Times Square studio director has always loved entertainment
By Vida Volkert
FSU graduate Maura Hayes starts her morning every day at 6:30 a.m. ABC's "Good Morning America" news show, with Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson, is her first client of the day.
Unlike most Amer-icans, Hayes gets to watch them report the news in person.
Hayes, 41, is the director of production operations of the busy New York City television and film studio, Times Square Studios. In addition to shows like "20/20," "Prime Time" and "College Scoreboard," clients have also produced shows at the studio such as Black Entertain-ment Television and the A & E Network.
Danny DeVito, Robin Williams, Kelsey Grammer, and Kim Catrell have appeared in film productions shot at the studio. Often, special non-broadcast events are booked, and once Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Rudy Guiliani drove a Hummer right into the studio. (Three of the four windows in the street level studio are removable.)
"Each production brings its own staff," she said.
But Hayes oversees the entire operation, making sure the clients are taken care of.
From the studio she has a magnificent view of Broadway.
The two-floor studio, which is managed by Disney, is in the heart of Times Square. MTV is across the street.
"I love it," she said. "It's a great opportunity that puts my face on the map."
It's a map where celebrities such as Muham-mad Ali, John Travolta, Oprah Winfrey and big- time entrepreneurs in the film entertainment and broadcast industry come and go, Hayes said.
And she meets them and makes the right connections.
Hayes says she believes talent, education and being in the right place at the right time have helped her make the right career moves.
Her 25-year Disney career began early, when she was a teenager growing up in Orlando.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Hayes moved with her family to Florida when she was 8.
Walt Disney World opened the doors to what she loved the most, "entertainment." She liked to dance and sing and landed a role in the original cast of Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade.
In 1979 she left her job at Disney and went to FSU to pursue a degree in dance, but changed to communication and finished in three years.
She worked for FSU's "1800 Seconds," a news broadcast show, but the performer in her was active as a Golden Girl dancer for the basketball team. She helped start the Garnet and Gold Girls to introduce football recruits and their parents to FSU.
For a while she lived in the Jennie Murphree dormitory and later moved to the Kappa Delta sorority house.
By her last year in college, Hayes had the skills she needed to take an internship at an ABC station in Orlando.
Her writing, which she said she developed at FSU, gave her
the chance to work as a news reporter and editor.
She ended up in the film and TV department at Disney working on films and commercials, and she traveled to Paris in 1992 to help the press cover the opening of Euro Disney.
In 1999 an energetic, talented and well-connected Hayes got a call from New York and was offered a job at Times Square Studios.
"My degree, my experience and a lot of hard work after college got me here," Hayes said about her job in New York. "I think this was definitely the right career move."
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