There are no Holidays in the Entertainment Industry

there are no holidays in TV

Thanksgiving at the ABC5 newsroom in Ames, Iowa – this is how it works in the entertainment industry

Fact: There are no holidays in the entertainment industry.

As the friends you grew up with share Facebook statuses celebrating their 5 days off from the grind, your work routine ramps up in intensity. More people home from work means a robust increase in watching TV, listening to the radio and going to concerts, just to name a few parts of the human entertainment cycle.

As their tryptophan induced haze increases, you are in the office, newsroom or station bringing them joy…well, at least when their eyes are open.

So let’s figure out how to make the most of this unfortunate situation.

1:  Change the Date

In my family I was always the one throwing a wrench into standard planning. My brother was a “traditional” with days off around the holidays, as were the rest of my family, but my TV life didn’t jive with tradition.

Since the whole idea of the holidays is to all be together, we would change the date.

If my days off were Monday & Tuesday, which in the TV industry they often were, we would plan to celebrate thanksgiving on the Monday leading up to and Christmas on the 22nd.

It’s all how you frame the concept in your mind; there may not be any football on TV but if you watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles and The Blind Side enough times it sure feels like Thanksgiving.

entertainment careers in television

2: In House Celebration

When you work long crazy hours, your work friends become like family. You share an oddball existence, working until 2am, or starting a shift at 4am, so you know how to commiserate (and the last call for every bar in town).

there are no holidays in television

Turkey smashed in next to the graphics inbox – that’s how we do holidays

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, rely on your cafeteria’s version of Thanksgiving dinner, I feared for my life after consuming my first CNN Thanksgiving meal. Instead, band together with your merry band of wackadoodle entertainment folks and create a workplace meal.

Since I worked in the sports department, we had more dudes on the payroll than Chippendales, ergo none of us were all that adept at cooking. Our goal became finding one person who could bring a Turkey, and the rest of us would contribute either cold hard cash to the catering fund, or find guidance from a significant other who could work us through some glazed carrots and cranberry stuffing.

Luckily, we had an employee adept at frying a whole Turkey (thank you Rick Hulsey) who would revel in the opportunity to drop a bird into a vat of boiling oil in a cut in half beer keg. And before you knock it, it was the South, and it was the juiciest bird I’ve ever eaten. (Sorry Mom)

These were some great holidays, where a meal would last all day amongst 200 of your closest friends.

3: Jedi Mind Trick Your Bosses

The whole problem with working in the entertainment industry, is that the news never stops…or the sports, or the celebrities, or the weather. Your bosses would love to give everyone on staff the day off, but generally speaking it just isn’t a reality.

Unless…you can come up with evergreen programming to fill the day.

When I worked at a regional sports network, my staff convinced me they could produce four different ‘Year in Review’ half hour shows, one each for our three pro teams and a fourth for our collegiate partners.

I bought into the concept because I didn’t really want to work on Christmas either, and ‘Year in Review’ shows are always popular. I made the decision with the caveat that if news broke that we just had to cover, like a free agent signing, car accident or arrest, everyone would be on call and expected to show up (sober).

Thankfully, for three years no one had to come in and we bullied Murphy’s law into submission.

Final Thought

Part of what makes the entertainment industry so great is that the careers break the mold and don’t follow a standard 9-5 cubicle existence. But with that upside comes a downside and working holidays, weekends and late nights fits that downside description.

The truth is, my first year missing the holidays felt weird and awkward, but after that it became my norm. YOu find ways to make it work and your family and friends will always go to great lengths to accommodate the “weird” one.

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for &

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.


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