Happy New Year! I love this time of year when the weeks and months ahead yawn full of possibility and the past year is just in the rearview mirror. It’s a great time to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we’d like to go in the future. Like many of you, my 2022 was filled with terrific highs and some lows. Happily, any challenges I faced were balanced by a sense of stability and settledness in my professional life. I have been a tenured law professor for more than ten years now, and over the course of fifteen-plus years in the academy, I have established myself as a teacher and a scholar.
But importantly, even as I have enjoyed the contentment that this phase of my career has brought, 2022 presented new opportunities and challenges. For the last two years, I have served as a legal analyst for MSNBC, standing by to add perspective and nuance to the cable news giant’s coverage of elections, impeachments, and of course, the Supreme Court. But just a few weeks ago, I received an unexpected offer. One of the network’s hosts was going to be out of town. Would I be interested in taking a turn hosting the Mehdi Hasan Show? Would I? You bet I would!
Predictably, it was an amazing experience. Usually, I interface with a show’s bookers when they invite me to come on the show to discuss a particular topic with the host and other guests. But this time, I really got to see how the sausage gets made—that is, I got to see all of the moving parts that go into making a show—from the pitch meetings where producers and writers throw out different ideas for segments, to discussions about prospective guests and panelists, to the development of scripts and transitions that knit the various segments together for a seamless show. I have always admired the folks who work behind the scenes to bring us our favorite programs, but after this experience, my admiration was quadrupled. They work really hard and they’re really good at what they do.