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Speaking Deutsch

What's the big idea that keeps ad-man-turned-CNBC-talk-show-host Donny Deutsch running?
Jack Bettridge
From the Print Edition:
"24", Jan/Feb 2006

(continued from page 3)

When the guests are gone, Deutsch tapes his trademark show-ending capper, which is called "Speaking Deutsch" and features a few words to wrap up what has just happened. The host looks into the camera and intones: "Terrell Owens. He's a disruption, he's horrible, he's a bad sport. Look what he did to the Eagles.... And we could use him on the Giants this Sunday against the Cowboys."

After a wardrobe change comes the really tough part. Deutsch must put on a somber demeanor for his next guests, the Shapiros. He leaves the set for a one-on-one with one of the assistant producers, who briefs him in greater detail about the boy's death and other facts about drug abuse in general and ecstasy in specific. The host pleads for keeping the show as simple as possible, but agrees to include Dr. Drew Pinsky, an expert on substance abuse from the University of Southern California (ironically Brett's alma mater), and callers who have dealt with the problem.

Duffy regrets the need to juxtapose such different tapings: "You have to take [guests] when they're in town." But she isn't worried about Deutsch's ability to handle it. "Donny does a great job of shifting from one topic to another."

As it turns out, her confidence in him is well-founded. Deutsch delivers a sensitive show that provides a wealth of information about drug abuse, while including some tender moments with the bereaved parents. This time, when Deutsch recaps the segment with "Speaking Deutsch," he plays it straight by simply announcing the Web sites that the Shapiros are promoting.

After the taping, the host is visibly drained, but there is no rest for the weary. In the car ride back to Manhattan, he finds himself fielding calls from his agency and someone inviting him to speak at an ad industry function. He'll also have to put off his exercise regimen until morning, an assistant advises, as he is expected at a black-tie event that night.

But it is also predestined that the morrow will bring the same hectic cycle of corporate conferences, production meetings, show tapings and after-work events, because, for Donny Deutsch, it seems the real Big Idea is "you always got to keep striving."

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