Interview with Lew Marklin
Lewis Marklin Mash a.k.a. Lew Marklin is the host and star of Icon News, a celebrity talk show airing in 2011 September on Dish Network, TUFF TV, America One and CBS. We made a short interview with him:
When did you start to be a celebrity talk show host and how did you land on this job?
You know, it’s a very long story. I went to school in Santa Barbara California to study broadcast journalism and began dreaming of being a newscaster. I interned in the ABC News room where I worked for the next five years in production as a cameraman, editor and eventually producer. My dream of being a newscaster grew to wanting to be a TV show host of a late night show or news show. I wanted more out of my dream, so I set out to develop ADHDtv in 2005, which eventually made air in 2007! It was quite an accomplishment and more work than I can even say. All of a sudden my friends wondered where I was, because they never saw me anymore. I literally worked 18-20 hours a day and would cat nap with the lights on, on top of a made bed that literally would not have its covers pulled back for a month or more at a time. It was insane but I would not accept defeat. It was a learning process, but I internally felt this comfort, like it was something I had been groomed at a young age to do, so I expected a lot of myself. When I was 2 or 3 years old, my dad started to record my voice on a reel-to-reel recorder and play it back to me. It became one of my favorite things to do with my father, who passed away when I was a teenager. I had a step brother in law who was a helicopter camera man for NBC when I was a kid, and my dad always talked about how great Carl was, and how great NBC was. When I was ten, an airplane crashed in our neighborhood and Carl landed the NBC helicopter in a schoolyard down the street to see if we were ok. I thought that was bigger than life. He later went on to be a president of NBC and I thought I would sort of follow in those footsteps and make my father proud. With Icon News, I sort of rode the success of ADHDtv into a new project. I was developing Icon News before ADHDtv ended. One day I explained the concept with my agent, Melissa McComas, at Tsunami, and she loved it. She felt that the show would be a huge hit, so I gathered the crew, found a studio and two weeks later we were in production! Sometimes, as I have learned, you must create a job, rather than wait around for someone to hire you or notice you. People are too busy to expect them to read your mind and if my plan is to add my resume to the mile high stack, at any given network, I better get my burger flipping apron on cause it’s gonna be a long, cold, winter!
How do you describe a busy day in your life being in the entertainment industry yet having offices in LA and New York?
It is very demanding. I must keep up with the two time zones and remember where everyone is at, from one coast to the other. I had to train myself to sleep early so I can get up early to field phone calls, do radio interviews and hit the gym. I usually wake up at 4:30 AM, get my coffee and check the net, read and respond to emails and then hit the gym by 6:00 am for aerobics. I hit the weights for an hour, then swim a mile or so, sit in the hot tub to meditate and plan my day. I head to the office, check in with my agent, Melissa and my publicist, Audra. Some days I run 6 miles instead of the gym. Vitality is essential.
I spend the day in meetings, on the phone, in postproduction facilities and on the net planning and connecting projects and people. Alongside running Atomic Lawn Entertainment and producing on 4 or 5 different shows, I am also a signed producer with Tsunami, run a boating company called Salem Water Adventures, a hometown media company called Art of Cut Productions, work on several humanitarian causes and run the Broadcast Media Department of my church, as a volunteer. The gym is literally the only place where I am not working. There I am “working OUT!” I really enjoy being busy and somehow I am usually able to tie it all together so I can multi task effectively. I was born and raised in Southern California but a friend advised me about five years ago to expand into either Chicago or New York. I tried both and New York worked. We started getting some projects, so I maintained presence. Chicago didn’t work so well, but maybe someday we’ll revisit the idea!
Besides hosting talk shows, you have also produced 'Arise & Shine' which is a Christian TV show. Are you a Christian and are there any effects about this status on how you operate in the entertainment industry?
Yes, Arise & Shine is an interesting project. I began working with my pastor, Nathan Webber, on the show this year and I really felt compelled to produce it. It was a surprise to many of my friends in Hollywood who had no idea that I am a Christian. It is funny how people can perceive you to be, and when they find out that you are a church boy, it shocks them. I have always felt that I do my best preaching without words. I just try and let my actions speak on behalf of my faith, and hopefully as I grow and mature, my actions will become a predictable habit that others can count on. Integrity is a very important thing to me. I don’t think that I am a good person because I became a Christian. I tend to believe, on the contrary, that I was raised well by my parents and was a pretty good person, so church was a good fit for me, because it lined up with what my parents taught me. I think that my faith is a very important part of who I am. I will pick and chose projects based on that sometimes. I turned down an MMA fight show this last year because I did not agree with the show’s content. It included sex, lewd behavior and continuous bleeped out language and I just don’t want anything to do with that kind of content. At the time, I was seriously in need of an income, and could not afford to turn down a project, but I was not willing to sell my soul or sell out my beliefs for a quick buck. I believe I have a responsibility to the general public that my shows entertain and I believe that my children and your children deserve a safe world to grow up in. If I start peddling that junk, I may as well go down to the corner and hand out grenades, because, just as sure, I will be destroying another piece of the fabric that makes this world the wonderful place that it is. In my defense, UFC president and founder Dana White, found the project to be purely offensive to MMA and threw a fit when it was presented to him, as I heard recently from another source! We make decisions every day that we have to live with and I believe that my Christianity is another great checks and balance in my life. I got guys that will call me or email me at any given time and call me on stuff if I’m going off the deep end and that accountability is huge!
For Icon News, how did you loose the extra 60 pounds in 60 days? Which methods did you attempt to get the desired weight?
Yes! This year I had ballooned up to 306 pounds and I had to get in shape to shoot Icon News. I have battled my weight all my life, since I was a kid, so gaining and losing weight was nothing new to me, but this time I was up against the wall and bigger than I had ever been. It was very discouraging. Some friends at the church and my buddy Randy Merriweather, who once played defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, challenged me to a weight loss contest. Anyone who knows me, knows that I won’t turn down a challenge and I hate losing more than I like winning! So that became the motivation I needed to hustle! I decided that my goal was 60 pounds in 60 days. I really felt that I could accomplish it. For me, once I come out and make a statement, I got my reputation riding on it and I will make it happen come hell or high water.
First, I cut my calories to about 200-400 calories a day and showed up to the gym at 6:00 am for an aerobics class. I couldn’t jog more than a couple blocks, so I started walking about 4 or 5 miles. I had to find some really good stretch shorts so I wouldn’t get rashes between my legs. That first aerobics class was ridiculous, painful and uncoordinated at best! The instructor, Kristy Hudson (hint hint…look her up on Beachbody.com She’s awesome!) had this look on her face, like “Oh my word, this guy is going to have a heart attack and drop dead right here in my class! The aerobics motivated me. Being surrounded by a bunch of fit mothers was awesome. I didn’t want to be outdone by a bunch of women, so I tried like crazy to keep up and those ladies kicked my butt good!
As for the food intake; mostly a can of tuna, or piece of chicken and lots of veggie nibbling at first for 30 days. Then I doubled my max to 1000 calories. Amazingly, once you get used to 500, 1000 feels like your splurging. Ok, so I could go on and on. By the 60th day I was working out 6-7 days a week, running 6 miles, swimming a mile and giving those ladies a run for their money. I did not touch weights outside of the aerobics class until 60 days passed. Now I am benching 315 pounds, but that is another conversation!
What is your main job satisfaction in working on these areas? What will be a great challenge for you in the near future?
My main satisfaction in all of this, so far, is that I had a dream and I saw it through to fruition. I was in danger of going down in history as just another dreamer and I was well aware of that. I had performed as a music artist for many years and had lots of potential but time eventually ran out, so this time around I needed to be focused and draw a specific line in the sand, set a goal and stick to it. Television is a very competitive arena. There were times that I felt overwhelmed and wanted to give up and then I would remind myself that I need to follow this one through to the end and accept whatever the outcome would be. I didn’t want to be a quitter and no one would ever know whether I had it in me, if I didn’t go the distance. Faith is a funny thing and not easy to come by. You only get to drop out of the race so many times in life before you begin to believe in your mind and heart that you cannot achieve your goals. Others sort of work the same way. The commentators in the booth begin to get cynical, call you soft, a bad finisher with no follow through. They’ve already counted you out before you get to the starting line. It even happens with guys like Tiger Woods, who is arguably the greatest golfer to ever walk the planet, and just two short years after a mishap, the commentators are calling washed up and loser who can’t finish, even though the guy is still number 11 in the world. Scary!
So I think that my greatest satisfaction in this project is just taking it from start to finish, showing that my team and I are capable of making it happen on a larger scale than the last show. The next challenge will be stepping up to the next level, either with Icon News, or a new show that is the next size up, so to speak. This will fulfill me on so many levels, and be a very personal testament to my many long hours and hard work, learning my craft and testing my theories in practice. There are many great causes that I have had the sheer pleasure of working with, and truth be told, the better these shows do, the more I am able to bring to the table for these causes and that is also very important to me and my inner circle. We would love to shake the world on behalf of human rights and that is our next great challenge!
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