Today, I spoke with Samantha Ettus, who just launched her new online video series called Obsessed TV, in collaboration with Gary Vaynerchuk. Samantha has had bestselling books, done interviews with celebrities and has been on TV many times. In this interview, she talks to us about her new show, how she’s able to get in contact with celebrities, what it takes to sell yourself on TV and more.
Samantha, what is it like working with Mr. Gary Vay-ner-chuk? What led you into that relationship/partnership for your new show?
When the two of us get together it is an explosion of energy. Gary was a contributor to my most recent book, The Experts’ Guide to Doing Things Faster. He wrote a chapter on how to understand wine faster. We met for drinks to talk about the book and found out how much we had in common. Before launching my book series, I had started the first ever marketing firm for personality-driven brands and as you know, he is obsessed with personal branding. We are also both passionate entrepreneurs. We hit it off instantly.
What are you OBSESSED about and what types of people will appear on your show?
I have a hyperactive curiosity gene – I am obsessed with discovering the most compelling people among us and bringing their stories to life. On Obsessed TV my aim is to bring viewers only the guests I am passionate about. You will meet the most charismatic and talented experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and best-selling authors. I look for those with an undeniable spark and then my job is to help them convey that and make you obsessed with them in the course of one interview.
You used to be an author and TV correspondent and now you have an online TV show. What made you switch and why do you think the web is so valuable for content distribution?
I don’t think of it as a switch. I see it more as an evolution. My Experts’ Guide book series is an anthology format of how-to’s written by the world’s leading experts. As the creator of the book series (rather than the author), I functioned more like a producer. My favorite part and the biggest challenge of putting my books together has always been finding the perfect expert to convey information in an informative yet entertaining way.
With Obsessed TV I am still picking people, only now I have an even wider net I can cast because I am not constricted by specific how-to categories. Instead I am looking for the most engaging and talented personalities in an effort to unleash their untold stories.
What are your top 3 tips for having a successful TV appearance?
- Don’t hold back. Aim to give the audience a sense of who you are rather than worrying about projecting a certain persona. Authenticity is key in this medium.
- Tell stories. When you talk in color people connect with you more deeply.
- Look the interviewer in the eye. And of course, smile!
You’ve connected with a lot of celebrities. How do you meet them and convince them to appear on your show?
I am the cold calling queen – from Donald Trump to Rachael Ray, these people have contributed to my book series as the result of cold calls. If I want to get to someone, I will. And now, with social media, the middle man is often removed. It is easier to get to people now than ever. As far as convincing people to be on the show, unless you are Brad Pitt, you really don’t have a chance to show people who you are. Even really famous celebrities are interviewed for only 2-3 minutes on national TV.
Obsessed TV is the first show to give people a chance to get to know the person behind the name. Our first episode – featuring food personality Mark Bittman was viewed more than 3000 times in the first 24 hours and will live online forever. Our show gives celebrities and experts a chance to showcase their personalities to the world. Who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity?
Samantha Ettus is obsessed. If she loves something – a person, a thing, an experience, a feeling — she is driven to tell everyone about it. As the co-creator, co-producer and host of OBSESSED TV, Samantha spreads her passion for passionate people through informal, in-depth interviews with the leaders of fashion, media, medicine, parenting, food, work, love and every facet that shapes our everyday. She is the creator of the bestselling Experts’ Guides, published by Random House. he has appeared frequently on a variety of national TV shows including the TODAY Show, The Early Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Inside Edition, and Your World with Neil Cavuto. Samantha was the host of the iVillage “iCelebrate” series for NBC and has been a television correspondent on WNBC’s and NYCTV’s New York 360°.