You can’t help but smile when you watch Nate Berkus navigate his way through his new show….. dispensing decorating advice the way I get my kids ready for school in the morning – with ease…. and with the joy of Nate’s Crate – the delivery of a large box mixed with Nate’s creative brilliance….. an uninspired space is transformed into something magnificent.
Nate is someone I admire and find delightful, so I’m sure it comes as no surprise to know I typed YES…COUNT ME IN…and ABSOLUTELY in bold letters to the email inviting me to jump on the phone with him last week for a quick chat. I joined a few wonderful bloggers….each given the opportunity to ask Nate whatever we wanted…. Quick decor tips? Holiday hostess ideas? Favorite room makeovers? Decorating Shortcuts? He was a wealth of knowledge and so truly kind…
But knowing me…. I had to ask about THE SHOW, right?
Danielle: “Nate, you are getting well into a groove with your new show, what is it like and what is the biggest surprise for you with this being a brand new endeavor for you?”
Nate: “Great question. The surprise, I think, has been….we’re developing our show basically on the air. Most shows have over a year to plan and get ready…. over 14 months is typical, and we launched our show in four months. And so, the biggest surprise has been just how exciting it is every day to try out new ideas, some which work, some which don’t.
I really do feel going into Thanksgiving that we are getting our stride, and that the content of this show is where it needs to be and we’re able to do more shoots in the field and I’m able to get out of the studio more, which I love. And the information is really honed in and focused on design and living well and ideas that people can really practically apply to their everyday lives.
And so, I guess the most surprising thing is the evolution and how much time it takes and how much energy it takes. And it’s been – you know, my producers and I have a really wonderful relationship and the environment at the show is a highly creative one, and there’s a lot of laughter and there’s a lot of exhaustion getting through the November.
Launching a new show is really hard, but every time we come up with a great story or someone emails us a wonderful idea and we’re able to build that into a great segment on the show, it’s so rewarding, and it’s – I think it’s the process that’s been the biggest surprise.”
Danielle: “Do you go back and think, “Oh, I loved that segment,” or “I think, oh, I really want to change that?”
Nate: “Well, that’s the thing. I mean, you know, most people have the opportunity to edit and we of course have that opportunity before we put it on air, but you know, the truth is I do go back and I – and in all honesty I think some of the segments that we’ve done were horrible. I think some have been incredible.
And that’s just par for the course of a new show, and it’s also a very creative process. Sometimes ideas that look good on paper aren’t – don’t translate well, and sometimes thing that you think, “Oh, I’m not sure how that’s going to go,” become this beautiful moment on TV that really resonates with the audience.
There’s really – you know, there’s really no right or wrong, but I really pay close attention to what the focus groups say and what the bloggers say and what the feedback has been, and it really helps guide us in creating show that gives people around the country the information they really want and really expect and deserve.”
Danielle: “Well, I think it’s fun for – my purpose is to watch you evolve because I can see a difference in the show from the very first show I watched to the show that I saw yesterday. And I have one final question, so watching Nate’s Crate, I am an incredibly sensitive person, I am a ‘cry-at-Hallmark-commercials-kind-of- girl…and I know that you are sensitive…so when you are doing these Nate’s Crate moments, obviously you are not just making a wish come true…. you’re not just saying, “Oh, you wanted to change your room a little bit. Let’s just do that for you.” You are actually making a fundamental change in someone’s life. How do you hold it together? How do you maintain your composure while you are really shifting someone’s life?
Nate: “Sometimes it’s easy because I know that I’m there to deliver the story and inspire other people to either do what I’m doing or to help someone else. And I know that that message is bigger than me, and so I can be very tuned into that and know that I have to deliver the information in a way that people will understand and react to, and then sometimes I can’t.
Sometimes I break down and cry, you know, in thinking about it, but – and then actually, you know, on the set with my guests. But I think, what’s most important for me is I have a responsibility to my viewers. And if I’m falling apart everyday because I’m so touched by something, then it becomes something that is about me, and it’s not about me.
It’s about the people whose lives I’m able to touch. And it’s about the changes that my team and I are able to make, and I need to put that – you know, put that information out there. And you know what it makes me think of in all honesty? It makes me think of Elton John singing at the Princess Diana funeral. And he was such good friends with her, but he sang Goodbye English Rose to – at the funeral…and I always think to myself, “How is he able to stand up there after his friend died and sing that song so beautifully?” And there’s a strength that comes from being able to inspire other people, and that’s what I try and tap into.”
I think that final quote from Nate is my favorite….
“And there’s a strength that comes from being able to inspire other people… and that’s what I try to tap into.”
I was lucky enough to meet Nate in New York City over the summer…. he was as gracious then as he was with us over the phone… if you haven’t yet – I hope that you take the time to watch his show: The Nate Berkus Show.
Tomorrow’s show (Thanksgiving Day)… a true inspiration – Nate helps a teen who completed high school while homeless decorate his first-ever-true-home – his college dorm room….
And on Friday the 26th…Nate’s Crate delivery makes the day of a hard-working hotel maid…plus do-it yourself flower arrangements….
I am grateful to my lovely friends at One2One Network for the invitation to join Nate on this call….