Recently, as I scrolled through the headlines on news websites, regrets appeared in several headlines. They happened to involve celebrities but they’re certainly not particular to the famous.
Halle Berry regrets turning down the lead role in 1994’s Speed, which made Sandra Bullock a star. (Halle did just fine anyway.) Bill Wyman regrets marrying the 18-year-old he’d been with for five years (do the math!) and divorced a couple of years later. Rosie O’Donnell says her biggest regret is participating in a book about The View. Everybody makes mistakes.
I believe in embracing the choices you’ve made and not reviewing them later with 20/20 vision. You did the best you could at the time with the information you had.
A fork in the road appeared for me long ago and the choice I made truly did change the course of my career. It happened in the 80s when I was on air at CKNX radio in Wingham. I applied for and was offered, the CKNX-FM Program Director position. My boss and I had talked about salary, vacation, responsibilities, and projects when he dropped a bomb on me: I’d have to quit working on TV.
CKNX-TV was a CBC affiliate at that time but it produced a lot of local programming. I appeared on the high school student game show Reach for the Top. I was a co-host of the annual Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. And I hosted a biweekly feature on local bands. It was fun, a change of pace and a much-needed boost to my small market radio income.
My new job was my entry into management but damn, I enjoyed TV! The responsible part of me knew I had to leave the fun behind and buckle down in my office with a window, and long, boring meetings. But I didn’t know then that I’d grow to hate it!
I’ve wondered what might have happened if I’d said no and turned down the job, maintaining the status quo. If I had admitted that it gave me the kind of kick that I got into broadcasting to experience and I wasn’t ready to give that up. But that’s not what happened. Over the years, I had occasional TV appearances but nothing steady until I joined Whatever Happened To after my book, Celebrity Tantrums, came out. According to IMDB, I was in 62 episodes from 2006-2009. I’m glad someone posted the specifics!
I lasted less than two years in the PD job and fled for a purely on-air position in Toronto. Had I stayed, I might have transferred to a bigger market to manage a bigger staff at a bigger station. But that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to get back to the fun of the business. My decision took me off that course and knocked me out of television for a long time and made being on the radio my second priority, after pushing paper. But that’s okay. I did the best I could with the information I had at the time.