Meet Keltie Knight, Emmy award-winning entertainment journalist, Entertainment Tonight correspondent, co-star of the LadyGang TV show on E!, and co-host of the LadyGang Podcast, a twice-weekly digital audio broadcast featuring celebrity guests and endless gossip.
From covering red carpets and award shows, to one on ones with Hollywood’s brightest stars, Keltie is well-versed in all things celebrity, becoming one herself in the process. With the LadyGang podcast having reached its 200 episode and 40 million downloads milestones, the LadyGang TV show prepares to return from its hiatus on March 3rd.
I chatted with Keltie about everything from turning her podcast into a female-run TV production, to managing multiple jobs, and interviewing Oprah.
THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR BREVITY AND CLARITY.
when did you get into entertainment? Because obviously you have this crazy history and your path has taken you here, but When did that start?
“I was basically a professional dancer when I was young. I was a ballerina growing up and then went out and did the Broadway thing, or tried to do the Broadway thing, and was a Radio City Rockette for six years. So that was my foray into the entertainment business. And then I started making YouTube videos of backstage at The Rockettes and then I got in trouble because they didn’t actually like that…and then the whole time I was doing the dancing, I had started this blog just because it was 2003 and blogging was the thing that everyone started doing and I just loved it. The blog got pretty big and I ended up partnering with a tech company on that, and then CBS found me and said, “Can you do for our websites what you did for your website?” And I was like, “I don’t know, but I can try!” So that’s actually how I got started. I was a digital correspondent at CBS and then I worked my way up to Entertainment Tonight so it’s been an overnight sensation twelve years in the making. That’s how it goes.”
How did THE LadyGang podcast come about?
“Becca Tobin and I had known each other from our Broadway years in New York City and had mutual friends and always had wanted to do something together. We were having lunch one day and we came up [with] the idea. Becca is a really big ideas person; she’s someone that dreams these massive dreams. I'm more of the doer where I’m like “Are we doing this? Okay, we are doing this. Here's how we're gonna get it done.” But we knew we wanted a third girl and I actually have a mutual ex-boyfriend with Jac [Vanek], and I've always thought Jac was so cool, but I also really loved that she wasn't in the Hollywood scene because everyone in LA is trying to be famous in some way but she was just running her fashion business and oblivious to it and I thought that was a really cool kind of woman to include and we just started. And honestly, I don't think we knew at that time. I mean we definitely had big dreams but there’s no way we could have possibly known all the success we would have based on that first little podcast recording. We were just trying to make a few extra dollars and have a job that, if we got fired from our other jobs, we could fall back on.”
And then you sold the show—how did that happen?
“It’s actually a really interesting story. So after our second or third episode of the podcast, one of the talent executives over at E! actually contacted me because I had met her before through the TV hosting world and taken meetings with her. She wrote us and was like “Hey, come in for a meeting. I wanna meet you guys and see what you’re doing,” and so we went in for a meeting and we discussed maybe doing a digital series on E! Online and in the meeting…I wasn’t a dick, but I basically was like “You know what? We’re good. We’re not going to do a digital series. We are gonna make this podcast the biggest female podcast in the world and then we’re gonna come back and then we’re gonna get a TV show. And everyone was like, “uh are you sure about that?!” And I was like, “Yeah, we’re good!” So we left and then about a year later my agents and stuff were like, “Hey there’s still interest. Do you want to make a TV show?” and we’re like, “Yes!” And so we met with production companies and we filmed a sizzle and then we took it back out to the E! network because that was always our first choice and they were like, “Okay, we’re ready! Let’s do this.” And so we had to prove ourselves that we could make it as successful as we thought we could and then the show came from there!”
Amazing. So how long have you been doing that now?
“For the show, we’re about to start the second half of our first season in March. We premiered the fall of 2018 and now we have 11 more episodes starting on March 3rd. I feel like we never stop because we were in pre-production and then piloting and deals and so it’s been a long time to get to this place.”
And you’re clearly a very busy woman, so what does a typical day look like for you?
“I get up in the morning, I head over to CBS for my Entertainment Tonight job. I do a bunch of radio hits. I try, if I can get myself out of bed, to work out first thing in the morning. Then I’ll go into hair and makeup for the day and then I’ll do some affiliate hits for ET and then I usually have this break between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and that’s when, in my office at the ET building, I’m kind of running a racket of LadyGang so we have our senior director Alex who works in my office, and then my assistant Emily also works in that office so it’s kind of wild. Throughout the day I change my clothes like 17 more times, do conference calls, do meetings, do phone meetings, drive across town and interview celebrities, come back, tape ET Live, tape the weekend show, tape another show, and then I go out into the world. Like yesterday, I had meetings for the TV show from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and then I drove back to CBS and had a shoot from 8 p.m. ‘til 10 p.m. So basically I never stop working. I have no life. I am completely one-sided. People are like, “How do you balance it all, Sheryl Sandberg?” And I’m like, “I have no balance. I always just work.””
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your career?
“The biggest challenge for me is giving up power because when you’re a little hustler like me and you’ve done everything yourself, at some point you get too busy to be able to do everything yourself, so you have to put your trust in the people around you like my Emily or Alex or the team for the TV show or the Entertainment Tonight team that they are all showing up in the same way I would show up for myself and that can be really challenging. And the other thing is just the lack of sleep and the guilt of letting people down in your social life. I am constantly racked with guilt about seeing my best friends, or it’s Valentine’s Day weekend and I’m about to fly to London for three days so I won’t see my husband. My dad had his 70th birthday this week and I walked out of a meeting so that I could FaceTime him during his party and watch him open his gift and then went back into the meeting and my mom called me and said, “Oh my God, that meant so much to us because you never put us first,” and then I was like “Oh God, I’m the worst!” So the guilt of it all is pretty debilitating.”
What’s been the most defining moment of your career?
“Interviewing Oprah, obviously. Because when you interview Oprah, you’re like, “I have made it” because Oprah doesn’t talk to everybody and she’s so incredible and I grew up watching her, and she’s such an icon that I was like, wow, I’m doing the thing right now. That’s Oprah Winfrey in front of me. So that for sure was a moment where I sat back and was like, “Wow. I’m doing this.””
What advice do you have for young women looking to break into the entertainment industry?
“I think that you have to be, obviously, all the things you already know—hard-working, resilient, able to overcome rejection, dress for the job you want, be kind to everyone. But I think more than that, it’s being flexible in what your dreams look like. I’ve seen so many people come to me and say, “I wanna be a TV correspondent like you” and the truth is by the time they get to this, their job might not exist or might not look the way that you think it’s gonna look so you have to be really flexible in what success means to you. I wanted to be a Broadway star and here I am talking about other people on television. But still, this is great! But I had to be flexible in what my dreams looked like and what success looked like for me. ”
Where do you consume media and do you have any favorite publications or podcasts that you listen to?
“Yes! Listen, I’m boss on Twitter! I know this is so crazy because Twitter was over, but I got on it when we were doing the show so I could live tweet the show, and I’m all about the Twitter highlights! I’m feeling so good about it so I’m consuming the links that come up on my Twitter and from everyone I follow. But, I love a magazine in Canada called Flare. I think they’re like the Refinery29 of Canada and they’re doing incredible, incredible content. Obviously, I follow ET Online and E! Online for all my celebrity content. But I’m still kind of old school. I have subscriptions to every major magazine and there’s nothing more I love than on a Saturday morning to sit down with a cup of coffee and read the magazines. Everything from [Better] Homes & Gardens to EatingWell to Glamour to Vogue. I’m still old school and I like to see it in print and hold it like a book.”
What tools do you use to stay organized with all of your projects that you have going on?
“We have an app called Basecamp. Some people use Slack, but for LadyGang, we use Basecamp, so we basically have this hive where everything lives. From our taxes, to our rundowns for the show, to our TV photos - everything. That’s been really helpful for LadyGang. For keeping my life in order, I’m in the iPhone calendar and I’m also a major major bullet journal-er, which that sounds crazy, but I just got into it at the end of last year and I love it so much. I’m reading all the bullet journal blogs, following all the bullet journal-ers, and writing down my stuff, and it’s helping me to keep it straight. But, I just have a good team behind me that’s telling me where to be and how to be and what time to be there. It doesn’t always work out but we do our best. It’s something I’m working on. The problem for me, and I think any modern woman, is that I am constantly double-booked on everything. So there aren’t actually enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do. We had our LadyGang meeting this week; I was changing clothes in between doing live hits for ET, Becca was getting her makeup done for an audition she was going to, and we were having a conference meeting in my office so we’re always going five hundred miles an hour and that’s the real challenge of being an entrepreneur, I think, and building a small business because we could probably use ten more people on our staff and a home base but we just don’t have that ability right now so we’re just trying to make it work. At some point, I would like to be like Bumble or Drybar and have a whole crew of people, but we’re not there. It’s certainly like doing it for ourselves at this point.”
what big projects do you have planned for 2019?
“The girls will probably kill me, but we may have a LadyGang book in the works, which we are so excited about —well, we haven’t even signed that yet, so it might not be coming. We have 11 more episodes and we’re actually going to be touring this summer doing live podcasts all over America which is so exciting. Those are our three big things. I think getting the LadyGang show out and making it a smash is our number one goal because there are really no women in late-night and so the fact that we’re doing a Sunday night late-night show is so important. It’s 90% female employees on the show. Everyone in places that you would never expect like our sound and our DP and our producers. Hollywood is all about making this change for women, but we are walking the walk so we really need the show to be a success so that female based shows that are backed by females can be popular and to make money and continue, you know?”