Michelle Leone Williams is a four-time Emmy Award-winning NBC producer who has partnered with St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital and has done so much more. During an interview with A.R. Bernard, Williams discussed her experiences in the industry.
From an early age, Williams knew that she wanted to work in the entertainment field.
“Well, growing up actually I used to love watching TV. Shows like the Cosby Show and Family Ties were a big hit in my household. And what happened is I went to NBC to go on a tour and when I did the tour, I was like, wow there’s a whole world behind here that I want to explore,” shared Williams. “I ended up going to Syracuse University, which I thought was a great college for communications, and did an internship at WNBC and got the job there. When I graduated I got a job as an NBC Page…[where] I actually was doing tours through the same doors that attracted me to the company.”
Preparation and opportunity met for Williams when she connected with the now President of CNN, Jeff Zucker. When he was the executive producer of The Today Show he would collect the ratings. One day she came up with a clever idea to present her resume to him to review as he was collecting the show’s ratings. She recalled the encounter.
“So one morning I got all dressed up and got my resume together, and I saw him at the door and I gave him the ratings with my resume underneath. I said, ‘Hey Mr. Zucker! Here’s your ratings this morning.’ And he looks to the left and looks to the right and he’s like, ‘Who put you up to this?’ I said, ‘No one. I just notice that you come up every morning to get your ratings.’ I expected him to go back to his desk, and he saw my resume right then and there.”
Zucker loved how clever she was and offered her a job.
Out of the many interviews Williams has conducted, she states that her most memorable one was with James Earl Ray, the alleged assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr., because it was the last one he did before he died.
“I wrote him a letter and sent it to the jail that he was in, and Monday morning I came to my desk and I –you know at those times you listen to your voicemail. So I listen to my voicemail, and it’s like, ‘Hello, Ms. Leone, this is James Earl Ray and I would like to be on The Today Show and interview with you,’” remembered the producer.
When discussing her faith, Williams stated that her faith in God has undergirded her while working in the entertainment business.
“I truly believe that it’s how you present yourself during hard times and during different challenging situations that really brings out Christ and culture. Everybody at The Today Show knows that I am a child of God and it’s not that I go around telling everybody that, but the one thing that everybody says to me is ‘oh my goodness, you have such a positive attitude.’”
To watch Williams’s full interview, check it out on ARB TV.