Backstage at “The Doctors”

It’s Sunday night as I write this, the day before my episode of “The Doctors” airs. (If you haven’t made plans to watch yet, what are you waiting for? Find out when it airs in your area here and watch the promo – featuring me towards the end! – right here.) I’m excited to see the finished episode. It’s been over a month since we taped it and probably close to two months since I was first booked! Wanna see a few behind-the-scenes photos?

Oh! And stay tuned, because at the end of this post, I have YET ANOTHER awesome television announcement!

“The Doctors” is filmed at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, so when I got there, I got to drive through the famous gates on Melrose Avenue:

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I had been booked on the show in late November or so. A woman that had been working with Richard Simmons told me that someone from “The Doctors” may be reaching out, and sure enough, a few days later, I got a call from a staffer named Micki. The idea for the segment was pretty straightforward: Richard would be leading the studio audience in a fitness demonstration, and they wanted a few of Richard’s students and success stories there to serve as back-up dancers. Sure, sign me up! After the initial call, Micki and I started exchanging emails, and I sent Micki “before” pictures (like the ones here) and answered various questions she had.

The taping was on December 20th. I was asked to bring black workout pants and my bright yellow sneakers, and they’d take care of the rest. Once I drove onto the Paramount lot, I parked and a production assistant in a golf cart picked me up and whisked me to the stage. I’m one of five Slimmons students that are bring featured on the show, and we all shared one tiny dressing room.

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Soon someone came in with paperwork. Whenever you go on TV, you’re probably going to be asked to sign what’s called a release. A release is a legal document where you acknowledge that you’re going to be filmed, and, basically, you grant the show permission to do whatever they want with the footage. The language covers all bases – you agree that you’re there willingly and that they can use the video footage, your voice, still photographs, your likeness, et cetera, in any and every broadcast medium – television, promos, radio, print, online, digitally, and so on. They even specify that they can use the footage in mediums yet to be invented, from now until the end of time. And by signing, you waive the right to sue.

The release for “The Doctors” had a paragraph I’ve never seen before (and I’ve seen a lot of releases). It basically said that, due to the nature of talk shows like this one, I may be “shocked, angry, disappointed, embarrassed and/or otherwise emotionally upset or distressed” by personal information about me that’s disclosed “before a live studio audience and/or its broadcast and/or other exploitation (including the promotion of the Series).”  Yikes! I read that sentence and thought immediately about all the folks that go on Springer and then are blindsided with all sorts of sordid revelations. That could hypothetically happen to me, and I’d have no recourse whatsoever, thanks to the release. Furthermore, signing the release wasn’t enough: Just to cover their bases even further, after signing the releases, someone came in with a video camera and filmed me acknowledging that I understood what I read. “The Doctors” doesn’t mess around!

Soon, they took me to hair and make-up, which took about 90 minutes.  Kidding – it took about five. When I came back, a shirt was hanging with my name on it, and it matched my yellow shoes! Here I am all made up and in wardrobe:

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And here’s all five of us in the dressing room:

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That’s Joanne, Lori, Iris, and Marcia from left to right in the front row. The five of us, collectively, have lost over 525 pounds! That’s the weight of a baby grand piano.  After we were all camera-ready, they lined us up in the hall with the other guests on the show. Then they went down the line and covered any logos on our clothing, so there wouldn’t be any implied endorsement on the show. My Nike shoes got big pieces of tape covering the swooshes:

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At this point we were escorted backstage, and we were told about 2 dozen times that we couldn’t take our phones, so that’ll be it for photos. The first holding area we went to was actually backstage on the “Dr. Phil” set.  “The Doctors” and “Dr. Phil” shoot on adjacent stages at Paramount (one of the Executive Producers of “The Doctors” is Phil McGraw’s son), and “Dr. Phil” wasn’t taping that day, so I got to see that empty stage, which was pretty nice.

We got microphones and after a long wait, they moved us backstage at “The Doctors,” where we waited some more. I got to catch up a little bit with my friends Robert and Mike, who both work as prop masters on “The Doctors” (they were responsible for making the giant foam fat blobs that we all carried onstage).  One the show started taping, things started moving more quickly. We watched Richard talking with the hosts on a little monitor, and soon after that, a stage manager moved me into position so I could make my entrance.

It’s a thrilling experience turning that corner and seeing five cameras and a studio audience. I hadn’t actually seen the stage yet. We had been briefed on where we were supposed to go, what we were supposed to do, and what we were supposed to say, but it didn’t really go as planned, and there’s nothing you can really do but roll with it.

In the first commercial break, I realized I knew one of the cameramen, so I quickly said ‘hi’ to him, and exchanged some small talk with Richard and the hosts. Yes, Dr. Stork (the star of the 8th season of “The Bachelor”) is ridiculously handsome in person – and a nice guy too, as is Dr. Ordon, Dr. Sears, and Dr. Masterson. Dr. Sears remembered me from when he took a class at Slimmons a year ago! Soon, we were ushered offstage. The fitness demonstration – the whole reason why I was booked in the first place – was changing because they were running out of time, and we were no longer going to be a part of it. Oh well. Like I said, all you can do is roll with it. I still got to come out at the very end of the show when we all gathered around the mountain of foam fat blobs.

After the taping was over, I said my goodbyes and quickly changed so I could go to work. I got to keep my neon yellow workout shirt and a whole lot of memories. Everyone at the show was very nice and very professional, and I had a lot of fun. It was a good day.

ONWARD TO MY NEXT TELEVISION APPEARANCE! I’m going to be on TV again soon… I’m featured in Richard Simmons’ next infomercial! I’ve been withholding this information for a couple months now, just because I signed a release saying I would, and I didn’t have information to share… and I still don’t. What I do know is this: The infomercial will start airing in February. It’s for Richard’s new weight loss program, called “Project H.O.P.E.”  I’ll be featured in it talking about the long-term benefits of working with Richard.  I don’t know when it will air, what channels, for how long, or if it’ll be online, but I wanted to mention it because February is right around the corner, and there’s a chance one of you might see it on TV before I do. If you do, I hope you’ll share when and where you saw it!

Two big television appearances so far in 2013?

KEEP IT UP, DAVID!

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5 Responses to Backstage at “The Doctors”

  1. Patti says:

    David you give me great hope I know people give you stories if their stuff. I won’t do that. But thank you for the inspiration

    Sent from Patti’s iPhone

  2. Pat says:

    Robert & Mike shout out! Woot!

  3. Coco says:

    You look great! Those are some cool shoes and I’m uber impressed you read the release so carefully!

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