13 April 2011

Courteney Cox to Appear on Next Year's WDYTA?

"Cougar Town" star Courteney Cox may appear in a future episode of NBC's "Who do you Think you are?" Several genealogy bloggers are reporting that Courteney has revealed that she was invited to be on the show by her former "Friends" co-star Lisa Kudrow who serves as one of the show executive producers.

Lisa asked me to be on it; apparently they’ve found something in my family history, which they won’t tell me because they like to surprise the person. It’s an amazing show…”

Once again we hear about "surprise the person," which apparently is a key element in the planning and production process for the WDYTYA producers.

Reading this today brought to mind the article in the Spring 2010 edition of American Ancestors, the quarterly magazine from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. In that edition, Joshua Taylor and Gary Boyd Roberts wrote about their research in preparation for the appearances of Sarah Jessica Parker and Brooke Shields respectively on the show during the 2010 season of WDYTYA. In both cases, the NEHGS researchers had to withhold information from their subjects until camera crews were recording the reactions of the subjects as they revealed their research results.

So, even though the subjects are seasoned performers, and probably could act surprised when a new fact is revealed, the producers strive to achieve as much "reality" as possible during the production of each episode.

We have heard also that some celebrities have been researched, but haven't yet appeared on the show because they can't make available a suitable block of time for the travel required by the show's format.

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