Man in Control

Live with Regis and Kelly producer Art Moore '66

by Jay Wrolstad

The syndicated show Moore helped launch starring Regis Philbin has remained popular for 16 years and generated plenty of magazine coverage. It remains one of the top three talk shows on the air.

Although he's been at the same TV station for 16 years, work never gets old for Art Moore '66. This is not surprising when you learn that he's based in the city that never sleeps and his job includes producing a live show that's become a morning favorite watched by millions.

Moore, vice president of programming at WABC, also serves as the executive in charge of production for Live with Regis and Kelly, the syndicated show he helped launch at ABC's flagship station in New York City. And, as if that wasn't enough to keep him on his toes, Moore is executive producer of film critic Joel Siegel's syndicated specials.

A little more than half of his time is spent on the popular talk show, with the remainder dedicated to development projects and corporate duties at a station that is second to none in terms of audience and earnings.

Berks County LivingAs a top executive, Moore is trusted with helping evaluate content and talent for new shows at WABC. "It is never the same day to day," he says. "And working on a live show is exciting; there aren't many of them left on TV." The more mundane tasks such as crunching the station budget and other management duties are less fun, but an important part of the job.

Moore points with pride to the facts that Live with Regis and Kelly (which was known until 2000 as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee) has remained popular for 16 years, a veritable eternity on TV, and that it remains among the top three talk shows on the air, competing with Oprah and Dr. Phil, although not head-to-head in the same time slot.

"It's exciting, being live," says Moore. "The challenge is to keep it fresh while holding onto the core audience." To do that he is on the set every day, often rubbing elbows with the movers and shakers in the entertainment industry.

Moore with Jill and Regis Philbin at an industry soirée

When he's not serving as Regis Philbin's producer, Moore supervises all non-news local programming at WABC, developing long-range strategy for the station and arranging syndicated shows, movies, and special projects that often take a public service bent, such as stories on cancer, crime prevention, and education. He has mulled making a career move and taking a position with the network, in program development perhaps, but his strong ties to the morning show would be tough to sever. "Most of us have been here since the show started. We work well together and have become very close," says Moore.

Broadcast production and station management were certainly not his priorities when Moore first enrolled at Ithaca College as a drama major with a minor in television/radio. "At the last minute I made the switch to a major in television with a minor in drama," he recalls. "I decided I'd rather be in control than be controlled."

He recalls getting together in front of the camera putting together a few TV broadcasts on campus with fellow student Jessica Savitch '68, who later became an NBC News star and who died an untimely death in 1983. "We did the 1964 presidential election results on ICTV, and we remained friends over the years," says Moore.

Such student opportunities to create shows that were viewed in the community, says Moore, were a significant benefit of studying at Ithaca College. He still makes periodic visits to campus, delivering his insights as a visiting lecturer and instructor.

Before landing in New York City, Moore paid his dues as a director and producer at stations in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Buffalo; and Philadelphia. At ABC affiliate WPVI in Philadelphia he set the stage for his work at WABC by creating a long-running morning talk show, and served as director of station promotion and advertising.

Now he's rubbing elbows with most of the movers and shakers in the entertainment industry. "I consider myself lucky," he says. "I've never worked at a bad station, and I've always been given plenty of freedom in my jobs."

Photo credits:
Top, courtesy of WABC-TV
Middle, courtesy of Berks County Living
Bottom, courtesy of Art Moore '66

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A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 4 March, 2004