Syndicated Strip Showrunners: Linda Bell Blue

Dec 6, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The hours Bell Blue has kept as executive producer of “Entertainment Tonight” for the past decade have always been some of the most extreme in all of TV.

But what she’s been doing since she added “ET” spinoff “The Insider” to her plate is arguably unmatched in the business.

“I used to sleep until 4 o’clock. Now I’m up at 3,” she said. “I do get up earlier and I’m here later.”

Ms. Blue said she slept on the floor of her office a couple times at the beginning of the season and grabbed her shower at the executive gym on the Paramount lot. Paramount Domestic Television produces and distributes both “ET” and the Pat O’Brien-led “Insider.” “Anytime you have a new project, you’re feeling your way as you go,” she said.

She bounces between the “ET” and “Insider” staffs throughout the day. “Once it starts it never stops until 3:30,” she said, adding that she’s heard people say she “has no life.”

“To maybe an outsider looking in, that’s true,” she said. “I’m on the phone all the time, the BlackBerry going. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This is my family.”

It’s a big family. The employees on the two magazine shows often collaborate, since “The Insider” started out as a segment on “ET.” Ms. Blue now oversees some 250 people.

She attributes her ability to keep it all together to teamwork and her lieutenants. “These people eat breakfast and lunch at their desk and always think together,” she said. “There are great mini-teams within the teams, and everybody understands everybody’s vernacular.”

She tries to lead by example. “I have a big personality and I am for better or worse-probably worse-a very loud person, very enthusiastic,” she said. “I’ve found you get the best out of creative people when they feel like they’re doing a good job. When you criticize they can wilt like a rose. I give people reinforcement, which they’ve earned.”

“This is a very, very, very competitive group,” she added. “When you accept a job here you really kind of dedicate yourself to it.”

Though at her rate it could perhaps mean getting up the day before the actual workday, Ms. Blue said, “Yes, absolutely” when asked whether she’d consider running a third show at the same time. “Yes, I could.”