Roll out the red carpet
WOWK-TV personality and master of ceremonies Randy Yohe said he was told there hadn’t been a line in front of the Ro-Na reminiscent of the one on Wednesday since 1975.
VIPs in tuxedos and gowns arrived via limousine and made the walk down the red carpet while the general public formed a line on the sidewalk. Regardless of one’s attire or method of arrival everyone was there collectively supporting and anxiously awaiting the premiere of Ironton native Mickey Fisher’s “Extant” on CBS.
The sci-fi thriller stars Academy Award-winner Halle Berry and is a creation of Fisher’s; he co-produces the show with his idol and owner of Amblin Entertainment, Steven Spielberg.
“This is great and there’s more to come,” a tuxedo-clad and visibly excited Dick Fisher, Mickey’s father, said. “The atmosphere that’s here right now, this is the vibe you shoot for.”
Once spectators took their seats Ironton aLive Executive Director Jon Ferguson thanked the plethora of people involved in organizing the event, which included an after party. Ferguson then handed the microphone to Yohe.
“We are T-minus 20 minutes until the show that (Mickey Fisher) has written,” Yohe said. “It’s been on the cover of Variety magazine, Entertainment magazine, Billboard magazine, we saw Halle Berry on David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon. This is everywhere; this is the biggest debut of the summer.”
Fisher then joined the crowd via Skype from his home in Los Angeles.
“I’m sure it’s happened to people where they have had this opportunity and they got their show and they are part of a team and by the time their showed aired it didn’t resemble the thing that they loved or set out to do in the beginning,” Fisher said. “I feel really fortunate that I was with a group that protected it from early on and kind of protected me and what was unique and cool and interesting and weird, as you will see, about the show and protected it all the way through the process.”
Fisher said he feels as if he has been lucky in a way not a lot of other people have been.
“I think what you are going to see tonight represents the best we can do,” he said, “and I love it.”
Yohe asked Fisher to recall what it was like on his 40th birthday when he got the call for which he had been waiting.
“We had been out pitching the show, we pitched it to nine different places,” he said. “Every network in town, cable places, HBO, FX, we went to Netflix and pitched it there and we had offers from all but two of them…and we settled on CBS and by the time we decided it was my birthday.”
Fisher said his idol and soon-to-be co-producer Spielberg was in a different time zone so he had to wake up for an earlier-than-usual meeting.
“I woke up at 8 a.m. and nobody knew it was my birthday,” he said. “The first thing I said to these guys while we were waiting for (Spielberg) to get on the phone was, ‘You guys are not going to believe this, it’s my 40th birthday today.’”
Fisher said as soon as Spielberg got on the line the representative from Amblin told him it was Fisher’s birthday.
“He couldn’t have been cooler,” Fisher said. “He told me he remembered when he turned 40 he was on the set of a movie. I started thinking back and wondering what movie it was and I think I figured out it was “Indiana Jones” and The Last Crusade.”
Fisher said Spielberg has been involved in nearly every step of Extant’s development and recalled a time when he was sitting about three feet behind him in the editing room.
“I got to watch him make changes and go through it and it’s one of those moments when you are trying to be cool but you go, ‘That’s Steven Spielberg,’” he said. “It was pretty awesome and you learn so much.”
Yohe mentioned while any star could have taken a role in the show it ultimately wasn’t just any star.
“(Halle Berry) is so down-to-earth,” he said
Fisher, Berry and Spielberg are all Ohio natives.
The crowd erupted in applause when Fisher showed his “shrine” to Spielberg — a bobblehead Gremlin.
But the most important thing, Fisher said, is that the show is not only something he would like to watch, but a show that represents him as a person.
“It represents the things I find important and believe in and hope for,” he said. “This is not only a show I would want to watch but a thing I would want to put out there in the world.”
All money raised from the event goes toward restoration of the Ro-Na.
Extant can be seen at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays on CBS.