CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY: Steve Wozniak Explains What Drew Him to the Fox Series - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY: Steve Wozniak Explains What Drew Him to the Fox Series

May 7, 2020 by  


CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY: L-R: Janet and Steve Wozniak in the “The Watch Party Has Begun” series premiere episode of CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY airing Thursday, May 7 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2020 FOX MEDIA LLC. Cr: FOX

With the traditional television season ending, Fox is going a little meta with its new show, CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY.

In the series, based on the U.K.’s GOGGLEBOX, celebrities (and their families) watch television shows and react to what they viewed.

The stars on tap? Rob Lowe, The Osbournes, Tyra Banks, Reggie Bush, Megan Trainor, Joe Buck and Michelle Beisner-Buck, Raven-Symoné, JoJo Siwa, Master P and Romeo, Steve Wozniak, Curtis Stone and Lindsay Price, and Robert and Kym Herjavec.

And while many of the celebrities are regularly on television, this is out of the norm for entrepreneur Wozniak. “I like doing things that are different and new,” he explains. “I’ve never heard of anything like this before.”

Here, he explains why he was approached, the shows he watched with his wife Janet, and the process of filming CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY…

You’ve done a few television appearances (THE BIG BANG THEORY, DANCING WITH THE STARS), but aren’t someone who seems to actively seek it out. What was the appeal of the show?
I would never try to promote myself. If I get a call from a friend, saying, “Would you like to be on this show? I have a good one for you.” It’s basically doing it for free, but I said yeah, because it’s a friend. Or someone very young asking me for things; I’ll sometimes help them out.

What can you share about the shows you’ll be watching?
Some of them, since we don’t watch TV anyway, I was thinking, “Why would I want to watch this?” And then by the end, they changed me around. I saw the fun in it if you treat it as a comedy. Quite a few caught our attention. One was nature-orientated, and my wife and I being very scientific, that was something we’d watch. A show about Michael Jordan [ESPN’s THE LAST DANCE], they showed a lot about Dennis Rodman…Dennis Rodman is sort of a hero to me because he marches to the beat of a different drum. I cheer that side of him but he’s also incredibly talented and successful.

Every show that has been filmed remotely during COVID-19 has had a different approach for what kind of equipment they’ve given the participants. What was your set-up like?
Our setup was fairly simple. There are 2 cameras, controllable by a group in a van in our driveway. One camera can aim at either myself or my wife, whichever is more applicable at the time. The 2nd camera can see us both. That view is useful for transitions from one of us speaking to the other, I presume. They ran a cord in through our front door to control the cameras, and also to provide the video feeds that we were watching, which came from their computer.

At first we had technical difficulties. We had a modern TV, having recently upgraded our home, so they were able to run a video cable (HDMI) to one of the inputs on our TV, but the TV transmission (in this case a movie) was super slow with slow, low, voices. The crew tried to change things and retry it about 6 times. I know my equipment and had a hunch that a specific setup between my AV receiver (switching inputs to the TV) and the TV itself were set in a fixed manner for quality, but it didn’t match the HDMI feed from the van. They had to bring in another TV and mount it for us to watch. The next show, I pointed out to them where they could even more easily plug into an output on the front of my AV receiver with their HDMI signal and that worked like a charm.

The crew had examined our living room, from photos in advance, and left 2 chairs that we have for watching TV. We were trained on how to change microphone batteries and how to wear them. I knew this from my experience with such gear, all the time, but Janet didn’t at first. We situated ourselves with water nearby. We didn’t know if we were supposed to remain in one position for up to 5 hours!

We did clear a couple of things out of view of the camera, but largely to hide logos. We made sure that the clothing we wore had no logos. My shoes do have a logo so I opted to go barefoot. We were told that “casual” was the mode of dress, whatever we might normally wear, so I just shower and pull on a pair of shorts and a light polo shirt. Mostly we wear black. I have 2 Apple watches. One is gold and is the one I usually wear, with an informative display. My other watch matches Janet. It’s made of white ceramic with a white band. That contrasts nicely with my black clothing so I chose to wear it for CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY. We tend to wear these matching watches when we are doing events together.

How conscious of the cameras were you when you started watching the shows? At what point were you able to quasi-block out that this was all being filmed and get into the figurative groove of watching/reacting?
I’m on stages all the time (for speeches) with cameras rolling, and you forget about them instantly. I’m sure that’s true for most of the celebs. Janet, as anyone, forgot about the cameras from the first minute. I am interested in the technical parts of any production so I’d note once in a while that when Janet was the person they were more interested in, usually because she was “into” a show while I was not, the one-person camera would be pointing her way. I told Janet later, as she didn’t look for such a technical “detail.”

The first episode for us was a bit difficult, since we don’t really watch TV and when we watch movies we don’t comment on them much until they are over. But now we are finding it easy to talk about what we like (and what we don’t), especially when a show hits a soft spot in us. I even wound up crying at one scene from a movie we were watching for this show, but I cry a lot in movies. Janet tends to only want to “like” shows (except for DR. PIMPLE POPPER) but I have always been driven by a strong sense of telling the truth, the way I feel things, good or bad. After filming for up to 5 hours I assume that the editors and producers are choosing whichever comments their audience will like the best. Since CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY is on Fox, starting tonight, I presume that they won’t replay negative comments about TV shows that are on the Fox network.

What surprised you most about the experience?
I can’t say that we were surprised by the experience, in terms of how it would go. We had little pressure. If we shut up and refused to comment on anything, we’d still get through it. I don’t feel a sense that we were likely to feel exploited or portrayed in ways that lead to negative comments about us. Entertainment on TV is subjective so you can never find one right or one wrong. We all have different opinions and personalities and like and hate different things.

Janet and I were, however, surprised at how many shows we liked a lot. I have put several shows on my own list to watch, including THE MASKED SINGER, despite a lot of negativity I had towards it at first. When watching that show and commenting on it, with no experience, I put it down in terms of whether it would be an entertainment event that we’d pay to watch, like a concert, but after the filming of us I thought how fun it would be as a comedy activity. But that was our first taping and we were “rookies.” We definitely want to watch one movie that we commented on during a taping, and will do so very soon. It was a movie that I cried at during a true love part. After watching some of the first episode of a series, last night, we actually tuned in and watched a few episodes of that show ourselves.

So the biggest surprise was discovering another great form of entertainment (TV) that will become an important part of our lives in the future, rather than going out to movie theaters, concerts, sports events, and the like. This COVID-19 period has got us used to finding things close to home. Long ago, I’d travel a lot for entertaining vacations, but then I learned that you can just drive anywhere around California and find just as great of things to see and enjoy. To this day Janet and I love driving, for short half-day trips up to long 3-week road trips. It gives us good together time, like watching TV at home, with our family of dogs. On road trips we can talk about things and listen to audiobooks and music and all. We almost always see the same things in movies and books and the like, and we have the same opinions of them. The things we’ve watched on CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY were more surprising, with us having different views of some shows. I attribute that partly to Janet wanting to only come across positive and appreciative, and also to only seeing minutes of something before having comments. As I said, we don’t comment on movies much until after they are done.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about the show and your time on it so far?
It’s a ton of work, a ton of hours, for us. We normally have no time. The show pays less than I’d get for a 1-hour speech, so it’s not for income. We wanted to give the payment to a charity but Janet said there was some reason due to SAG-AFTRA rules to pay us directly. (I’m in SAG-AFTRA since DANCING WITH THE STARS.)

Now that we have the gist of this show, we are actually looking forward to our next taping episode. This will be a memory of a lifetime for both of us, but especially for Janet, who comes across very well. We are thankful for many things that the Shelter In Place (I call it Restrict In Place, RIP) has brought to us, many things that we won’t go back from, and this opportunity is one of the best parts. My fear is that we’ll be recognized for this show and what we say. I don’t promote myself, avoiding Social Networks almost totally. I don’t like to be exposed and among crowds. I try to stay alone, like a recluse. So this RIP stuff is perfect for me and normally we could never have put in a lot of hours for a reality TV show. So, once again, thanks to the virus, which we may have brought back with us from Hong Kong on January 4 (all the symptoms, worst flu of our lives by far, hospitalization for Janet, inconclusive testing for any known American things, etc.). Everything that has happened to us lately has made us very happy.

CELEBRITY WATCH PARTY, Series Premiere, Thursday, May 7, 8/7c, Fox

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