After 6 weeks, 6 contestants and 3 challenges, we ended The Tastemaker competition today. The 11th and final episode was posted on MSN announcing the winner. For those of you who may be out of the loop, I've been hosting, The Tastemaker web series on MSN for the past 2 months and I must say it's been a blast. I've been able to flex a different muscle hosting this show and feel so fortunate to have worked with an incredible team of people. From the contestants who literally gave up their lives to partake in our time consuming social media savvy challenges, to our 3 awesome judges (biz guru Kelly Perdew, Twitter maven Stefanie Michaels and filmmaker Jason Pollock) and the wonderful crew. Our EP Scott Ehrlich is also the wiz behind the incredible franchise launched on Hulu, The LXD. An additional shout out to MSN and Reed Price for supporting this project completely!
Looking back, there's a lot that we could improve on, but I do believe this is a concept that resonates in this world where we're all looking towards social media and the online space to connect and create new opportunity. When describing the show, I would tell people--"it's like The Apprentice, but for social media". I really do believe the time is now for a show like this and it's something the public not wants to watch but participate in as well.
If you missed the series, you can still watch it in its entirety at TASTEMAKER.MSN.COM. In the meantime, the finale is below. Enjoy and remember to stay connected... at least until you're done watching the video
Recently, I've had the opportunity to join the fun IFC family doing some segments for their new weekly show, The Grid. I have to say, I happen to also be a big IFC fan. Their randomly awesome films, Freaks and Geeks reruns, Food Party and new David Cross show, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, all rock!
In the segment below I talk to Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio.com the company behind the biggest app in the world right now- Angry Birds:
I had the honor of going to the White House last week to interview the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. We took questions beforehand and during the live stream, which aired on MSN.com and WhiteHouse.gov. It was such an incredible opportunity to do live chat (which I already love doing), but to do it from the White House and talk about such an important and relevant issue on the minds of all Americans right now might it that much more special.
You can also read the transcript of the interview HERE.
I'll be honest, a big reason I wanted to be involved with "The Tastemaker" is that I was really drawn to the 2nd challenge, which contestants are taking on right now. Education is very important to me. My mom is a coordinator for children with special needs so I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where learning was supported, nurtured and well, cool! While we have so many tools today that allow anyone to do anything and really manifest their destiny in so many ways without a formal education, we can't forget the importance of knowledge and curiosity. That's something that begins not only at home but at school.
For the 2nd challenge, we have teamed up with the "Get Schooled" campaign. With assistance from Viacom and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the "Get Schooled" campaign is working to engage and empower Americans to help improve high school graduation rates, improve college readiness and raise college completion rates. Each team of two has been given the task to create a PSA and urge their fans to create and upload their own as well. They were also given a director's toolkit including graphics and celeb messages from Fantasia, Ludacris and Shaq to include in their videos. The winning PSA will not only appear on the show but on MTV. I have to say, I'm impressed with what each team produced. Watch the episode below and be inspired to submit your own video too by Tuesday Oct. 5th at midnight!
I couldn't be more honored and excited to be hosting a live-stream at the White House this coming Friday with Arne Duncan, The Secretary of Education. The chat will be hosted live on MSN.com and WhiteHouse.Gov- submit your questions now RIGHT HERE.
I've always wanted to host a reality competition and now I've been given the opportunity to blend all my passions--hosting, tech and social media into one fun show. The Tastemaker launched last week (here's the Tubefilter article about it), with 12 episodes running through October 21st and new one's airing every Monday and Thursday. I like to describe it as The Apprentice for social media. We have 6 contestants, which will be weeded down to the winner who will win The Tastemaker title and $10,000 dollars. Each task is judged by our 2 great judges--Kelly Perdew (winner of The Apprentice Season 2) and Stefanie Michaels (@adventuregirl on Twitter with over 1 million followers). Be sure to check it out at TASTEMAKER.MSN.COM to watch, follow the competition and vote for your favorite contestant.
Also, if you're in LA it's Social Media Week this entire week. The Tastemaker is hosting the opening and closing night parties, so be sure to RSVP for a fun evening celebrating all things social media and to schmooze with me and the contestants.
If you've seen my blog on CBSNews.com, I've been pretty addicted to getting exclusives with people who go viral online, whose videos or stories seem to strike a cultural chord and spread like wildfire. It's something that has become fascinating to me--tracking down these unknowns and sometimes building some sort of virtual connection to them. Earlier this summer, I was the first to interview HungryBear9562, who has since become known to many as the "Double Rainbow" dude:
Then one week, TheChive.com released photos of a young women quitting her job using a dry erase board. It was later revealed that the assistant was actually an actress, Elyse Porterfield, hired by the site for the spoof. It became so popular that her name even began trending on Google. I couldn't help but snatch that interview too for CBSNews.com:
After Double Rainbow, one of the other most popular meme interviews I got was with the one and only Antoine Dodson, who many know from a local news segment that was then auto-tuned by the amazing Gregory Brothers to become "The Bed Intruder Song". The song, which was later available on iTunes made Internet history when it landed on the Billboard Hot 100.
My latest interview is with Jacob Isom, a 24-year old skateboarder from Amarillo, Texas who was plucked out of obscurity this week after stopping a public burning of the Quran:
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