Not for the Nine-to-Fiver
Amanda Sidman ’08 casts a competitive net for ‘Today’ show talent
by Robert Strauss

When Amanda Sidman ’08 was growing up, her mom insisted she read the wedding announcements in The New York Times — through a feminist lens.

“She told me to look at what the brides did for a living and to think about what I wanted to do,” says Sidman. “I knew I wanted to work in the media in some way, and a lot of the women featured were successful in the industry, so it gave me some good ideas.”

After starting at the New York Daily News in various feature-writing jobs, the English–creative writing major has spent the last seven years at NBC News, where she is now the supervising entertainment producer, heading a team of five people who secure interviews with entertainment-world celebrities for the news-side telecasts.

Primarily, that means scheduling guests to appear on Today, especially the 8 to 9 a.m slot, which typically features the next movie blockbuster, the hottest comic or a leading singer.

Amanda Sidman ’08 with Former First Lady Michelle Obama
Photo: Courtesy of A+E Networks
Amanda Sidman ’08 with Former First Lady Michelle Obama at a recent HISTORY channel event in New York City.
Because the news cycle never really ends, Sidman’s job is not for the nine-to-fiver.

Sidman says some general news stories come under her radar, such as the #MeToo sexual assault allegations in Hollywood, but, she says entertainment news breaks all the time. Her biggest challenge is the “get” — scheduling an interview with the most prominent figure in a story. Competition for the “get” has become even greater over the years. Now she competes not just with network morning shows but also online media, cable news, popular podcasts and talk shows.

Still, the best “gets” are rewarding.

“A big morning for me was, when Mary Tyler Moore died, getting Candice Bergen, TV’s Murphy Brown, to talk about the influence Moore had on her as a woman in the industry and an influential female character on television.”

And those Times wedding announcements came full circle. Last fall, Sidman’s wedding to Maxwell Mancuso was published in the Times, perhaps inspiring another young woman to pursue a job in the entertainment world.