Media's Top Figures Talk Soccer Dribbling, Wine Tippling and More Pre-Show Rituals

Trevor Noah  - soccer ball on set - Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Comedy Central

The on-camera players from THR's Most Powerful People in Media list reveal the totems, tricks and last-minute moves that gird them for performance — and for unsettling headlines: "Five nights a week of this stuff can be toxic."

Even the media’s most powerful get superstitious when it comes time to go live (or live-to-tape) on camera. With billions of dollars in advertising and ratings bragging rights at stake, performance matters. The Hollywood Reporter asked some of the players from the eighth annual list of the 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media to reveal the ritual they can't miss before the cameras roll.

Trevor Noah
"Me playing around with the soccer ball while we wait for the camera to be set up and ready." 

Savannah Guthrie
"Tic Tacs"

Gayle King
"Walking into the studio and shouting: 'All in our places! Bright shiny faces!'"

David Muir
"Throwing out the first block as major stories drop an hour before air. They always do."

Norah O'Donnell
"I read and highlight through seven different newspapers while sipping on a venti nonfat latte, while my producer briefs me on the show — oh and a 0 percent Fage yogurt with fresh blueberries and flax seeds (I like to multitask)."

Jane Pauley
"It's coffee I'm thinking about when I go to bed and first thing when I wake up. On show days I'm grinding beans from Topeca Coffee, which I discovered on a visit to Tulsa. Then I fill a thermos of coffee and just the right amount of milk and head to the broadcast center."

Lorne Michaels
"After the meeting, control room, host dressing room, studio floor, glass of wine."

Kelly Ripa
"Run into Ryan's dressing room to discuss what we ate for dinner and how many hours we slept."

Robin Roberts
"I walk in the studio every single morning and I blow a kiss to my mom and I blow a kiss to my dad. First it was just my dad because he had passed first and then it was my mom."

Don Lemon
"Lately a little burning of sage and meditating in my office to head off the negativity. Two hours for five nights a week of this stuff can be toxic."

Chris Licht
"Club soda and Tums." 

George Stephanopoulos
"Two squares of Dentyne Ice and hot water."

Rand Morrison
"I like to have two pens — broad and narrow points — ideally, one in a bold color, for keeping track of pro­duction/show notes."

Hoda Kotb
"Nonstop talking."

Michael Strahan
"Lots of great music!"

Rachel Maddow
"Sprinting from the makeup room and hoping (hoping!) I make it into my seat before the clock strikes 9 p.m."

Jimmy Fallon
"Making sure I can pronounce the name of whoever Trump just fired."

This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.