Loving the Drake (and other productions) at LG Studios

On your Marc, get set: Marc Alessi (left) of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe was among the first guests to help host Donna Drake break in the new set of "The Donna Drake Show" in Edgewood.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

They’re living it up in Edgewood, where “The Donna Drake Show” has a new name and a new home.

The relentlessly optimistic, widely syndicated video magazine – featuring the eponymous host and a team of chipper correspondents serving up slices of life with studio guests and remote reports – has a new home base: LG Studios, a three-headed collaboration by Lorraine Gregory Communications, Hauppauge-based production studio Mirrorland Productions and the Drake Media Network, Drake’s production company.

In addition to housing a new permanent set for “The Donna Drake Show” – known previously as “Live It Up! With Donna Drake” – LG Studios is a professional video-production facility featuring several amenities, including multiple studios, “green screen” technologies, large and flexible spaces, production offices, a dedicated makeup/hair/wardrobe room and more.

The idea, according to Lorraine Gregory Communications CEO Greg Demetriou, is to provide clients with “a complete solution, from video concept development and pre-production to professional video shoots and post-production.”

Demetriou records his popular “Ask a CEO” videoblog in the studio, an example of function following form. But for Drake, the opening of LG Studios is not only practical – it’s the culmination of another emotional journey.

A few years back, with her talk show plugging along nicely, Drake and Demetriou started talking seriously about video production, with the self-made media personality consulting on Lorraine Gregory Communication’s burgeoning vertical.

Long interested in bringing Drake’s show in-house, Demetriou eventually cordoned off a section of Lorraine Gregory Communication’s spacious Edgewood warehouse to create a new studio, part of the ambitious LG Studios buildout. Also involved in the layout and creation of the new studio was Ken Bogardt and his team at Mirrorland Productions, longtime collaborators on “Live it Up!”

“[Ken and his team] have been my crew for about seven years,” Drake told Innovate LI. “Together, we’re the three entities behind LG Studios.”

That’s cool: Drake (right) with celebrity guest Henry Winkler.

The TV host noted multiple “pillars of success” in the LG Studios plan, including housing “The Donna Drake Show,” providing new services to Lorraine Gregory Communications clients and serving as a resource for other regional advertising firms.

“The Donna Drake Show” christened its classy new space Monday with a marathon recording session – 25 in-studio interviews featuring Drake and an army of special guests, enough material for several new episodes of the syndicated program.

In addition to housing its anchor production, LG Studios will serve as “a unique and versatile video-production facility” for a variety of Lorraine Gregory Communications clients pursuing 21st century marketing programs, according to Demetriou.

Drake, who continues to consult with the Edgewood agency on video-production matters, agreed that LG Studios is designed “to service Lorraine Gregory clients in a bigger way.”

“It’s meant to be a real resource for those clients,” she said. “It’s also going to help with some of the other productions Ken and I do outside of the Drake Media Network and Mirrorland – some lifestyle shows that we produce, a few car commercials we work on.

“For a lot of these, we’ve been renting studio space in New York City,” Drake noted. “Now those productions will come to Suffolk.”

It’s a win-wind scenario, with LG Studios – which unofficially opened Monday and is scheduled to host an open house/grand opening celebration March 20 – even offering services to other advertising agencies with lesser video-production chops.

“That’s why Drake Media is here, to help facilitate that and make this a win for everybody who are content creators,” Drake noted. “Lorraine Gregory has created a large playground that includes everyone.

“That’s the vibe: a really positive, inclusive environment.”

It’s a vibe that’s likely to be familiar to fans of Drake’s show. Unabashedly encouraging and upbeat, “The Donna Drake Show” has carved a reputation as feel-good programming with some real marketing value – hence the willingness of so many of Drake’s friends to lend their time and wares to the creation of the show’s new studio.

The set was “completely resourced by the strategic relationships I have forged,” according to Drake, and “cost me nearly zero dollars to build.” The show’s rebranding even includes a new logo created by Tennessee artist Elise Drake, the host’s daughter.

And therein lies the crux of Drake’s emotional journey – the willingness of those professional friends to help the new set along, proof-positive that her show is hitting its pay-it-forward marks.

“People always tell me how proud they are, how wonderful they think the show is, how amazing,” she noted. “It’s nice to hear those things, and honestly, I have exceeded my own expectations.

“One woman looked at the new set and said to me, ‘Wow, this is amazing, usually things like this only happen for people who are 20-something,’” Drake added. “And I said, ‘I know … I feel like I’m 20-something!’”


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