By Dan Miller
December 15, 2008
I'm always appreciative when somebody tells me they've been inspired or somehow uplifted by what I do on TV.
You just never know who's watching, or listening, or reading what you write.
About 27 years ago, when I was producing my little Sunday night interview show Miller & Company here on Channel 4... one December night during the Christmas season, I decided to show a crackling fireplace, nothing else, for the entire 30 minutes.
It would, I figured, be a meaningful holiday gift for viewers who missed, or never had, a fireplace... allowing them to just sit and relax in front of their "TV fireplace."
People still mention that specific show to me.
It probably got more response than anything else I've done on television.
One letter in particular came from a couple who told me how much they'd enjoyed the gift of a virtual fireplace.
In fact, they told me that if their baby... due exactly nine months later... was a boy, they'd be naming it "Dan" as a way of saying "thanks" for the fireplace that night.
Now, that's an impact on viewers!
Another time, about 10 years ago, I was in New York to interview Maury Povich for a series we were doing on "reality" television shows.
As I waited in the hall at the production studios, the director of the Povich show came up to me... introduced himself... and told me that his inspiration for becoming a television director had taken shape as he worked as an intern at Channel 4 in the early 1980s.
He traced his passion directly back to watching the way we produced Miller & Company with unique staging, camera shots and interviewing style.
I was complimented that he had paid such attention our method of doing that program.
All this came to mind just the other day when I happened across an essay written by a young man named Chris Cerenelli, who works at WJET- TV in Erie, Pennsylvania.
With any luck, by CLICKING HERE you can read Chris's first entry on his personal, work-related blog.
It's the kind of thing an old guy like me enjoys reading.
I remember Chris well, and I believe he has a bright future in this industry.
For now though, I'm thinking of a long list of people who've stimulated and inspired my own life and career, people I've never really offered a shout-out of appreciation....
The list is long....
You'll have to take my word for that.
And, by the way, I still haven't heard whether there's a young man out there somewhere, in his mid-20s, named "Dan," whose parents might have gotten a real fireplace by now.