In Depth

In Their Own Words: Art Moore

WABC-TV program director who supervises “Live With Regis and Kelly”

The thing I’ve always found unique over the years, especially in the beginning, was in how many ways we were on the same page. I got the impression in the beginning that he was surprised that sometimes I got what he was talking about that maybe others didn’t. But I knew exactly what he was talking about.

One of those [subjects] was audiences and how they react and which days sometimes are better audiences than others. He was coming to it from years and years and years of having live audiences. I was coming from some of that, but also when I produced theater 100 years ago. I knew the importance of that audience and what a factor it had in making a show work and making the timing right and the guests keeping their energy up. I think in the beginning he may have been surprised that that occurred to me.

The thing with audiences that we notice is there is a commonality in terms of their reaction to things. If you get a group of people who are very, what we call, internal laughers, they’re having a great time, but it doesn’t translate over the air because there’s no sound, nothing’s happening. So you obviously would like to get an audience that’s up and moving and enjoying, that you feel it in the studio, which then translates to the people at home.

In that sense, I don’t think audiences have changed over the years. It’s how effective you are at trying to maintain that throughout that hour. [The best audience] is probably a majority of women. I’m not sure whether it’s because they collectively react as a group and when there are a lot of men interspersed it breaks it up a little bit, maybe there are husbands or boyfriends, so they don’t feel they can react as they might if they were there alone. The age doesn’t seem to matter.

That’s one of Regis’ attributes. He does appeal to all, and I mean all, from 10 years old, because that’s the youngest we allow. He’s so good at making everybody feel comfortable and a part of what’s going on. During the break he comes out and talks to the audience, does pictures and whatever. Watching these little kids who may be intimidated by someone, he’ll go right up to them and start talking to them or asking them questions and by the end of the show you can see they’re so caught up with them. Sooner or later he’s going to have a picture taken with them and suddenly it’s like he becomes a teen idol for them.

I’ve never seen a performer who cross-pollinates, as it were, so many different generations, and they all feel like he’s their person. It’s amazing. I love watching it.

[On the street] there’s always something. If there’s not, depending on what the mood might be, he’ll initiate it. “Regis here.” “What are you doing?” He always has time for everybody, but it’s so obvious that his reaction is genuine. He’s such a master of that. And they don’t take advantage of it.