Back to Reality

I’ve concluded yet another whirlwind tour of New York – my fifth since August. I flew in on Monday night for rehearsal for Live with Regis and Kelly on Tuesday. I usually stay in the theater district, but this time I decided to try a hotel within walking distance of the ABC studios. I stayed at the ultra-trendy Hudson hotel. This place is so with it there’s no sign out front. Just a big yellow facade with an eternal flame and a doorman in black slacks, white shirt, skinny black tie, and black pullover. The room was teensy – little bigger than the double bed – but the design is exquisite.
smhudson.jpg
NYC Pied a terre

I brought a video camera to put up a spycam, but the hotel didn’t have the advertised high-speed access in the rooms, so I didn’t set it up. If I had you would have seen the lovely wood-paneling and the table lamps with people’s faces on them. You would also have seen me trying to squeeze past the toilet to get to the shower. The bathroom was the size of my closet at home. Literally. Next time it’s the Tribeca Grand. I don’t mind small rooms, but I’ve got to have my high-speed Internet access!

The folks at Live neglected to tell me Regis was on vacation. I guess they have to keep it a secret or guests would bow out. It was a disappointment, but Kelly was very nice (she kissed me twice!) and it was interesting to meet her husband, Mark Consuelos, who was filling in for Reeg. The real disappointment was that I had 13 items to show and they only gave me four minutes to do it. I really had to hustle to try to get them all in, and I still missed a few. But the producers loved it and said I can come back any time. I think it’ll probably end up being something I do every three months.

The real bonus on this trip was a visit next door to the ABC news studios. At the last minute TechTV PR had booked an interview for me on World News Now, ABC’s overnight show. I went over Tuesday afternoon and got a tour of the facility, including the mailslots where the anthrax was found, the World News Tonight set, and Peter Jennings’s emergency staircase from his desk to the studio, for breaking stories. The highlight? I got to meet Peter Jennings and show him a couple of products. When I was doing Tech Live I studied Jennings – he’s the best anchor on TV – so it was a real thrill meeting him. I tried not to gush. He sits in a place they call The Rim. It’s a big round table with seats for the upper-level news editors. Each has a computer workstation behind him. Jennings was sitting there, right out in the open, working at his terminal. I showed him the Guy keyboard with keys layed out for hunt and peck typists, and Sony’s new tiny Handycam. He played with the Sony for a while and really liked it. (Note to Sony: send Peter a camera.)

I taped the interview with WNN’s anchor, Alison Stewart, at around midnight for airing at 2:30am. It was a good interview and I had plenty of time for the six items I had brought. They’ve posted the video on their web site. I think I’ll be doing more with World News Now. They’re very interested in tech, and the Executive Producer is a real fan of The Screen Savers. She even owned a copy of my book! They gave me a big plug for the book on the web site. Thanks, Sharon!

I flew back last night and got in late. Fortunately, no one noticed the taser in my checked bags. Darci had put a big sign on the case saying “this is not a toy.” I had visions of being dragged off in handcuffs. I tried to declare it but no one seemed to know what I was talking about.

These trips are still a lot of fun, but to be honest, I hope I don’t have to go back to NYC for at least a couple of months. I love New York, but I’m looking forward to staying home for a little while. I miss my bed, and I miss The Screen Savers!

29 Replies to “Back to Reality”

  1. They should of had less talk in the beginning of the show
    and more time for your segment!
    Keep up the good work Leo.

  2. While in NY, you should have looked for a vacant box in Central Park. I’m sure it wouldn’t be as exquisite as the Hudson, but it would fulfill your desire to live there.

  3. When my family stayed in NYC a couple of summers ago we stayed at a place called Hotel Beacon which had room to accomadate six people in one big room (hard to find anywhere) at a reasonable price (impossible to find in NYC) we were quite happy with it. I can’t remember if they had ethernet, but that was a couple of years ago anyway. It was like an apartment with a small kitchen, a living room and two bedrooms (each the size of your average hotel room) anyway I suggest you check them out. It’s on broadway, Upper West Side, North of the times square area, but within a block or so of a red line subway station. Guess they’ve got a webpage now http://www.beaconhotel.com/ even if they don’t have ethernet, you’re bound to find a WiFi network in NYC someone has opened to the world…

  4. I travel to NY.. about 20 miles north of the city on a regular (bimonthly) schedule. Believe me when I say it can be a real chore. My condolences on your regularity.. although it probably beats irregularity.. 😉

  5. The Taser thing is a little concerning. I am very surprised with all the security they didnt question you on that. That would concern me, but I guess being in checked baggage it is not a threat. Your a braver person and I sir. I am being extra careful for my trip to Orlando for Lotusphere on saturday. Glad to see you enjoy NYC. I have lived here (well Long Island) my entire 30 years and it is still my favorite place.
    Anyway great segment Leo, I think it should be renamed Leo and Kelly Live. Who is the Regis anyway ?

  6. Leo, thanks for writing about your trip…. it was neat to hear about it and I am not surprised every one you met was thrilled with your work, you are the best! Arthur posted the link to the ABC web page over in Leoville and I really enjoyed that segment a lot, you were less rushed and you looked like you were having a better time, they know a good thing when they see it! It’s nice to know you have so many fans in the real world, huh, not just here in your science experiment called Leoville. :^)
    When I stay in NYC (which is much less often than your regular visits) I like to stay at the Marriott Marquis in Time Square, it can be pricey so it isn’t a bargain a lot of the time, but the views are great from the 30th floor up, …the last time I stayed there I had a view of Central Park, and the river and, of course, Times Square right below. They siad they had high speed internet for another $18 a day or something, but I didn’t use it and can’t vouch for it.
    Glad you’re back home safe and sound!

  7. Hi Léo!
    Fantastic job on World News Now. Thank for your letting us know of the posted video. I really want to check out that small digital video camera from Sony. Can’t wait until Moxio comes out. Hey, how about posting videos of all your appearances on Regis & Kelly?
    It is great to have you back on The Screen Savers. Got tired of Pat trying to make poor Martin look stupid (Martin was great!). Now that you are back, Pat can continue trying to show you up. You the man, Léo.
    Welcome back,
    – Michael J. Titera
    Fremont, California

  8. “I had a spycam but I didn’t set it up” – a likely story! Now you _know_ you’re responsible for giving us the details of your entire life, including those forays into the tiny shower or the mini-bar, so no slacking, mister!
    I’m so excited you got to do the ABC piece – plus the Real stream for it works very nicely even for those of us on dial-ups, and I can’t often say that. I’m sorry they did the bait and switch with Regis and his vacation, I seem to recall that tactic being covered on an episode of The Larry Sanders Show years back. I suspect that the real reason is that he’s intimidated by you and your SSP (Significant Screen Presence) and was home huddled under a blankie as you went on the air. 😉
    Jet-Setting Smooches,
    Jeannette

  9. Did you know Regis turned down hosting Millionaire when it goes into syndication soon? Maybe Leo could be the host and work at 2 networks like Regis. That would be a lot of work but it could be fun. You never know.

  10. Hey Leo,..your interview with ABC was very good you could do just about anything on TV,yes your that good.
    Oh yeah nice toys by the way. ^_^
    Did you get a chance to play Gore yet??
    The makers are 4drulers.com and the game comes out this spring.
    One of the best shooters i’ve seen to date,plus i run a server for it,called CJGramps,it’s fun and the moded server i run people have a blast playing.
    Well great shows and interviews,.. like i always say that Leo is going places. haha!!
    Thanks! ^_^

  11. Leo
    Great segment on ABC News. Thank you so much for sharing your travels and experiences the way you do. It is this kind of openness and sincerity that really adds that extra element that all of us fans adore.
    I must agree with all of the Peter Jennings comments. September 11 really defined him for me. I would watch him more, but there is a show on Tech TV that I like better (hmmmmmm…..)
    Thanks
    Chris

  12. Leo,
    I agree with your sentiments about Peter Jennings. I’m 37 and, like you, I wanna be Peter Jennings when I grow up. 🙂

  13. Hey Leo. Great spot on WNN.
    Does anybody know what that cool remote control was that Leo showed on that segment? I searched the TSS site but couldn’t locate info about it. It sounds pretty cool. It might come in handy for my Dad.

  14. I completely agree with you, Leo, that Peter Jennings is the best prime-time anchor on TV right now. (Charlie/Charles Gibson is a very close second, IMO.)
    Although I was a kid, I remember that, with JFK’s assassination, every set was tuned to Walter Cronkite. Although other networks covered it, just about everyone turned to Cronkite, almost intuitively. I felt the same way with Jennings on/after September 11. He has long been a consummate professional, and when we needed someone respected and trusted to keep us informed in a national emergency, there was no one better.
    Glad you got to meet him and get to see the neat stuff on the “cook’s tour”!

  15. Leo- The falsely advertisied hotel room broadband problem is not just limited to the Hudson (though I experienced the same issue there myself last June). I travel alot for work and 50% of the time hotels will advertise high speed internet and fail to actually have it in the rooms. I’ve found that Marriott’s and Ritz Carlton’s tend to be the best at delivering on the promises. I am now to the point that I call the hotel front desk before making a reservation and ask them. It’s still hit or miss, since some front-desk people can’t distinguish between HIGH SPEED access and just a simple rj-11 data jack on a regular 2 line phone.
    Anyway, I think TechTV news should do a story on this. Pick 10 random hotels (from cheap to expensive) that advertise as having high-speed access in the SF and NY areas and see if they are true to their claims…andthen confront the hotel managers Mike Wallace style….
    Another hotel to avoid in NYC if you want broadband in your room: Dylan Hotel (another boutique stylish hotel – 43rd and 5th)
    ps. what dod you think of that downstairs bar scene at the Hudson – yowza!

  16. Hey Mr. Leo Laporte,
    I wanted to comment on the Live show. I personally believe that they didn’t show you much love. They didn’t give you time to explain the gadgets you brought to the show. I believe if they stop talking so much you would have had enough time to show those hollywood people what the world of computers have to say. I was very excited to know you were going to be on the show,and I couldn’t wait for you to come on. Mr. Leo my boyfriend and I are a fan to your show (along with patrick, martin, and the whole gang), and we know what you talk about. Specially my boyfriend, by the way his name is Paul.
    I would also like to say “go geeks”…..
    Thank you for your time, hope you get to read this comment, It’ll mean alot. Good luck with everything that you do, and keep showing everybody that “THE SCREEN SAVERS RULE”……..

  17. Hey Leo,
    Great job, Alison is a blast.
    Next time your at ABC News let me know…I’ll give you the nickel tour of the ABCNEWS.com MediaLab. That’s where I produce the World News Now website and edit/encode all the streaming video.
    BTW: You can catch a live streaming video webcast of World News Now every day. It’s a little early in the morning (or late in the evening for all you Jolt-Cola drinking programmers) for most people. But the Left-coasters have the time difference working in their favor.
    Best,
    Steve

  18. Wouldn’t mind being Bill Schechner either. “Overnight” should still be on the air, IMO. (How I know about him: we used to get Channel 5 on the C-band satellite on which I first got you, and I watched the noon news on occasion. Even remember Jennifer!) Okay, back to topic . . . 🙂

  19. Glad to hear you had such a great time.
    That taser thing would have been also for the headlines, “Screensaver is terrorist.”
    You’re really bigtime Leo. Keep up the great work!

  20. Sounds like you had a great time. Glad the ABC thing worked out and you got to meet Peter Jennings.
    I’m not quite sure what you meant by “You would also have seen me trying to squeeze past the toilet to get to the shower” if you had the spycam setup. Hmmmm…?

  21. eh.. Leo.. hope ur lovely wife doesnt follow ur blogs!! ;-]
    “I love New York, but I’m looking forward to staying home for a
    little while. I miss my bed, and I miss The Screen Savers!”
    as a 10 yr bachelor thrice divorced… please dont follow my lead… I STEPPED ON THE ‘FLOATING STONES’ 3x!!! rofl..

  22. Hey, potential netcam shot of Leo going into shower and no thudding. The desensitizing sessions must be working!
    Seriously Leo, I wish they had given you more time on R&K but even with the time you had you were informative, fluid and unrattled. What a pro! I’m glad for the national exposure you’re getting but I’ll be honest I’m sure glad you’re back and on TSS. I’ve said it before, the show just isn’t the same when you’re away.

  23. A very interesting blog entry was waiting in my inbox for me to read this morning! What a way to wake up! I’m not up ten minutes this morning, and wham, thud! I had checked the Leo Cam page several times while you were in New York, just in case you set up one over there. If you had been able to set it up in the hotel, I would probably have a concussion right now from the thud that would have occured. 😉 I imagine Carol agrees with me. Not to mention EB, Daisy and some other Laporteans here!

  24. Forget Leo hosting “Who wants to be a Millionaire?”
    I just thought of a great new show for TechTV called “Who wants to be a Supergeek?”
    Leo would host, of course, regular geeks would be the contestant. Questions would be more specific to technology issues.
    (or)
    Perhaps a “Weakest Link” type show, (Weakest Geekest?) with the same technology question format. I’d love to see a celebrity week as well with Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Tim Bezos etc. Leo would tear them apart!

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