“On the back, I wrote down two words: Ultimate Makeover.’’ With a sense of urgency, Schultz immersed himself in what became , the groundbreaking show that gave ordinary people new lives — and new faces — after winning an opportunity to undergo plastic surgery.
Debuting in 2002, the ABC series altered the course of reality TV, helped trigger a boom in cosmetic surgeries and blew the roof off the ratings to boot.
“Nobody walked in and knew what they were doing in those days,’’ says Bud Leonard (Conserv Edu’72), one of Schultz’s CU instructors.
“Howard was very sharp, especially on the producing side. For example, he got [legendary Hollywood director] Frank Capra into the studio to do an interview. In this business, courage and belief in yourself are huge factors.’’ Schultz’s obsession became his profession when he returned to Chicago for his first TV job.
“I had this plan of taking all my prerequisites in my freshman year — biology, anthropology, psychology,’’ he says. I needed a class that was an easy A.’’ So Schultz took “Introduction to Communications,” followed by “Introduction to Broadcasting,” which ended his plans of running the family printing business.
“It was almost like I was made for television,’’ he says. That’s the only way I can describe it.’’ It seemed Schultz was everywhere in those days — producing shows for the campus TV station, working as a disc jockey for Boulder station KADE, contending for Trivia Bowl titles and returning day after day to a studio/classroom at Folsom Field.
The idea came to Howard Schultz (Comm’75) at the end of a long weekend as he crawled into bed in his Los Angeles home and glanced at his TV.
Flickering on the screen was a promotion for an upcoming segment of the daytime tabloid talk show about ugly ducks-turned-swans. “I grabbed a receipt because it was the only piece of paper I could find on my night stand,’’ he said.
But it’s been an incredible profession for me.’’ Although critics usually rip his shows, reruns.It was vintage Schultz — original, risky, highly controversial — a formula that made MTV’s .It’s a gloomy rainy day, but the 57-year-old is his usual irrepressible self, chatting about his current project, a reality show with another intriguing premise: in a world dominated by Facebook, do your friends have your back? “It will tear your heart apart if you don’t absolutely adore it.A year later he picked up his first Emmy for a show called .Before long, Schultz packed his car and headed to Hollywood, a move that temporarily soured him on the business.
But he began working on a series of game shows, news documentaries, dating shows and as a segment producer of the show, who works for Schultz.