Yes I Have A TV Show — And I Have A Lot Of People To Thank!
If you follow my Facebook page, you know Travel Channel announced on Tuesday that John Curtas and I are working on six episodes of a new series. It’s called “All Forked Up” (which is honestly the only way to describe me and John being bound together on yet another project). I’m really proud of this. But I’m more proud of my incredible group of family, friends and other supporters – who are really the people who allowed this to happen.
The show is incredibly exciting, and the way it has played out has been unbelievable. A little over three years ago, I received the news that I was losing my full-time job at ABC News Radio after nearly 14 years. While it was a tough financial blow, my wife Sue and I decided I should use it as an opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming a full-time food writer. The first part of my plan was to increase my print writing and my online presence, while concentrating on publishing a book or two. Hopefully, that would lead to some interest from the TV world.
We were being extremely ambitious. But you never accomplish your dreams if you don’t take a shot (or so I’ve been told by a lot of lucky, successful people). At the same time, I wasn’t a young kid trying to score a record contract; I was a middle-aged man with bills to pay. So we decided I’d spend 2010 and 2011 pursuing this plan. If I wasn’t making any real progress by early 2012, I’d pull out my law degree, cut my hair and beard, buy some conservative suits and start applying for real jobs.
Over the next two years, I received some amazing help from a book publisher, several previous competitors, two online video producers, and many extremely supportive magazine editors. Some wonderful readers and viewers also began to support my work. I eventually met some pretty cool cats from Hollywood – a few of whom I actually trusted. One of them, Sean O’Malley, was just crazy enough to fly to Las Vegas to meet with me and John and try to convince us he might, if we were all very lucky, be able to get us a shot at scoring a TV show. It was the summer of 2011 and I had a few months left to chase the dream, so I figured WTF.
In the second week of 2012 (exactly the time I was supposed to be getting “real”), Sean came to Las Vegas with an amazing crew to shoot the sizzle reel that led to this show. Amazingly, his production company fast-tracked it, and we suddenly had a deal! We shot a pilot in June, and got told at the end of the summer we’d be shooting five more episodes for air. Along the way, Sue continued to tell me to go for my dream – despite the fact she continued to be my major financial supporter.
Shooting TV with a world-class crew has been fun and educational. (It’s the production team that makes any show great, and I’m still blown away by how good these guys are). But it wasn’t until Travel announced the show publicly this week that it all felt real. This is just one more step forward on what I hope will be a long and exciting journey. But it’s a testament to what you can accomplish by remaining positive and following your dreams in the face of hard times. It’s also a testament to what you can accomplish when you’re surrounded by amazing family, friends, employers, partners and colleagues. (You all know who you are, and I’m afraid to start mentioning names because there have been so many of you I know I’ll somehow forget someone.) Moreover, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people who have read or watched my work, and those who have waded through my Tweets and Facebook rants because you believe I have something interesting to bring to the table. I was raised to believe I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. What they forgot to tell me is that I’d also need to surround myself with amazing people. I feel lucky to have learned that part on my own. THANK YOU to everyone who has helped me get to this amazing point in my career!!!!!
I’ll get you more details on the show as soon as I can. I hope everyone enjoys it. I hope all of you who have lent me a hand, a voice, a paycheck, or a bit of moral and emotional support will feel (at least slightly) proud. In the meantime, I’ll continue writing and blogging for all of the venues that will have me. My goal has always been to bring more people into the food world. Everyone in America deserves a taste of the things I’m lucky enough to have experienced — and I owe the entire world a debt of gratitude. Perhaps I can work out a payment plan that sets both of those issues right?