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Posts Tagged ‘Susie Xu’

Best of Behind the TV Scenes: Nash, Xu, O’Hearn, Capus, Schreier

Throughout the summer, we’ve spotlighted the industry’s top producers; getting the inside story about their shows, how they got to where they are, and advice they have for future TV journalists.

Here are some of the best takeaways from our five-part series, “Behind the TV Scenes.”

Don Nash, “Today” EP                                                                                     Don Nash

“I never wanted to go anywhere else. I got out of college, I got a job as a page at NBC, and I never thought in a million years I’d ever work for a show as great as “Today.” I never thought in a billion years I’d ever be running the place. And I never had any desire to go anywhere else because I didn’t think it could get any better. It’s absolutely important to be loyal to whoever you work for, be it at a network or anywhere else. Loyalty is something I value in a big way; it’s something I value in the people who work for me, and it’s something I value in the people I work for.”

Susie Xu, “OutFront” EP                                                                                                                                                                                                   Susie-Xu

This one’s always tough. I think as a producer you never talk about yourself; it’s all about the anchor. What’s shaped me a lot is being the second child in a Chinese family after the one-child rule was imposed. From the beginning of my life, I was really not supposed to be born. The government came down on my parents and said, ‘you’re not supposed to have a second child, we have a one-child policy here, and you already have one daughter and you don’t need another.’ But my parents defied them, and I think that’s shaped a lot of who I am, and I always think, wow, I wasn’t even really supposed to be around and I’m so lucky to be where I am and have the awesome opportunities I have. It’s pretty cool.

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Behind the TV Scenes: Kathy O’Hearn

This summer, we’re putting a spotlight on the industry’s top producers; getting the inside story about their shows, how they got to where they are, and advice they have for future TV journalists.

KOHThis WeekCRHeading toward her fourth decade in TV news, Kathy O’Hearn embraced a new challenge this year when she joined MSNBC as executive producer to 26-year-old Ronan Farrow‘s new show. “We just hit it off immediately,” O’Hearn tells TVNewser. “It was one one of those great moments that you get only a couple times in your career when you really connect with the way someone thinks and how they think.” O’Hearn’s career has included many big moments and stories at CBS News, ABC News, CNN, CNBC, The Daily Beast, and now, MSNBC.

TVNewser: You started in TV news in the mid 70′s. What’s the biggest thing about the industry that’s changed and how have you adapted?

O’Hearn: The thing that I think is the most pronounced change is how all the cable networks have become bigger players. I started back when CNN had to fight to even get in the White House coverage pool [when I was at CBS]. And to watch how the cable networks are really powerful in terms of who they influence, who watches them, and the amount of news that they bring to the American public is a fascinating arc to experience.

TVNewser: You temporarily left the TV news business in 2010 to go digital as head of video at The Daily Beast. As a TV news lifer, how did you adapt to digital?

O’Hearn: It was fascinating. I was lucky enough to work with a very impressive, savvy group of writers and minds in any kind of newsroom and Tina Brown. To take the skill-set I learned in the television world into the digital side was exciting. I learned a lot; I had done a fair amount of digital production for ABC (“The Greenroom,” “Topline”), so it was exciting to try and figure out how to translate that across a series of programs and products and how to craft it so that it’s successful and reflects the brand. It was like going to school in online video.

TVNewser: Was there a learning curve?

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Behind the TV Scenes: ‘OutFront’ EP Susie Xu

This summer, we’re putting a spotlight on the industry’s top producers; getting the inside story about their shows, how they got to where they are, and advice they have for future TV journalists.

Susie XuIn 13 years at CNN, Susie Xu has risen from intern, to field reporter, to producer for “Larry King Live,” to her current role as executive producer of “Erin Burnett OutFront.” Xu was born in Tianjin, China, the second child in her family, born during China’s one-child policy. “From the beginning of my life, I was really not supposed to be born,” Xu tells us. “The government came down on my parents and said, ‘you’re not supposed to have a second child.’ But my parents defied them, and I think that’s shaped a lot of who I am.” Xu and her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was four. She grew up in Grove City, PA and graduated from Penn State.

TVNewser: You’ve risen up the ranks to an EP position pretty quickly. What helped you climb the ladder?

Xu: A lot of it was taking every opportunity that CNN gave me and just running with it. I don’t say this as someone who drinks the Kool-Aid of the company, but CNN has provided so many opportunities in terms of different skills that I can gain, different jobs that I can do. I started out doing show producing, running prompter, running scripts to Wolf Blitzer. Suddenly, there was an opportunity in New York and be part of the live production. I jumped on that opportunity. Within, not even two years, an opportunity opened up in the Beijing bureau to field and package produce. I had never been on the newsgathering side of things, but because I’m fluent in Chinese, and because I have that interest and that drive, my boss at the time at CNNI gave me a chance. From there, producing for Larry King just fell into my lap, and they called me when I was just coming home from Beijing, and said, “we need you to go film a special about transvestites in Miami… I knew nothing about that, but I just thought, ‘well, that’s really interesting, I’ll jump on a plane and go do it.’ A lot of it is just throwing caution to the wind and jumping in head first and figuring out as you go.

TVNewser: What was it like for you producing in the Beijing bureau?

Xu: I found it to be more difficult to acclimate than I thought, because I do know the language and have family there. I’ve been to China many times to visit family, so I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. But operating as journalist in a country that’s so restrictive will always take some getting used to. You know you’re going into a communist country; you know they’re going to censor you, but at the same time it’s always shocking what you’re being censored for. We did a story on a really crippling drought in Western China, and that to me was a weather story, and how it affected the country economically. But the local government really saw that as a threat, and got really paranoid, and followed us around to every single shoot. Every single location, there was a

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Erin Burnett Gets New EP

SusieXuWil Surratt, who has been the EP of CNN’s “Erin Burnett: OutFront” since launch, is moving to Amy Entelis‘ group as EP of program development, specifically charged with focusing on a new CNN primetime. CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker has promised a “shake up” in primetime this year. Susie Xu, (left) currently senior broadcast producer of “OutFront” is the new Executive Producer. Xu is a 13-year veteran of CNN where she has worked at the network’s New York, Washington, and Beijing bureaus. Burnett returns from maternity leave later this month.