By Stephen Viscusi
I sit and daydream about the number of celebrities who have been calling me lately for career advice. Ever since "Up in the Air" starring George Clooney as a corporate hatchet man has become Oscar talk, my imaginary phone has been ringing off the hook, with fictional calls.
First, it is Sara Palin and her deal with Fox (and in the interest of full disclosure, my book "Bulletproof Your Job" is published by HarperCollins, also a NewsCorp company)-I told Sara to hold out. Sara did not listen.
I still think Barbara Walters would have upped the ante, over Fox and added Palin to "The View". Sort of like a "back-up" to Hasselbeck. Let's face it, Joy Behar seems so bored in her "The View" gig, now that she has her own show on cable's "HLN". You can almost see Joy's eyes rolling in boredom every time Whoopi does her tired "Valley Girl" impression.
Then my prediction on Chris Cuomo came true. I predicted Cuomo, then at ABC's "Good Morning America" would go to ABC "Purgatory"-(also known as "20/20"- where they sent Elizabeth Vargas) if Cuomo did not get the GMA Co-Host position, and guess where he is now!
Newly coiffed Robin Roberts remade her hair to look like a woman, now that Diane Sawyer is no longer co-hosting with her. When I flip the channel, I have to look twice, to see if Roberts is co-hosting with a "Jonas" brother. Then I see it is just George Stephanopoulos, who looks like he should be sitting on her lap.
Now on to the latest fictional call I got; Conan O'Brien. First, for real, Conan had lived in the building next door to me on Central Park West in Manhattan -when he was hosting his show here in Manhattan. I would see him on the street with his son and wife (they look like Ivy League Preppies) - and I felt like Beverly Hills east. So, selfishly I miss him here in NYC.
The problem is not O'Brien, or his ratings...it's Jay Leno. Jay thinks he is Regis Philbin; he just won't retire. Philbin is beloved, Leno is tolerated. Regis is like Barbara Walters and Oprah--yes even Letterman, we like him.
Leno, on the other hand is like Eddie Haskell from "Leave it to Beaver". Jeff Zucker must be like Mr. Cleaver. Zucker created Katie Couric, he's a Cancer survivor and smart as a whip. But Jeff, why are you so afraid of Jay?
I have my own TV show premièring soon. "The Jobs Whisperer". I take all those people you saw fired on "Up in the Air" and find them news jobs.
Jeff, can I offer my outplacement to NBC for Conan? Let me remake Conan and his career, right there on NBC. Don't lose him to Fox,
Then I can "outplace" Jay, for NBC to one of your cable channels. Why not give Jay a show about the cars he collects, or stick to comedy maybe, how about Bravo's "Gay Walking" with Jay Leno (Skit's on all of Jay's Gay friendly antics, on NBC's-gay "sister" station Bravo?). Just a thought.
Finally, as my fictional, non-existent call from Conan ends-I tell Conan: Learn from Katie Couric. NBC may not be the highest rated network, but "coast" while you can.
"Don't go all AGENT on NBC". Agents are not career coaches, they are career commandos. And we have enough wars going, no one responds well to commandos.
Conan...Don't take the money and RUN...take the money...and STAY! Sooner or later Jay will go "Jay Walking" himself in to retirement. Follow in the foot-steps of Tom Brokaw, who still is part of the NBC/Universal family. Go to your mentor Lorne Michaels...and let him create a new vehicle for you. Conan....The grass is not greener".
So then the call ends...Conan thanks me and hangs up. Oh, then Jeff Zucker calls thanks me for coaching Conan...picks up my series for the open 10 PM hour..."The Jobs Whisperer"... for NBC....And I wake up from my dream!
May be reproduced without permission of author, as long as author gets credit Stephen Viscusi is the host of the upcoming TV show "The Headhunter From Hell".
Stephen Viscusi is the author of "Bulletproof Your Job" (HarperCollins) and can be reached at Stephen@viscusi.com. Visit his website @http://www.bulletproofyourjob.com, Follow me on Twitter @workplaceguru and add me on Facebook and LinkedIn.