“All those great reaction shots in the audience (are) all gravy,” insists director Kit Carson. “But the main thing is to capture the moment, that intimate moment when a guest is revealing something.”
Carson has been directing “Sally Jessy Raphael” for six years, during which time the show received two Daytime Emmys — one for best talkshow, the other singled out the host.
“Sally has always been very compassionate, very concerned. It’s up to me to capture that. The show’s very spontaneous. We have a script just to introduce the guests, then after that it’s pretty free-form. It’s very much follow the leader.”
Carson’s cameras have actually been following Raphael since he began as a director at WLWT, Cincinnati, in the early ’80s. Raphael was a frequent guest, then a guest host on the local 90-minute variety show. Carson, 39, had started at the NBC affil. “My very first job out of the University of Kentucky, I ripped news copy, pulled slides for the news, worked as a grip, stage manager, floor director.”
When Multimedia introduced “Sally” as a local program in St. Louis in 1983, “I stayed in Cincinnati, but I still stayed in touch, and they asked me to join the show in ’87 when they moved to New Haven, Conn.”
The show is now shot in studios in New York City.
As a director, talkshows, including several pilots for Multimedia, have become Carson’s specialty. “I enjoy musicals a lot, but there’s not a whole lot of variety shows out there. I really like what I do. It allows me an amount of interpretation.”