By Christopher A. Pape
Melissa Francis of Fox Business Network fame is a beauty. Well, obviously she is more than just good looking, with a degree in economics from Harvard and an ultra-popular show on the aforementioned channel, she is a genius too! All this adds up to produce a woman that is stunningly elegant and impeccably graceful. It is no wonder than that Melissa Francis is smoking hot. Beauty and brains – she’s got it all.
When I first sat down with her, I knew I was in for a treat. With a spotless office and flashing an enticing smile, we got down to business. What follows is an interview, which is playful, insightful and was a delight to do.
Melissa promises to write for our November edition and come to our big bash (I’m holding her to it). I hope you enjoy the piece as much as I enjoyed meeting her!
Resident (R): Tell me about the impetus of the book, how did it come about?
Melissa Francis (MF): I always wanted to be a writer, and I always tried to write and send it around. They liked my writing style but the story arc was not up to scratch, so with this in mind I asked people for advice and they helped me to correct that, so then it just flew out. It is coming out in November.
R: I know you’re not a native New Yorker but you’ve been here a long time.
MF: Yes! I feel like a native New Yorker, I’ve been here since 2003 and just moved to the Upper East Side, with my husband and two kids, my munchkins. I’m a hardcore New Yorker.
R: What does it mean to be a New Yorker?
MF: It means you love the city and are committed to it. I always say I have two kids and they can walk out the front door and do whatever they want. Some people think it’s crazy here; it’s crazy for them but it’s perfect for us!
R: How is it to have kids in the city?
MF: I love it because I feel like they have the opportunity to do so many things without driving a car; it just feels like we are all working together in this vibrant place. I often go to see Thomson and Greyson in plays at school and they will visit me at work.
R: You were a child actress, how was that?
MF: I really enjoyed it all, but when I got to college I decided to go somewhere far (Harvard) so I couldn’t put one foot in the business. I did an internship when I was in a Fox affiliate in LA and I was hooked. I loved acting but it was always someone else’s words and thoughts, whereas in news we use our own opinions. We have a segment called ‘Disagree With Me’, which is the story of the day and I argue with someone who thinks the complete opposite to me, and that type of show now is why I love news versus acting.
R: What did you do after college?
MF: I went to Harvard, I majored in economics and I worked for the Chief Economic Reporter for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour for two years and helped him put together stories. After school, I went to Maine and got a job at a local newsroom.
R: Tell me about your experience with Fox Business.
MF: I love Fox, it incorporates many more viewers because it covers the intersection between Wall Street, Main Street and Washington. Everything that happens in government impacts your finance and your job and so on. It is much broader; it is more about how everything that happens in economy affects the individual and how it impacts job market.
R: Do you do write for the show?
MF: Most of the show isn’t written. We figure out big stories and work out how we will attack them. We write the facts of the situation that we are discussing but then it becomes a dialogue between guest experts and ourselves. I will ask my team to search for facts and write it all up, but that just arms us for our discussion.
R: Do you get any interaction from the public?
MF: Yes, Twitter blows up a lot and they tell us their thoughts. It’s a great indicator.
R: What kind of audience is it?
MF: At 5:00pm we get a nice cross section of people, who have come home from work, we get moms who are home for dinner, financial people still in offices and we get a lot of new people watching.
R: What is your typical day like?
MF: Busy! I get the kids dressed and ready then I get here at around 8 to have the first meeting, then it’s the one o’clock show, and at 10:15am I meet for my later show.
R: How do you secure guests?
MF: I know everybody in the financial industry so I have good contacts; we put out feelers to see who wants to come on. We decide early in the morning who we are going to reach out to according to stories. We look at our phones before we do anything in the morning.
R: With kids, do you go out a lot?
MF: I try to limit it to after 8pm on weekdays so I get them to bed and settled. My husband and I are true New Yorkers so we never stay in; there is always a lot of energy. We are always heading to the Lower East Side to check out the newest restaurants. On weekend nights we don’t usually take out the kids out, that’s really our time.
R: How do you give back to New York?
MF: My husband and I are involved in Youth Inc, which helps fledgling charities to get up and running and advises how to survive in the long run. My husband is on the board and I always do their events.
R: How is it to be a woman in the business?
MF: Everyone asks this! I feel like financial media is all women, Maria Bartiromo was one of the first and she made brains sexy; I looked up to her in college. I feel like women dominate financial news!
R: Would you consider moving to another sector of news?
MF: I love financial news, when I was an intern for the Today Show I used to pitch business stories and they said that if you like that you should do that because everyone else thinks it is boring! But it’s become so important because everything depends on the government and the financial world; you may think you don’t care about Washington, for example, but if they alter healthcare or introduce something new then it will affect the job market as employers will have to accommodate for any changes and base their budgets and number of employers based on this information. So it really affects us all.
R: Can you give us any long-term scoops?
MF: I am being sent on a number of assignments but I can’t be any more specific than that, all I can say is that there are some big plans in place for the near future!
R: Do the kids ever come down?
MF: They do! They love seeing me on the screen and they love wearing the headsets - it is so sweet!
R: Did they give you freedom when they wanted you to do your own show?
MF: Yes that was the great thing; they simply told me to be me. Roger (Ailes) recruited me, and I never had any intention to leave CNBC, but when Roger calls it’s an opportunity of a lifetime and I couldn’t have come running fast enough! •
On November 5th, Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir is launching. It is a detailed account of Melissa’s daring and provocative family memoir.
The book is a fascinating account of her life as a child star in the 1980’s, and also a startling tale of a family under the care of a highly neurotic, dangerously competitive mother.