A Q&A With A Famous Shaker Alum
An email interview with Shaker Alum Bob Tuschman, Senior Vice President of Food Network
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Bob Tuschman graduated from Shaker Heights High School in 1975, and went on to attend Princeton University. He worked with Good Morning America, Diana Ross, and finally became the Vice President of Programming for Food Network. He believes that Shaker was vital in aiding his career as TV producer.
When did you know that you wanted to be in Lifestyle TV?
I worked as a producer for Good Morning America when I was in my 20’s, and I ended up producing mostly lifestyle segments: travel, food, arts and entertainment, and personal finance. It seemed to be a natural fit for my interests. So when the job offer came from Food Network (18 years ago!) I jumped at the chance.
When creating a food show, what standards does it need to have?
We do a wide variety of food shows – from instructional to competitions to travelogue to reality formats. Most of them start with a charismatic star. Because you can’t taste or smell the food, you need an entertaining expert to bring the food to life and convey the experience for you. We also make sure the food always looks mouthwatering!
What are the positives of your job?
Actually, the quicker question would be “what are the negatives of your job?” None. The positives are unending: fun, challenging, rewarding, spending time with our stars, working with my incredibly creative team to come up with new show ideas. Oh, and food. Lots of great food!
What positive elements do you remember from Shaker?
Well, I was on Swim Team, so I mostly remember looking at the bottom of a pool with chlorine burning my eyes. Beyond that, my experience at Shaker was great – fantastic, enthusiastic teachers who got me interested in subjects I had no interest in (calculus, anybody?), a diverse, energized student body, and so many opportunities to pursue any interest you had.
How did Shaker help you to come to where you are?
Shaker built in me the sense that work/learning could be fun. Likewise, work shouldn’t be a drudge – it should be something that excites you. It also instilled the sense that I had the tools in me to overcome any challenge that could be thrown at me.
What are the challenges for creating food TV?
Finding and developing the next generation of stars. That’s why we started the show Food Network Star, which I’ve now been a judge on for 11 seasons. It helps us find, and nurture, new talent.
How can food entertainment help people in general?
I feel proud that we’ve helped people – especially young people – really care about what they eat, how it’s produced, and where it came from. It wasn’t this way when I was growing up.