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TV figures: overworked for entertainment

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By ANA MEJIA

Many people think that television show host Wendy Williams faked fainting on a live broadcast of on Halloween. To be honest, I thought so as well when I watched the video. Her facial expression was weird and it was an uncomfortable thing to watch. Williams later rejoined the segment and explained that she had overheated in her Statue of Liberty costume under the bright set lights and suddenly passed out. Additionally, she said she was going through some personal health issues. That leaves the question open: are TV personalities overworked?

The Wendy Williams show has been on air since 2008. It is broadcast live in front of a studio audience, which adds the pressure of not being able to do repeat takes, and it is taped from Monday to Thursday. It is surprising and even admirable that this is the only time this has happened to her in all these years.

In fact, Williams is not the first TV personality to faint during a live broadcast. Last year, BBC weather presenter Rachel Mackley became short of breath and tripped backwards during a live weather report.

Even though television pays well, it can be overwhelming and exhausting. Live tapings happen on a daily basis, the entertainment industry never stops going and there is always something to show.

Everything has to be timed and executed perfectly and the host’s well-being is often sacrificed for production quality. We see the lives of these celebrities as glamorous and cool, but we fail to see beyond the cameras to the pressure they face from producers and audiences. Like the professional she is, Williams came back after a commercial break and said, “That was not a stunt. I was overheated in my costume; I did pass out. But you know what? I’m a champ, and I’m back.”

As college students, our biggest responsibilities are school, work and relationships with family and friends. We get stressed out during finals week for papers and tests so much, we think it is the end of the world. Imagine the pressure a television broadcaster feels. Even worse, imagine the aftermath of fainting on live tv.

Williams had people saying she faked it; I mean, it is understandable to think she faked the whole thing, given that it was Halloween and that it would not be a surprise given how the TV industry is. Others criticized her for her age and the worst part is she had to stand up and continue her broadcast, because “the show must go on.” Then she probably got home to rest, but by that moment her name was already in every news outlet available. I googled the word “fainted,” and after its definition, the next search results read: “Wendy Williams explains why she fainted on-air” over and over again.

As she stated, she will continue her professional life with this as a wakeup call. As it must be for not only other television personalities. But also, television producers, who are the ones that exert the pressure on the celebrities. Wendy Williams is on the way to her 1500th show. She is a star and a professional and will continue to make great TV.

Ana Mejia can be reached at ana.mejia@spartans.ut.edu

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