to be a celebrity clue reader on “Jeopardy.” So cool. I walked on the set and asked if I could stand behind the podium where Ken Jennings (the all time champion from the show) stood.
The taping was done in the Wheel of Fortune Studios where I got to not only play Vanna White, but actually meet her too! I was in heaven.
Next up, Seattle; a magnificent city.
The impressive director of creative services for Q13/FOXMyQ2, Jamie McDowell, set up my appearance on their morning show, where I made a constructive comment about their traffic reporter's tie. It was hideous, but the people in the studio laughed and loved it. That night, I had dinner with the station’s general manager, Pam Pearson and Natalie Grant, the regional program director for Tribune Television. We dined at a beautiful restaurant with a breathtaking view of Mount Rainier. Pam was born in Miami so we spoke about our hometown and we clicked immediately. What bright, fun, amazing people.
The final leg was the Big Apple. On launch day (September 10), I was beside myself with excitement. The first stop of the day was on FOX's morning show, “Good Day New York.”
After getting to the studio and getting all made up to look good (I swear make-up people are magicians) I realized that in my excitement, I left the hotel room with the pants from one suit and the jacket from another. UGGHH. I DO NOT MATCH. There is NOTHING worse! I wanted to leave and go back to the hotel, but no time. Luckily the cameraman told me that he would not film my pants. The hosts, Jodi Applegate and Ron Corning were great (and even better looking in person!).
I have always been a fan of theirs and I just couldn’t believe I was actually on their set in New York City talking about my new show.
The sad thing is that the tour had to end. I love to meet new people. I believe it's crucial to thank the people who have faith in me and my show. I will be eternally grateful for all their efforts.