10/100 - Producer File: 3 things that happen during the commercial break in live tv


I'm job searching and I find that a lot of people don't always understand what a Producer does. I currently produce tv news, but I'd like to move into the production of documentaries, sitcoms and dramas. A Producer is responsible for a lot of things, especially in an environment where fewer and fewer people, have more and more job roles. As a Producer in tv news, I not only Produce, but write everything the anchors are reading.

Here are three things happen during the commercial break of a live broadcast. There are many more but for now, I'll focus on three.

1. Write a breaking story: Just because you are in the control booth and the show has started, doesn't mean your job is done. I've had to write a story during the two-minute commercial break when breaking news hits the newsroom.

2. Answer questions: You have to know the details of every story in your show. Sometimes an anchor will have questions about a certain statistic in a story... or an Executive Producer will want to know what technical glitch caused the video not to roll on a certain story. The list goes on.

3. Evaluate time: Some people say a Producer's job is to start the show on time and end the show on time. There's much more to it than that, of course. However, sometimes a reporter's story is longer than everyone thought, or there's a lot of banter surrounding a fun story... and before you know it your show is two minutes longer than it should be and you have to make that time up somewhere. That's when you drop stories from the show.

BONUS: You stay calm: You're the one holding the show together so you have to stay calm and give everyone the direction they need. That includes the director and the on-air talent. I can stay calm through all of this and that's part of the reason I'm searching for a new challenge in the form of a new job.