Did I botch the casting call? Is my 16-page application lining Mark Burnett's bird cage? Is my piddling number of video votes causing late night laughter among production staffers? These twenty-somethings, incidentally, are way too young and thin to be making weighty decisions, such as who gets to be on TV.
I submitted my three-minute video online--as did thousands of others around the country--with hopes of winning a spot on Oprah Winfrey's new reality program, Your Own Show. Ten contestants will compete to host their own television show on Oprah's new network, OWN.
To increase my chances, I also auditioned in person in Laguna Niguel, California. By 6 am, the line topped 1000; it looked like a string of hungry ants marching towards a single breadcrumb.
A bouncy female applicant with a 2 foot billboard of Oprah on her head told me she was channeling the star. She said she stalked Perez Hilton for two years before landing a job with him. "Hire me. I'm broke," was the line that finally dazzled him into submission.
I had no signage, no aptitude for channeling and no patience for stalking. I would have to work "in a suit" as they say; in other words, "without props." I stood with 11 other hopefuls in front of casting director Scott Salyers and pitched my ideas in my usual Italian way, hands flying around like a traffic cop on speed. I am only one quarter Italian. If I were 100%, I probably would have slapped my competitors into oblivion.
My show is about news and current events, but my real strength is my interesting life, from my traumatic childhood and fight against racism to my long line of intriguing occupations. I have been a private detective, cab driver, aerobics instructor, Los Angeles Commissioner, FBI lecturer, backup singer for an Elvis imitator, and author of a popular book on how to get invited to the Academy Awards or meet the President. I also have extensive experience as a television commentator; coincidentally my first TV appearance was on Oprah's show in the late 1980's.