In the old days, booking a coveted spot on “Oprah” was one of the most difficult tasks a Publicity Hound could face.
But there were some tricky ways to get around the problem. You simply recorded a show, then watched the recording in slow motion, checking the credits at the end for names of producers who were responsible for shows that tied into your own topic.
Then you’d call the show, ask for the producer by name, pitch your idea, and hope they bit.
“They’re so protective of producers’ names that there aren’t any producers even listed in the credits after the show has been aired,” says publicity expert Susan Harrow, who I interviewed recently on “How to Get Booked on Oprah.” I first interveiwed Susan about this topic four years ago, but a lot has changed since then.
“They took all of that information off their website and off of the actual show credits,” she said. “They’re becoming more and more protective of their time because so many people approach them and don’t have any idea how to pitch a show or what’s appropriate.”
So what’s a frustrated Publicity Hound to do?
You have only two choices:
—Go to the Oprah’s “Be on the Show” page and read about all the upcoming shows. If you think you’re a good fit, email the producers and let them know.
—Or, if you want to pitch an idea that doesn’t tie into a show they’re already planning, you must use the special form at her website.
But you’re not done yet. You must know which topics push Oprah’s hot buttons. They’ve changed the last several years, and you can’t assume that the kinds of programs she featured five years ago are the same kinds she wants today.
She’s having so many celebrities as guests, for example, that it’s tougher than ever for regular folks to find a way onto the show. Susan has more ideas in her bag of tricks, however, and she explains them all on the CD we recorded. It’s also available as an electronic transcript.