|THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS||VOLUME XX NUMBER 2 Winter 2005|
Roger Memos '79: Starting Over in L.A.
Renee is a getting a reality check and finds out she is manipulative and a spoiled brat. Denise is a bully and uses sarcasm as a kind of controlling behavior. Towanda needs to open the lines of communication and confront her husband about his aggressive behavior.
These women are sharing their lives with daytime television audiences on Starting Over. "The concept of the show is 'Real World meets Doctor Phil,'" says Roger Memos '79 of Los Angeles, coordinating producer on the show's second season. "We have six women of varied ages living together. They come to the house to reach goals and dreams, but they don't know how to overcome the obstacles to reach their goals."
That's where Roger comes in. "We have two life coaches and a psychologist to help the women along their way," he says. "I book the majority of the ' experts' on the show – Dr. Stan Katz, for example. He's the one who interviewed the kids in the Michael Jackson case." Indeed, on a recent episode, there is Dr. Katz talking to Towanda's husband about behavior and communication.
"I oversee a department of three. We are also responsible for booking the locations where we shoot in town. There are 90 episodes in the season," Roger reports.
How did Roger get from Keene to L.A.? "I was a special education major at KSC. On my third day of teaching at Temple Street School in Nashua, I told another teacher that I was going to move to Hollywood," he recalls. "I knew then in my heart of hearts that it was a dream I had to chase. The following September, I made the move to L.A. to attend film school at Loyola Marymount University. It was a major turning point in my life."
Next came "countless" years as a waiter and starving screenwriter. "When I reached my saturation point with waitering," Roger says, "I took a job as a freelance researcher on PM Magazine. That led to an opportunity as a researcher on Entertainment Tonight. Eventually, I graduated to associate producer on Suzanne Somers's talk show. For the next eight years, I worked on many popular daytime talk shows; my favorites were Donny & Marie and George & Alana."
Roger also worked as an associate producer on documentaries for Lifetime and PBS, as well as variety specials, award shows, and telethons. Two years ago, he was producing film packages on the Daytime Emmy Awards. "I interviewed Art Linkletter," he says. "Now that's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
And here's a once-in-a-lifetime coincidence. Roger met his wife, Laurie, in 1986 while waiting tables. "Long story short," he says, "I discovered that Laurie's grandfather, Rolland Spaulding, and her great-uncle, Huntley, were both governors of New Hampshire. She was stunned I knew who they were. I was stunned that the Spaulding Gymnasium I walked by for four years was named after her uncle! Laurie was born in Hollywood, but her mother was born in Rochester, N.H."
But back to Hollywood, where Roger describes his current project, Starting Over, as "a very nice daytime reality show. It's a daunting but rewarding job. As a former educator, I feel compelled to use the power of television to educate as well as to entertain."
The show is nationally syndicated, and you can find out which station carries it in your area by visiting the web site, www.startingovertv.com. Watch it at 10 a.m. on WMUR Channel 9 in New Hampshire and WCVB Channel 5 in Boston; in Los Angeles, tune in at noon on KNBC Channel 4.