Don Mischer can take the heat. In fact, he readily admits to being an adrenaline junkie who thrives on producing fast-paced celebrity-studded live broadcasts for massive global audiences.
Mischer, who has won 15 Emmys and a Peabody Award, has shepherded opening ceremonies at the Olympics, Super Bowl halftime shows and the inauguration of President Barack Obama. For three years in a row, he produced the Academy Awards, a high-risk, high-visibility telecast, without so much as a last-minute jitter.
The nerves had a workout in advance, as it turns out.
"There's nothing like that feeling that the clock is ticking down and you're sitting in the truck, and then suddenly it's time, and everybody gets quiet. That's when I get calm," he told the L.A. Times in 2010, describing that spot when he's behind the controls of a premiere TV show.
"I'm much more uptight two weeks ahead of time when I feel we're not on top of everything," he said, "when a major presenter can drop out or a piece of film isn't ready."
The veteran director and producer and president of Don Mischer Productions, has spent his career juggling heavyweight political events (the Kennedy Center Honors, the ceremony celebrating Hong Kong's reunification with China) with performances by such rock 'n' roll royalty as Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones.
And as unpredictable as world leaders or A-list stars may be, they often don't compare to the real diva at a live event: Mother Nature. Mischer, a Texas native, told The Times several years ago that he'd had a terrible premonition about the 2009 Super Bowl's halftime show with Prince.
"I had dreams the night before that it would rain, and his two dancers, called the Twinz, in their 8-inch-high heels would fall over. Would we cut to a wide shot? Bring out a stretcher? You worry about all that. You worry about everything. You worry about earthquakes."
The coda? It did rain, buckets, but the Twinz stayed upright and the Mischer-produced musical performance is often touted as one of the best Big Game halftime shows in history.
-T.L. Stanley for the Los Angeles Times