Welcome to Living Ageless and Bold, where we celebrate the accomplishments of remarkable women over 55 who have blazed extraordinary trails. As the host, I get to interview amazing women and share their stories. Below is a post based on my interview with JoAnne LaMarca Mathisen, former Executive Producer of the 4th Hour of the Today Show.
This was my inaugural episode, so with excitement in the air and bubbly in our glasses, the podcast kicks off with a heartfelt toast to friendship, shared dreams, and the empowerment of women over 55.
Blast from the Past – The Dream Job
JoAnne takes us on a trip down memory lane to her early career days as a PAGE at NBC. This highly competitive position set the stage for her career. This dream job allowed her to explore various facets of television and gave her a front-row seat to the magic of shows like Letterman and Saturday Night Live. The enthusiasm and wonder in her voice will make you feel like you’re right there with her, experiencing those unforgettable moments.
SNL Shenanigans – Behind the Scenes of Comedy Gold
The conversation takes a hilarious turn as JoAnne recalls her interactions with comedy legends during her time as a PAGE at SNL. The stars’ names might escape her momentarily, but her infectious laughter and engaging storytelling keep you riveted. This glimpse into the behind-the-scenes world of SNL leaves you yearning for more juicy anecdotes.
From PAGE to Today Show – A Cinderella Story
JoAnne takes us on a journey from her PAGE days to the illustrious Today Show, unfolding like a modern-day fairy tale. Her passion and determination to land the job shine through as she recounts the serendipitous twist of fate that brought her to the show’s doorstep. Her vivid descriptions transport you to a time when morning TV was a cultural phenomenon, and the Today Show was a household name.
The Orient Express Dilemma – Regrets and Life Lessons
Amidst the triumphs and successes, JoAnne shares a moment of vulnerability. The decision to take a full-time job over a once-in-a-lifetime trip on the Orient Express tugs at her heartstrings. It’s a reminder that even in the most incredible journeys, there may be a few missed opportunities and life lessons to cherish.
Navigating Success – Thriving in a Cutthroat Industry
With her dynamic career spanning over two decades, JoAnne opens up about her experiences navigating the media industry. From her time at CBS and CNBC to launching the nine o’clock hour with a TV icon, Florence Henderson, JoAnne’s resilience and adaptability shine through. Her insights into the changing landscape of television keep you on the edge of your seat.
Life Beyond the Screen – Embracing New Beginnings
As JoAnne shares the reasons behind her departure from the Today Show, she gracefully embraces new beginnings. The podcast captures the essence of transitioning from one chapter of life to another, inspiring the listeners to embrace change fearlessly. Learn about her newest project and her passion for educating women about menopause.
Motherhood and the Unimpressed Teenagers
As the conversation shifts to family life, I ask JoAnne about her experience as a mother to two boys. With candor and humor, she confesses that her kids, like many teenagers, don’t find her cool at all. Despite her illustrious career and the glamour of the television industry, her boys view her as just mom, not the impressive TV producer she is. Listeners can relate to the amusing realities of parenthood and the unyielding “coolness” criteria of teenagers.
The SNL Legacy – From Nostalgia to Modernity
JoAnne shares her fascination with SNL and how it remains a cultural phenomenon, even today. She admits that her teenage son doesn’t share her enthusiasm for attending a live SNL show. JoAnne chuckles, reflecting on how times have changed. While SNL continues to thrive, it becomes evident that both generations, past and present, have their unique perspectives on entertainment.
The Evolution of the Today Show – A Transformational Journey
I inquire about the Today Show’s transformation into a lifestyle-focused program. JoAnne explains that the decision to introduce fun segments with Florence Henderson was a smart business move. It saved costs, utilized the existing crew, and tapped into Florence’s charm as a host. This insightful glimpse into the show’s evolution highlights the creative dynamics behind producing a successful morning show. This led to what became Kathy Lee and Hoda and is now Hoda and Jenna.
Kathy Lee’s Secret Recipe – Unscripted Brilliance
I take the opportunity to share my experience interviewing Today Show co-anchor, Hoda Kotb, revealing the transition from news-style television to the unscripted magic of Hoda and Kathy Lee’s dynamic.
Check out my interview with Hoda Kotb and her rise to co-anchor at NBC:
JoAnne fondly recalls how Kathy Lee’s refusal to use an earpiece brought a refreshing authenticity to their show. The absence of scripted prompts enabled spontaneous conversations and genuine connections with their audience. This candid look behind the scenes shows the power of authenticity in creating enduring television magic.
A Relatable Struggle – The Battle of the Reading Glasses
Laughter ensues as both JoAnne and I bond over the common struggle of wearing reading glasses. She playfully describes her collection of various glasses for different activities. The shared realization that age brings unexpected adjustments elicits knowing nods from the audience. The banter about reading glasses serves as a lighthearted reminder that aging gracefully involves embracing the quirks and adapting to life’s changes.
JoAnne Meets Cher – A Dream Come True
As the conversation continues, JoAnne shares one of her favorite memories from her illustrious tenure at the Today Show—the unforgettable encounter with the legendary Cher. A devoted Cher fan since childhood, she vividly recalls attending her first Sonny and Cher concert as a twelve-year-old. Years later, when working as a page at the Letterman show, she got an unexpected opportunity to meet her idol, Cher.
With enthusiasm and admiration, JoAnne describes the surreal moment when Cher walks in, looking as fabulous as ever. Cher’s kindness and grace during the encounter left her overjoyed. Later, when working with Kathy Lee, JoAnne had the pleasure of playing spin the bottle with Cher on the show. Cher’s warmth and genuine nature made her dreams come true, solidifying Cher’s status as a cherished icon.
Unbottling the Ageless Spirit
Living Ageless and Bold continues to showcase extraordinary women, inspiring stories, and unforgettable moments, reminding us all that age is just a number. JoAnne LaMarca Mathisen’s dazzling career journey, combined with her encounters with Cher, captivates the hearts of listeners, encouraging them to pursue their passions and embrace every moment of life’s beautiful journey. Stay tuned for more awe-inspiring episodes, where Living Ageless and Bold continues to celebrate bold women, unforgettable memories, and the magic of living agelessly.
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