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  • Writer's pictureVinnie Favale

Ten Minutes With...Leta Powell Drake

Leta Powell Drake and Brian Kelsey

Brian Kelsey is the host and creator of “Ten Minutes with Brian Kelsey” and someone I've known since we worked together on Howard Stern's K-Rock radio show.

Back then, Brian was this whiz kid producer who created these incredible audio packages, not only for Stern's morning show, but for the entire station.

We lost touch over the years but recently re-connected when I heard that he was producing and hosting a new talk show. Being a fan of Brian's work and having spent most of my career in late night as the CBS executive overseeing the Late Show with David Letterman, I was real curious to see what Brian would come up with.

To say I was blown away is putting it mildly. Brian built (to scale) a replica of a late-night talk show set in the garage of his home in Westport, CT. and in his words he's producing and hosting “A celeberty-ish talk show…in a garage.”

He posted a series of videos of how on his YouTube Channel taking the viewer through the entire process...from set construction to lighting to music...which he did all on his own (it helps that in addition to being a great producer he is also an expert in do-it-yourself home renovations!)

So far so good...the set looked incredible, production value was broadcast quality...but the true test was to see whether Brian could book good guests, get them to his garage in Westport and oh yeah do a great interview on top of all that. Well the answer is an emphatic YES!

His first batch of episodes featured a variety of guests including CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, actress Stephanie Szostak, singer Gino Vanelli and Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz. After watching the sizzle reel (which of course Brian put together beautifully) I wanted to find a way to work together.

Ten Minutes With...Alisyn Camerota, Stephanie Szostak, Gino Vanelli and Chris Frantz.

The timing was perfect because I discovered Brian’s show the same week that the Leta Powell Drake interview video went viral and thought that Brian could learn a few things from Ms. Drake. So I pitched Kelsey the idea of having Leta on his show and being the great producer that he is, he readily agreed and quickly locked in the interview with the now much in demand Ms. Drake.

For those of you who don't know, Leta hosted a talk show in the 70’s on KLN in Nebraska, interviewing a who’s who of movie and tv stars including Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton and Kirk Douglas.

In November, movie blogger John Frankensteiner put together a video compilation and tweeted: "Currently obsessed with Leta Powell Drake, the greatest interviewer of all time." and within a day it had amassed over 8 million views.

With an interview style that's been described as having the charm of Mary Hart, the enthusiasm of Jimny Glick and the bluntness of Mike Wallace, it's no surprise that Leta captured America’s heart.

She also captured Brian's heart. He did a great job interviewing Leta who has not lost a bit of her energy and humor after all these years.

You can watch the interview here!

You can read more about Leta Powell Drake's incredible career here.

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