chatted with news anchor and fellow movie fan Lynda Halligan. She began her career working for the Creative Artists Agency. Lynda went on to host and produce Hollywood’s Top Ten for the ReelzChannel (see the below excerpt). She has also been a spokesperson for the shopping channel QVC as well as the consumer show Best Deals.
She is currently an anchor for CBS affiliate KBAK and Fox affiliate KBFX, where she is a morning anchor for Eyewitness News, near her native Los Angeles. You may also notice that her blogs are listed on the side of this one.
1. Lynda, you have had a lifelong love of movies and TV. When would you say was the moment that you knew you wanted to be on the screen yourself?
Lynda: I grew up acting and doing musical theater as a kid and I always liked making people laugh. I loved it, but I never wanted to pursue acting as a career. When I was younger, I WANTED to be a talk show host like Dinah Shore, Mike Douglas and Gary Collins, but I thought that was completely unrealistic (because it is). I was always a writer, but it wasn't until years later that I realized becoming a news anchor was actually a feasible career. Though I anchored the evening news for years, I'm much better suited for the morning format.
2. You are currently on Bakersfield Now as an anchor. How is being an anchor different from hosting a show like Hollywood’s Top Ten?
Lynda: I recently returned to Eyewitness News in Bakersfield, CA as the morning anchor. I worked at this station before from 2003 to 2007. There are many differences between anchoring here and hosting Hollywood's Top Ten on Reelz. Eyewitness News Mornings is a four hour live show with a lot of hard news, but room for entertainment, features and fun, as well. There's a male anchor, a weatherman and a reporter. Hollywood's Top Ten was "live to tape" meaning you only do a second take if something goes SERIOUSLY wrong. Top Ten was my baby; I was the host, writer and producer. The topic was already decided when I came on board, but other than that, I created it from scratch, along with the executive producer of original programming at Reelz. I poured my heart and soul into it. It was a ton of work and I didn't do much else for a couple years, but I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. Movies and entertainment are my passion, so it was the perfect fit for me.
3. You’ve interviewed stars such as Burt Reynolds. Are there any other famous names you hope to interview?
Lynda: I would love to interview Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey. They have both covered very serious topics and have interviewed countless celebrities, so I feel I would be able to live vicariously through them, in a sense.
4. You studied Criminal Justice and Social Behavior at the University of California. Given those topics, did you ever consider a career as a lawyer?
Lynda: When I was in high school, I DID want to be a lawyer. I was pretty much obsessed with every courtroom drama movie of the week that was based on a true story. When I realized that very little of the job actually takes place in a courtroom, I thought it might not be for me. A big part of my decision was also the fact that I was not willing to take on all the school loan debt to put myself through law school. All these years later, I still can't get enough of Dateline, 48 Hours Investigates, Forensic Files, Snapped, City Confidential... you name it. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I someday DID get my law degree.
5. What was it like doing shows for a network like QVC, which is known for its bargains?
Lynda: I'm a HUGE bargain shopper, so QVC was a great place for me. That company truly knows what it's doing. It's as successful as it is for a reason. I almost never buy anything at full price, so bring on the coupons, sales and BOGO deals!
6. You’ve also been a disc jockey. Aside from an audience only hearing you, how is that different from talking on television?
Lynda: I absolutely loved being a dj! At the time, I was a news anchor during the week and a dj on the weekends, so it was a nice change. I got to wear flip flops and shorts to work, instead of a stuffy suit. Nothing was scripted, so I could completely ad-lib and show my personality. And it was all positive, so I didn't have to give depressing news to anyone.
7. In addition, you’ve been a writer at Fox News and have a few blogs. Are there any future writing projects you have in store?
Lynda: I really hope to get back into my blogs. I'd love to be able to find time to make daily entries. I have loved writing since I was very young; it's one of the main reasons I got into broadcast news in the very beginning. One day, I WILL write a screenplay, I WILL write a novel and I WILL write a children's book.
8. You’ve worked in the casting of many films, such as Alaska (1996). What was that kind of work like?
Lynda: Feature film casting can be a blast, but expect to work hard and stay long hours... and be ready for everything to change at the drop of a hat.
I was fortunate enough to work for two of the nicest, coolest, gracious, most down to Earth casting directors in the world - Mary Gail Artz and Barbara Cohen. If it weren't for them, I don't know if I would have liked it as much. Actors always commented on how well they were treated by Mary Gail and Barbara, which is rare in the entertainment industry. They respected actors and wanted them to do well in their auditions. They were on their side.
9. Appropriately, you’ve appeared in a few films as a news anchor. Were those enjoyable experiences? Would you like to act in more movies?
Lynda: I've played a news anchor in a number of projects. Since I am a real news anchor, it's not really acting for me. As for acting in other projects, if it was something funny or off the wall, I would do it for fun, but I don't think I'm very good at the dramatic stuff. I prefer to "act" like my wacky old self as a tv host.
10. Do you plan to work in films in other capacities?
Lynda: I don't have any plans to work on more films at this point, but I like to keep busy, so if they come my way and I have time, I would be open to it.