The first time Randy Douthit saw a television at his grandparents’ house a light bulb went off in his head and he knew that one day he would be the person putting on the show. He was four years old.
By the time he was nine, Randy Douthit was riding around the neighborhood on his bike selling 10 cent tickets for the “variety show” he produced in his grandparents’ barn.
At age 23, as his professional career was beginning, Randy became a director at Portland’s KGW and then went on to direct Peabody Award-winning children’s program “How Come.” He later helmed a daily morning talk show, Seattle Today, growing the show’s audience by tenfold.
He then joined CNN, while the network was still very new, where he was the executive producer and director of “Crossfire”, the network’s top show at the time. He also produced a weekly news panel program called “Capital Gang”. Both Crossfire and Capital Gang won CableAce Awards.
In 1985, Randy conceived, executive produced, and directed the Peabody Award-winning primetime Larry King Live. He later joined Quincy Jones Entertainment, where he oversaw development and the primetime sitcom sensation “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.
Among the plethora of work that Randy put his fingerprints on, he is most proud is his decades-long run with three-time Emmy Award winning show, “Judge Judy”. In addition to directing and executive producing “Judge Judy” (CBS Television Distribution) and “Judy Justice” (Amazon Studios), Randy also oversees development for Queen Bee Productions, Judy Sheindlin’s production company.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I had determined what my career would be when I was a child after watching TV for the first time. I prepared by putting on shows after school and selling tickets to my friends.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day starts with a workout, followed by calls, and then I go to the production office to prepare for the upcoming studio production. I then spend my time reading proposed cases and editing existing shows.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life by concentrating on what audiences want and/or need, and by thinking about how and where I can create programming that will fulfill it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend I’m most excited is the transition from broadcast and cable to streaming. Television is again being transformed and it appears the audience is following.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I would give my younger self would be to concentrate more.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One thing I know is true is that the audience identifies with the hero of the story. In Judy’s case, it’s Judy. Why? Because she says things everyone is thinking, but that they often can’t get away with saying. She can get away with it because it’s just her. It’s who she is. It’s what she does. It’s magical.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The one thing I recommend everyone do: meditate every morning. Sit quietly in a space alone. Quiet all the noises your mind makes. Start at 5 minutes a day, then 10 minutes, and 15 minutes. Eventually your mind will quiet and wonderful ideas will start showing up.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
What I recommend you do to grow your business is to find the need for what is entertaining and pursue that need. Do the best that you can do, and don’t give up. And always work hard to get along with people. You cannot always predict who you may need help from in the future. Get along with people!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I had was an early cancellation of a show. The best way to overcome it is to quickly find another project. Leave failure in the dust!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I gave a hundred dollars to a production assistant for overcoming odds to get the job done.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Software that does the most is the Avid editing system. It streamlines the process for editing teams.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book I would recommend is the Secret of Light, written by Walter Russell in the 50s. He was a philosopher, artist, physicist, and inspirational speaker. He recommended meditation to conceive an invention, solve a problem, and to simply accomplish something.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote: “Don’t pick a fight with anyone who buys their ink by the barrel.”
- Get along with people.
- Always do your best no matter what the task is. Look for the lesson in any failure so that you don’t repeat the mistake. In fact, you should learn from it.
- The sooner you learn to meditate, the sooner you’ll be able to learn how to solve problems, create new ideas, and become successful. Writers tend to meditate with each pause of the pen. Remember to stop the chatter in your head.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.