As a child, Patrick Farrelly was a television addict. Growing up in the 1980s, before kids spent the bulk of their spare time surfing the internet, London-born Farrelly found TV to be the purest, most revered media form on the planet. Tens of millions of people would tune in to watch shows each and every day, and as a creative and expressive young boy with a lot to say for himself, a young Farrelly knew that he would dedicate his life to entertaining audiences through the small screen, pursuing a career in television from an early age. There was no Plan B for him, and he has never looked back.
“I remember any day I was out sick from school, or on weekends, I would watch iconic British daytime TV shows such as ITV’s This Morningand Good Morning Britain. I would watch in awe and wonder how these live, magical moments were created. Everything looked perfect on television and I wanted to be part of the machine that created that perfection. I couldn’t think of a more giddying high than producing TV that created a conversation. I wanted to be responsible for making viewers feel captivated,” he said.
Farrelly has since made a name for himself as an industry leading producer in his home country and abroad. Coming full circle, he worked on both This Morning and Good Morning Britain. Across the pond, Farrelly is known for his work on Dish Nation as well as the award-winning talk shows Dr. Phil and Steve.
Working on Steve gave Farrelly the chance to work alongside the show’s host, Steve Harvey, whom Farrelly had always admired. When the originally Chicago based show moved to Los Angeles in 2017, Farrelly was eager to join the team. Now, it is one of the most rewarding experiences of his esteemed career.
“Steve Harvey is among my favorite comedians and his talk show format was among the best I had ever encountered. His human-interest interviews have become viral sensations within their own right and his ability to bring the best out of a guest, however inexperienced in TV they may be, was astounding. I felt like all of the training I had undergone over my career was preparing me for this show. I had to work on it,” he said.
Farrelly described working on Steve to be “laughter-therapy”. The show is devoted to bringing joy into people’s living rooms, and that, for the producer, made it a dream job. With each new episode, Farrelly found stories that he knew would come to life on stage and resonate with viewers. He would spend hours on the phone interviewing people from all walks of life with extraordinary stories or exceptional talents. He then scripted and structured segments to make sure the right questions were asked, and the right footage and stills selected to illustrate each segment correctly. He also came up with clever segments for the show, such as “Till Debt Do Us Part”, a segment about couples in crisis over their poor finances. In addition to all of this, he took on the crucial responsibility of briefing guests backstage. The guest needed to feel relaxed enough to be themselves but poised enough to ‘pop’ on stage. With his diligent work, Farrelly ensured the show was a success.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have been a part of a show that has been such a success and one that was recommissioned for a second season. Seeing segments go viral online with tens of millions of views proves to me that this is a show worth giving my all to. The impact the show has had on viewers and guests alike make the 12-hour days and busy weekends totally worth it,” he said.
Steve went on to be nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards in 2018. One for Outstanding Live and Direct to Tape Sound Mixing, and the other for Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host, which Steve Harvey won. Farrelly was a fan of Harvey’s prior to working on the show, but now that he has worked alongside him, he is truly in awe of his talent. One of his favorite segments called “Put Me on Steve”, exemplified the host’s ability to make people’s dreams come true. With the help of Farrelly and the production team, they would find undiscovered talent and give them their first ever major television break. Hearing the joy in their voices over the phone when he would tell them they have been booked was an amazing feeling for Farrelly and meeting them at the studios in Hollywood was magical, seeing the excitement in their eyes.
“Unlike other talk shows, the ethos of the Steve Harvey talk show is to celebrate the underdog and shine a light on the unsung hero. At such a fractious time in society, it’s never been more important to find joy and inspiration in everyday people, and that is what the show sets out to do every week day. To be a part of that effort and to align myself with that outlook is an honor and one of the reasons I still work in television today,” said Farrelly.
Farrelly’s journalistic abilities and his background in live television formed a crucial part of Steve’s success. His work ensured the show was recommissioned for a second season. Undoubtedly, Farrelly is a force to be reckoned with as a producer, and for those looking to follow in his footsteps, he offers some wise words.
“At the start of your career, and indeed throughout, make yourself entirely open and available to creating the best product you can. If something appears impossible, find a way to make it happen. If your boss asks you to do something, don’t stop until what they have asked you has been done and delivered. Having a ‘can do’ approach to life is an essential tool for a career in television. It’s amazing what can be achieved if you refuse to accept that something cannot be done,” he advised.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Steve in your TV listings.