For 17 years, Wendy Walker stood solid in the shadows while Larry King thrived in the spotlight. As the senior executive producer on "Larry King Live," Walker was there for nearly every newsmaking interview and helmed one of the most successful news programs in history.
But that's just the latest chapter of a career that started more than three decades ago at ABC. In the intervening years, she has seen it all and is finally telling her story in her new book, "The Producer."
Read an excerpt from the book below, and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
My alarm clock woke me at 5:30 a.m., as usual. It was still dark outside as I reluctantly pulled back the covers, got up, and headed for the bathroom to wash my face and get ready for a new day. The digital readout on my clock told me it was Thursday, June 25, 2009, and I felt like I had a jump on the day.
The night before, when I went to bed, my staff and I had booked what I thought was a diverse and interesting Larry King Live show for tonight. I knew from experience over many years that if breaking news occurred anywhere in the world, we could and would shift our plans in an instant. That's always the case in the news business. But I was hoping for an easy day as I headed into my home of?ce off my bedroom to check my e-mails. They were arriving fast and furious since it was a little after 8:30 a.m. on the East Coast. I scanned my incoming box quickly and checked last night's ratings.
I love living on the West Coast, and in the blush of a promising summer sunrise, I scanned the wires and various reports from my East Coast staff to con?rm the morning headlines.
Then I went back to my e-mails. My production staff of forty across the country were streaming information to me from everywhere and would continue to do so—to the tune of at least two thousand e-mails daily. I know how impossible that sounds, but it's true.
Imagine taking a half-hour walk or driving a kid to school in the early morning and having more than two hundred new e-mails waiting when you get back home. That's how it is with me, as I scan thousands of e-mails every day, eliminating what I don't need and making sure I respond to what is necessary and hopefully not deleting something important.
While I started answering the messages, my staff kicked in. They do myriad jobs that are all important; it's the old it takes a village concept. Since ten of the forty producers are bookers, when we decide in which direction the show will go that night they make the calls and do the intense work of booking the guests. When we were in the midst of reporting the deadly earthquake in Haiti in February 2010, for example, we had to decide who we wanted to interview concerning a massive world tragedy. Everybody got on board with ideas and suggestions, and we came up with names.