For a girl who wanted to work behind the television camera as a producer instead of in front of one as talent, Wichitan Dana Fleming’s face has appeared on television screens thousands of times.
You can see her again on a show she’s done annually for the past dozen years. The show, “The Road to Gold: An Academy Awards Preview,” will air on KAKE-TV, Channel 10, at noon Feb. 26.
She went to New York earlier this month to tape the show with co-host Sandy Kenyon, whom she has hosted with for the past several years. Before that, she worked for nine years with well-known film critic Joel Siegel, who passed away in 2007.
“I enjoy working with Sandy, but I still miss Joel,” Dana said. “Everyone knew him and knew he was the most well-respected and loved critic in the country.”
For several years, Dana and Joel did three shows: an Oscar preview, a holiday preview and a summer preview. Now it’s one show annually when it’s time for the Oscars.
“We start at 9 in the morning and work until 4 or 5 in the afternoon. It takes a whole day, complete with makeup and hair and voice-overs. The hair and makeup people, Michelle Champagne and Diane D’Agostino, are miracle-workers,” Dana said.
While she’s quick to give everyone else involved in the show lots of credit, executive producer Art Moore says he is very happy with the co-host from Kansas. He is the producer you see on the “Live! With Kelly” show.
“Dana brings the right personality to what that show is about, and she has a good chemistry with the co-host,” he said.
Moore said he noticed Dana when she was working in Philadelphia at a competing station.
“I always paid attention to her because she had a unique quality,” he said during a phone interview.
The admiration is mutual. “He is the nicest man there is. He’s the reason I got to co-host with Regis (Philbin) all those times,” Dana said. “Everyone in New York knows him.”
Dana has two daughters and one son and, although she probably could get a lot more television work if she lived in New York or Los Angeles, she’s a Wichitan through-and-through. But earlier in her career, she lived other places. She and I laughed remembering the time I went to Los Angeles to do a story about her career in 1999. She was co-hosting “The Home Show” with Gary Collins. What I remember most was getting up and going to the studio with her at 4:30 a.m.
She has a lot of fun stories from interviews with everyone from Jimmy Carter to Jim Carrey. When Kevin Costner gave her a hard time for using notes that were hidden from the camera while interviewing him, she responded by picking up the notes and slapping him on the leg with them. If you’d like to see this, go to DanaFlemingMedia.com and click on REEL.
She said Jim Carrey was so bothered when Dana told him her younger daughter was afraid of him in “The Grinch” that he gave her a Grinch hat to give to her daughter. “Just tell her it was really just Uncle Jim playing the Grinch,” he told her.
“It’s Steve Doocy’s fault I ended up in front of the camera. He sent a tape to Kansas City,” Dana said. Now Doocy, who was a co-host and executive producer of PM Magazine here on KAKE, is on Fox News.
While attending Wichita State University, Dana worked for KWCH and KAKE. After graduation, when she got the job in Kansas City, she said she thought: “Oh well, at least I won’t be embarrassed because my friends and family aren’t up there.”
I’m looking forward to seeing the Oscar preview show, not just because Dana is co-hosting, but because Moore says there are some “interesting new features that viewers will enjoy.”
Noon, Feb. 26, Channel 10. Tune in.
Want to be a model?
At the Women’s Fair, you can take part in the International Model Search sponsored by Models and Images and Power 93.9. The search is for males and females 13 years old and older and boys and girls 5 years and older. You will walk the runway in front of judges and an audience. You wear your own outfit and answer a quick impromptu question on stage. You need to be at Century II, 225 W. Douglas, at 12:15 p.m. Sunday. The entry fee is $25. For no additional cost, you can take a two-hour crash course in modeling at 6 p.m. Thursday at Century II Expo Hall. Call 316-612-9070 for more information.
Speaking of Women’s Fair
Please swing by and meet me! I’ll be at The Eagle’s booth from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturday.
Need a prom dress?
The price is right at Gown Town: free! Yes, show your school ID, and you can choose from hundreds of prom dresses and evening gowns. This year, Gown Town is at Friends University’s Casado Campus Center, 2100 W. University, from 4 to 8 p.m. March 9 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10. Guys, you can find a suit if you need one. On-site alternations and accessories based on donation availability. If you want to donate a gown, drop it off at one of the 15 In The Bag Cleaners locations. To find the location nearest you, go to www.inthebagcleaners.com.
See a wide assortment of fashions from several local retailers at the Models for Miracles Fashion Show, a benefit for the Children’s Miracle Network. The show is at 4 p.m. March 4 at the Hilton Doubletree, formerly the Airport Hilton, 2098 Airport Road. This will be a fun event featuring teens, youth and adults from local schools and community organizations strutting their stuff on the runway in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Miracle Network. Get the $5 tickets by going to modelsformiracles.com or at the door the evening of the show.