RAISING MCCAIN is the new Pivot TV Show starring Meghan McCain, the outspoken daughter of Senator John McCain, who goes “on the road” talking to unexpected experts, everyday people and members of her Millennial generation, exploring the most important and unusual questions of the day framed by Meghan’s own experiences in her personal life.
The new series on the new Pivot network will explore topics ranging from bullying and feminism to sex overload and the death of romance, among many others.
Politisite’s Entertainment and Politics Editor, Jennifer Williams, was able to catch up with Meghan between episodes and learn more about her show and herself.
Jennifer Williams: How did your Show come about and did you say “Yes” right away?
Meghan McCain: The Show came about as I had this idea to do a talk show, but to do it sort of like a reality show or a documentary. Just because I consume media in a really different way than my parents do and sometimes people in a different generation do. We were pitching the idea around and I met with a production company called Go Lucky and we formatted the idea and then met with different networks. But people weren’t really getting the idea, but if they were getting the idea… they wanted to make it much more like a talk show or much more like a reality show. Pivot, our network, was actually my last meeting and I met with Even Shapiro who was their President. We were talking about the Show and I was challenging him on the new network because joining a new network was risky. Obviously, [you can] look at the Oprah Winfrey Network and see that it took them four years to get off the ground. And so when I met with him, I was impressed with his message. I felt like this is someone I could really work with. He asked me in our meeting, “Do you want to be a television personality or do you want to be a voice? Because I think you want to be a voice.” No one had said that to me before and I just thought, “That’s a person who I want to work with and this is a network that I want to work with.”
Jennifer Williams: Now that you are several weeks in. How is the grind of doing a Show like this? How many days do you put in for each episode?
Meghan McCain: Each episode takes a week to film. The Post-production is a bitch. I have such a respect for Editors. I don’t know how a show like GAME OF THRONES even gets edited. It has so many plot lines. Our Show is just a half-hour [and has] a simple and straight-forward plotline obviously. And it takes weeks and weeks to edit. The feedback we have gotten is interesting. People really love it and people really hate it. I feel like everything you put out into the ether, people either really love it or hate it. So, I shouldn’t be surprised but I’m really happy with it.
Jennifer Williams: Good to hear. I know that sometimes when people aren’t used to doing a Show like this before, it can be kind of difficult with the long hours and all the shooting involved.
Meghan McCain: Yes, the hours are gnarly. We work fifteen hour days and maybe longer and I have a woman on-set all that time just making sure that my hair and makeup looks good. So, I want everything coming out of my mouth to be intelligent and thought-out. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, but it is also the most fun. Because the group of people on the Show… are all young and we’ve become friends. And all the issues that we are talking about are things that I was genuinely interested in. I mean, how many people in this world who are curious about things that are going on and haven’t figured it out, but get a television network, a production crew and money to go out and find experts and people that you are interested in speaking with to help you find conclusions. It’s a dream job for me.
Jennifer Williams: Regarding RAISING MCCAIN ideas or topics, do they literally come out of what you’re interested in or do you and your team come up with five or six different ideas and then have to choose from among them every week?
Meghan McCain: Each episode was generally pitched from when we were originally pitching ideas for episodes and it came from our production meetings with our network, PIVOT, and my production company. It was as simple as that Feminism class I did last week. I just didn’t understand what it meant to be a Feminist today. People like Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo), who I would consider a feminist, don’t really want to be called a feminist and really shy away from that label. Why is it that so many powerful, interesting women don’t want to be called a feminist anymore? So, it isn’t simple as that and this week’s episode is about how technology killed romance and dating. I was in a production meeting and we were getting stunted and weren’t really going anywhere with ideas and a girlfriend texted me and I was like, “how was your date last night?” She texted back, “He’s already sexting me. What the hell am I supposed to do? We only went out once and he’s making it uncomfortable, but I really like him.” And I started laughing [as I thought] “Yes! This is an idea for a Show!” Most girls out there dating have to deal with inevitable sexting that a lot of times, comes up after you start dating someone. Show ideas can be simple as a girlfriend texting me.
Jennifer Williams: On your second episode, you were going to be giving a speech on Feminism to some high school students. How did that go?
Meghan McCain: I turned the speech into a Q&A because there was a huge discussion and argument between me and my Producers on it. Because I do a lot of speeches to college students, I normally do only twenty to thirty minutes. So for a speech that is pretty short, I’d rather just do an hour Q&A because people get bored. Especially high school students. I spoke a little bit in the beginning about Feminism and what we are trying to discuss and if they considered themselves to be feminists. Especially as such young people. We actually ended up talking for ninety minutes. Those students were awesome.
Jennifer Williams: Well, on your Show… there is more than a little bit of cursing. Not the Samuel L. Jackson kind, no M-F’ers but close…
Meghan McCain: I know! I’m embarrassed. But as the Show goes on, it gets less and less. I swore so much. It’s amazing when you see yourself on camera… how exaggerated everything is, like “Oh my gosh! My Mother is going to kill me!” Literally, I swore like a trucker. But it gets less and less as the episodes go on. I don’t mind an “F-Bomb” here and there, but “F-Bombs” should be used in small amounts for more emphasis. Yes, I’m painfully aware of how much I swore on the Show.
Jennifer Williams: Well, being the daughter of a sailor, I was wondering if you learned how to “curse like a sailor”?
Meghan McCain: My Dad curses a lot too. I don’t think it is the worst thing in the world, but it is a little embarrassing.
Jennifer Williams: Do you think your show, RAISING MCCAIN, could draw Generation Xers and Baby Boomers?
Meghan McCain: Yes. Whoever wants to watch the Show, obviously can. Our network, PIVOT, is directed towards Millenials, but it is for whoever wants to watch it. I think some of the issues [we tackle] are pretty universal, so I hope it has a broader audience. My sweet spot tends to be high-schoolers and college students in general. Those are the people who recognize me in airports and at Target. It is always young people. Always. I hardly ever get recognized by anybody over forty. It is always nice to be recognized by young girls.
Jennifer Williams: Particularly, if they want to engage you in a conversation.
Meghan McCain: Nothing makes me happier than having a young girl coming up to me and wanting to talk about politics. There is nothing in this world that makes me happier. Period.
Jennifer Williams: I do have some political questions that I’d like to ask you, if that is okay?
Meghan McCain: I don’t mind talking about Chris Christie if that is what you…
Jennifer Williams: No, not at all. I live in Trenton, New Jersey and not far from the Governor’s Office.
Meghan McCain: Can I just say something?
Jennifer Williams: Sure, go ahead.
Meghan McCain: I just made an opinion. I was asked straight-out about him (on CNN’s Piers Morgan Show). I understand that not everyone can like my opinion. I take my shots every day.
But to dismiss a young woman as “ridiculous and sophomoric”… I just find particularly insulting. I mean, I just think that young people and especially young women have voices in this country. Everybody anywhere has a right to say their opinion and to sort of dismiss me as a young woman as ridiculous and sophomoric… that to me just validated what I already thought about him. I think there are ways. I think Governor Christie could say, “I respect her opinion or I respect what she has to say, but I disagree with her. This is why I’m a great politician and she should listen.” But to just sort of dismiss a young woman as “ridiculous and sophomoric,” I found that very insulting.
His comments just surprised me. A lot of people were tweeting about it. Maybe because I’ve seen my Dad handle people well. I saw a video on the internet of a guy telling my Dad that he’s a war criminal and should be kicked out of the country. That’s just absolutely insane and he handled it with such class and dignity. I really respect politicians that can handle criticism with class.
Raising McCain comes of Age – Part 2 of our Exclusive Meghan McCain Interview