TV Hosting – The Mind Game

Tv Hosting - The Mind Game
The top players in every field think differently when all the marbles are on the line. Great performers focus on what they are doing, and nothing else. They let it happen, let it go. They could care less about the results” – John Eliot

No doubt at sometime in your life have you seen a television show that wasn’t good. Maybe the storyline lacked punch, the premise was awful or maybe the host lacked a certain watchable quality. Many times when a host does poorly on a television show, it wasn’t necessarily because they were a poor talent; it tends to stem from being the wrong fit for the show format or premise. Other times it’s the lack of good marketing and then there is the rare occurrence when a show is simply directed towards the wrong audience.

Take Jay Leno for instance when he decided to give up The Tonight Show in 2009. The show originally aired at 10:30PM. NBC then decided to create The Jay Leno Show,which aired at 9PM. Just an hour and half difference right? Wrong! The audience at 9PM wasn’t used to monologues and comedy. They were Law & Orderwatchers and had more of a taste for drama. Does that mean the Jay Leno Show’spoor rating mean that Jay Leno is a bad host? Of course not! It’s a textbook case of show concept that was placed in the wrong time slot for its ideal audience.

Ryan Seacrest, who is now considered the top-earning Host on TV besides Oprah, launched a daily entertainment/variety/talk syndicated TV talk show in 2004 called On Air with Ryan Seacrest.However, even with Ryan’s cult like fan base, due to low ratings, the show was cancelled nine months later. The reason I tell you this is because no matter how good of a host you are, there is a good chance you will run into an obstacle or setback along the way. The one hard truth about the hosting business is that it can be a tough road. Anytime you put yourself in front of a large audience and you voice an opinion or portray a certain personality, it’s an inevitable truth that you won’t please everyone out there. A reporter once asked comedian Bill Cosby what the secret to success is? Bill replied, “I don’t know what the secret of success is, but I know the secret to failure and that is to try and please everybody.”

I know I speak for many of us in the business when I say that some days you just have to let go of what happened and keep moving forward with a positive attitude. You are you for a reason and if a few people don’t like the way you do something, that’s THEIR problem and not yours. The fact that you have the courage to put yourself out there to be judged, either good or bad, puts you in a small percentage of people. I for one applaud your courage and I’m here to tell you that no matter what anyone tells you, you CAN do it! Be proud that you have the confidence in yourself and your abilities and let that be your foundation as you move forward.

Let me help you understand something. Your career is much like a competitive sporting event. There are plans, tactics and skill involved in coming out on top at the end of a game. How you plan your game in the hosting business will determine how many times you fail and how many times you put yourself in the position to succeed. I have talked to many hosts who say, it’s been nothing but an amazing time and they’ve hardly come across any negatives since they started! Others will tell you it has been a hellish climb to get to where they want to be and they still struggle to this day trying to land a good host gig.

I have tasted both sides of that argument. I had years when everything was smooth sailing and I didn’t have a worry in the world about my career. Then there have been other years where I was literally struggling to put food on the table as a freelance host. But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. I went through some of these incredibly challenging times because I didn’t have much of the information I am sharing in this book with you. If I would’ve had this knowledge 5 or 10 years ago, would have likely launched my career into an entirely different stratosphere of success.
Probably the biggest and most important piece of advice I can share with you, is that you must develop the right mindset when you decide to pursue the hosting business. There are literally thousands, if not millions of people out there wanting to be the overnight success story that gets to host their own show. Just go to auditions for some of the major network shows and you’ll see what I’m talking about. They’re filling arenas just to audition! But no matter how big the crowds and how daunting the amount of competition, the jobs will still always go to those who work the hardest, are the most talented, and who understand how the business works. You must be focused on perfecting your craft, knowing what types of projects will best suit your personality and making plans to succeed. Unless you are a high ranking celebrity with millions of followers or you made front page national news in a big way, the rest of us have to learn the game of becoming a host and how to best attack it. There will be many opportunities to take different paths in your hosting career, and each decision you make will have a domino effect on where you go and what jobs you’re in the running for. Over the past few years, I have interviewed many hosts and experts in the industry. As I compiled my information and began to compare similarities, I began to see 3 unique patterns that were key in their eventual success, simple mindsets that gave them a mental edge over the competition.


We all have unique gifts and abilities that can be turned into success and this must be your mental approach. If you believe you can’t, you’ll make this reality a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you display a lack of self-belief when you’re auditioning and talking to the camera, the audience and casting directors will pick up on this immediately and won’t watch you or hire you. Successful hosts are not afraid to show the world who or what they are. One of the best examples of this in recent memory is daytime talk show host Ellen Degeneres. In 1997, she was the first lead in a sitcom to openly acknowledge her homosexuality on the air. Today, she continues to embrace who she is, what she stands for and she isn’t worried about how the world perceives her. Take the time to watch her and you’ll see what I mean. She carries a confidence about herself that is undeniably brilliant to watch.


There are more than enough opportunities available for you to become highly successful. Many people believe there’s “too much competition.” This stops them from trying. Truth is there are new opportunities being created every day and the next one may very well be perfect for you. But just because the opportunities are available, doesn’t mean you know about them. Many people can’t see opportunities because they’re not trying to find them. You must constantly be searching for the right gig for you and you MUST BELIEVE that it is out there waiting for you.


Understand that sometimes you have to create your own opportunities instead of strictly paying attention to the casting calls and auditions. In my case, for several years now, I’ve recognized that there were no solid resources outside of LA or NYC coaching programs to give aspiring hosts advice and information on how to get into the business. I saw this as a massive opportunity to add value, where others didn’t, and I was able to write this book and offer it to you! Those who go out and create instead of following what everyone else is doing are always the ones leading the pack and getting the jobs. Successful people in any business, not just hosting, know this to be true.

Understand that you are responsible for your results, even though there are many challenges outside of your control. It’s your responsibility to create opportunities for yourself. When you take responsibility for results, it allows you to do a much better job of creating more opportunities to succeed. Take Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s advice: “Swim upstream, go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly the opposite direction—but be prepared for a lot of folks to wave you down and tell you you’re headed the wrong way.”

Those 3 mindsets may be the most telling in the success of many hosts, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s 10 more pieces of great advice not only from hosts themselves, but from coaches, casting directors and producers. They are all actions you can take to keep you on the right path to achieving success in your hosting career.
1. Always be you!

No matter what audition you go into, it’s incredibly important that you are YOU and not what the casting director is looking for. If that particular job doesn’t fit your personality, there will be another one out there that does. The last thing you want to do is land a job you had to fake to get, and then end up “faking it” for the next few months while recording all the episodes. You will be wasting not only your own time, but also the time of the entire crew.
2. DON’T Play politics

If you’re trying to manipulate people and situations to give yourself a leg up on the competition, you will scar your reputation in this business forever. If you bad mouth somebody or make a bad name for yourself in one circle, all the others will likely hear about it when you try to get involved with them. This is a small business and there are only a few degrees of separation between everyone in it. So manufacture good integrity when developing professional relationships in this industry. Remembereverything has its time and when you do make a move, it will be because you’re ready to make that move. You’ll have done the work, been prepared and performed on the level that you deserve to be at.

3. Develop good relationships

As I mentioned before, this is a very small business. So if you are good to somebody that will likely get around and vice versa. Network yourself to anyone and everyone. You never know who may be able to help you out. Shake hands, pass out business cards and demo reels and develop a Rolodex of EVERYONE you meet in the industry. It’s likely that somewhere down the road, you will cross paths with them again.

4. Be ready when opportunity knocks

I once heard Oprah define the term “luck” as the merger of preparation meeting opportunity. So if the job of your life comes along and you haven’t been practicing, you haven’t been networking and you haven’t been polishing your on-camera skills, there’s likely going to be someone else out there who has, that will beat you out for the job. So at all times you must believe that at any moment you could get your dream shot and you MUST be prepared to perform when it comes.

5. Don’t be outworked

I believe that success has two major ingredients. One is actual talent. True talent is a God-given quality that is undeniable. Some people are just simply born with the personality to be a host. If you have invested your time and money in this book, you must believe you have that talent. More importantly the second ingredient, the one that actually towers above the talent, is good old-fashioned HARD WORK. No matter how much talent you have, unless you spend the time and do the work, you have zero chances of becoming anything great. The top people in any field always come to the realization they are truly not that special or different, they’re just persistent. They have learned to never take NO for an answer. So I say to all of you, no matter what stage of your career you’re at, start your dreams today! Work 10 times harder than the person who started 10 years earlier, and you still have every chance of beating them to the finish line. Besides, we should all measure our success on the inside. Do you want to host and be happy? OR do you want to host and make money? Each one of those sounds sweet, but it can be even sweeter if you actually achieve both at the same time.

6. Don’t waste valuable time

Understand that you need to take advantage of every second of every day! The fact is most of us don’t spend as much time as we’d like to hosting or speaking in front of a camera or audience. The idea that the bigger hosting jobs will eventually add up to give you the camera time you need to get great is not the wise way to look at it. In other words, if you only get to host a segment or show once a month, it will take you forever tobe consistently comfortable on camera. So, you need to create a situation where you’re practicing and performing all day every day. When you’re at the market or grocery store speaking to someone, that one person is your audience. Make that your time to practice your interviewing and ad-lib skills. Make every one-on-one meeting you have add up to a great deal of performance time. The best time to perform and practice is in your daily life. Those moments add up fast and make you the best host you can be.
7. Have confidence in yourself

How you accept yourself is how others will also. When I’m on camera, I’m excited but never nervous. Why should I be nervous or scared? That is for people that don’t practice. When people ask me if I ever get nervous, my answer is always, “I only get nervous when I’m not prepared.” You must accept yourself for whom and what you are. You must get in front of camera satisfied with what you know. You must realize that the performance you deliver must be in a way that is truthful to you. You are likely not a professional-athlete or brain surgeon, you’re a host who is really good at being YOU. If you can accept what you are and are not, and perform from a place of self-confidence, that is what the audience will perceive and connect with. It’s not that you know everything, but that you feel great about your personality and abilities. If you wanted to jump on camera with a lisp and an eye patch, you should still be able to sell it and make people feel comfortable about watching you and your over-exaggerated imperfections. If you’re okay with whom you are and show the audience that you accept you, they will also do the same. In fact, they will applaud your imperfections and the way you boldly display your freedom to be imperfect. What are you self-conscious about showing your audience? Find it and work at overcoming your fear of it on camera.

8. Set goals

You’ve obviously taken your time to invest in reading this which to me, must mean you are serious about not only getting better, but getting a job as a host! So what is your plan? Do you have a particular show or program you want to be on? Do you have your sights set on a particular casting call coming up? Are you unsure? I want you to set several different types of goals, and MAKE SURE you write these down. When you wake up every day and look at them, it reminds you that you need to be doing something each day to achieve them!
Start with short-term goals, and what I mean by this is, “What do you want to accomplish over the next 30 days?” “Do you just want to complete this book?” “Do you want to audition for a certain amount of shows?” “Do you want to make a certain amount of contacts?” Make sure that your goal is measurable. When it is, you can gauge each and every day to see if you’re making the right amount of progress to achieve it.

Next, set your one-year goals. What do you want to look back on at the end of this year and say? Maybe you landed a particular gig? Maybe you just want to be working full time? Maybe you want to achieve a certain income level? We all want to have enough money to be comfortable so there’s nothing wrong with those types of goals.

Lastly, set a ten-year goal. Now before you do this, remember how long a decade is. So any goal that might seem almost impossible right now in your mind, can definitely be attained in ten years. So I want you to shoot for the stars here. If you want to host one of the major reality shows on the big networks, like American Idolor Biggest Loser, then set that goal and do everything you know how each and every day to make sure you are ready for the opportunity when it presents itself!

9. Have an optimistic attitude

There has never been a better time to be a host. I don’t care if you’re just starting or you’re a veteran of this industry! The proliferation of reality Television over the last decade has Networks scrambling to get new programming on the air all the time and you just very well may be the exact personality type they’re looking for! Remember, if you’re prepared when the opportunity comes, lady luck will welcome you with open arms! Anddon’t give up if you really want this!  There is no recipe for guaranteed success and there’s always a reason to be negative…BUT DON’T BE!  Just keep giving it your best!

10. Talk to yourself daily
How many times have we all heard or experienced this internal dialogue?
“I wanted to achieve it but I didn’t, or I couldn’t. I can do the same things that person can, so why don’t I get the same results? Maybe I don’t have the right tools or I didn’t improve myself like they did? Maybe I wasn’t as dedicated or lacked the motivation to follow completely through? Maybe other commitments got in the way? Bottom line is, if I had the right way to do it, I would have!

These words are key reasons why whatever it is you WANTED to happen, DIDN’T happen. So to help you get in the right mindset each and every day, I have a resource I’m going to give you. Let me explain.

All external motivation for us works the same way. If we keep getting motivation from anywhere OUTSIDE of ourselves (ie; coaches, parents, friends, books) we will do better. However, take any of those away and you move mentally back to where you were before the motivation began. You may have progressed, grown or achieved something, but you did so with energy outside of yourself.

What many of us don’t understand is that lasting motivation takes more than the occasional reading of a book, a motivational talk, video or speech. Although these serve a great purpose, external motivation tells us that we can achieve anything we go after, but for a great majority of us, that’s when our poorly programmed subconscious mind takes over. Yes we want to believe it, but our old negative mental program has taught many of us to think, “How could that possibly happen?” or “Be realistic and stop all this junk about wanting to be an overachiever!” It’s not about whether or not we are capable, it comes down to you still being guided by all the old negative thoughts your mind has been feeding you for years!

Unfortunately while motivational talks are a great way to get in the right frame of mind, an hour or two of someone telling us that “we can do it!” simply doesn’t have a chance. The intentions are great. The talk is likely inspiring. The ideas are incredible. But when the “coach” or “external motivator” goes away – so does the motivation.
Think of it like a computer with faulty software. No matter how hard you try to make it do what you want, the internal software will always block you from doing so. That is, unless you change what’s going on, on the inside!

So let’s get to what the resource I’m giving you is all about.

If you can change your subconscious mind to get rid of those old negative thoughts and replace them with new positive ones, your internal software will subconsciously guide you towards what it is you want. This will be the most fertile ground for growth and achievement that we will ever find.

Imagine having a “coach” that stayed with you season after season and every day in between. Imagine being able to rely on yourself to always automatically and unconsciously energize yourself, focus your attention, and keep you moving in the right direction! This will be your closest ally, your strongest believer and your best friend. This is referred to as INTERNAL motivation.

I’m not talking about some sort of hypnosis or subliminal mumbo jumbo. This is a conscious personal responsibility you are taking for yourself to help YOU get better on the inside. That means YOU are in control of the results. Remember that some of the greatest minds of all time achieved their greatness with three overriding attributes, spirit, conviction and hard work.

What I’m telling you is that when you learn to talk to yourself in the right way, the inner strength you desire will begin to show up without even trying. What I’m giving you is not a self-help book, CD or program. This is all about talking to yourself. Now before you stop and think you need to get up every morning and look in the mirror and say” I’m good enough, I’m strong enough, and people like me!” continue reading.

For any self-improvement concept to work effectively, I’ve learned that it needs to be simple, easy to use, and when put into practice it MUST show results.
Remember, your old self talk is likely a negative habit and in the first day or two, it will begin to show its ugly head and tell you this stuff is a bunch of nonsense. But by knowing what to expect and by continuing to listen, you will begin to override those thoughts.

By replacing your earlier negative self-talk with new commands, you’re activating healthy, productive chemical and electrical control centers in your brain which will automatically work for you instead of against you. When this happens, all the new goals you set will more likely be accomplished and achieved


1. it’s valuable to look at where you’ll be in your career in the future, so you can have a “map” for the journey of your career. Write a vision for what you want your career to look like, and where you want to be in 30 days, 1 year and 10 years. Write it in the present tense. “I woke up today in my new house, and I checked my inbox to find several offers to host for network shows. OR I just made $10,000 last month and have been the number one show on television for 3 seasons…..”

2. Next, write down the key mindset or belief you’ll need to get to each of your goals.