The Hollywood Reporter caught up with show business personalities who got their feet wet in the industry as interns in the legendary NBC Page program. They span generations, from NBC Parks & Recreation star Aubrey Plaza (2005), to iconic daytime TV personality and entertainer Regis Philbin (1955).
TV newsers who participated in the program include former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel (1960), a trio of NBC Newsers in Dateline NBC ep Liz Cole (1991), Today Show ep Don Nash (1989) and former Today weatherman Willard Scott (1950), The View co-host Sara Haines (2001), and CNBC on-air reporter Courtney Reagan (2005).
Cole worked on Letterman:
…it was just fun to be around the swirl of Dave at that time. Everyone wanted the Letterman assignment. And it was really cool if you got to be the one who opens the door when Letterman went into the studio because the audience could maybe, just maybe, see a tiny piece of you in the background and of course your mom would get really excited.”
Reagan worked on Dateline:
“My most memorable moment was at Dateline. One of the producers came over to me and said, ‘We’re doing our next run of To Catch a Predator, and we need online profiles but all of our staff is too old and their old photos would look dated. Would you mind providing photos of you when you were 13?’ So they created a profile with old pictures of me, and when it aired, they said, ‘This is the picture that we used to lure the predators in but really was one of our Dateline staffers …’ They never said my real name on air, but I got calls from people I hadn’t seen in years. So, yeah, technically my first time on national TV was as bait on To Catch a Predator.”
Haines had an especially emotional story, serving as a page on September 11:
I was a page on 9/11. At first they said, “Do not leave the building,” and then it was, “You all have to get out.” I lived in a railroad apartment with a roommate on 77th Street, and something like 17 pages came home with me that day because a lot of pages were commuting in. Many still write me every 9/11, “I remember being at your apartment.” Our page manager showed up and bought us all pizza. A few of us volunteered to come back in the next morning because they needed people to answer hotlines. We walked through the empty streets of New York at 5 in the morning on Sept. 12 to answer phones with [then CEO] Bob Wright’s assistant for people who had emergency questions. I was also appointed the head page of the anthrax testing site.