Child Stars

You learn quickly in local TV that casting your family and friends in spots is a great way to get things done cheaply. Over the years my boys appeared in many news promos, mostly for lurid (and sometimes stupid) sweeps stories.

Alex and Zack have been stalked by predators, hit by cars, addicted to violent video games, abused prescription drugs, improperly buckled into car seats, and lured into online trouble. They’ve played pyromaniacs, abused children, and teenage alcoholics. Based on their body of work, that they’ve survived until 21 and 14 respectively is a miracle.

In this spot Alex is the unsuspecting child playing innocently in a park. That’s me as the mysterious lurking man:

Hahaha. “Watch it with your kids. You can’t afford to miss it.”

And here we have little Zack getting into the household chemicals. I remember feeling a little funny directing him: “OK… now point it at your face…”

Many of these stories blow minor problems out of proportion —things that rational people really shouldn’t spend much time worrying about. TV news directors love that stuff and I gleefully went along for the ride.


10 responses to “Child Stars

  1. My, aren’t we feeling liberated? Also — you forgot your dogs as as stars.

  2. It’s like I’m Albany Eye or something.

  3. so, who gets to hang crap on the door next ??

  4. Your guess is as good as mine —but if you listen to TV news marketing guru Graeme Newell, the answer is “nobody.” Read his piece here about how stations are eliminating my job.

    Not everybody’s getting rid of the managers. Look what NBC is doing at their O & O stations.

    I used to tell kids to get into promotion because every TV station and cable channel needed a promotion department. Not anymore.

  5. Paul De Georgio

    Tell the truth.. wouldn’t you like one more shot at promotions, especially now that TEN has snatched up Lydia ?


    Good luck and I’ll be in touch soon.

  6. Susan Tepper LeClair

    I can relate SO MUCH to this experience Rob. I too used my son, relatives, and friends as cheap (make that FREE) talent in spots. He wore diapers for Joy Dept. store as a baby (along with every baby of everyone who worked at my station at the time); he was also an “abused child” on a promo, and wound up “behind bars ” as a teen…We controlled our children’s schedules…”I’ll pick you up at school if you come back to work with me and appear on my spot so it can air tomorrow…”And , oh yes, my dog was on a couple of spots and Pet Connection promos as well….

  7. Paul: That’s crossed my mind —especially since WTEN might be willing to pull out all the stops.

    Susan: Once I told school my older son had a dentist appointment so I could whisk him away to a shoot…

  8. Rob, “abuse” is fine with me! I had a GREAT time being used as cheap labor all of those years ago when we lived on Putnam St. (are we supposed to admit to that any more??)!

  9. What happened to B. Jackson????

  10. Not sure where Brian Jackson went… I didn’t know him real well but he was a really smart, funny guy.

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