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‘The Loretta McNary Show’ goes to the Oscars

  • Written by Dorothy Bracy Alston


She’s witty, charming, bubbly, with an infectious smile; but who knew she grew up shy?

She’s witty, charming, bubbly, with an infectious smile; but who knew she grew up shy?

 “I was so afraid to talk that I cried when people spoke to me….I’m still shy, but my sons tell me to say, ‘I’m conservative.’ I’m very conservative when it’s not anything professional,” said Loretta McNary, star of “The Loretta McNary Show.”

 “It’s a calling. It’s really not about me. It’s living my life so people are inspired; and along the way I get to hang out with celebrities….” – Loretta McNary (Courtesy photos)

 Denzel Washington is one of 200-plus superstars in Loretta McNary’s interview catalogue.

Once on stage, the “transformation” happens.

“It’s my ministry. It’s seamless and I don’t even recognize the transformation. I just go with the flow and I really become my true self,” says McNary.

Who knew she’d have her own talk show?

Neither McNary nor her family dreamed her name would be on bylines, logos and book covers. Nor did they envision her on the red carpet at the Beverly Hills Hotel interviewing A-list celebrities during the 22nd Annual “Night of 100 Stars” – the hottest Oscars gala of the year. That, however, is where she will be on Feb. 26.

 “It’s a calling. It’s really not about me. It’s living my life so people are inspired; and along the way I get to hang out with celebrities, because I don’t take no for an answer,” says McNary.

Her interview catalogue includes over 200 superstars in music, TV, sports, medicine, education, fashion and film. “Four of my absolute favorite interviews, so far, are the one-on-one interviews with the talented Mr. Denzel Washington in Los Angeles, and my interviews with Loretta Devine, Ed Asner and Gloria Allred.”

Since her show first aired, McNary has been credentialed to cover some of the country’s major award shows (This will be her second Oscars gala.) She often is the only independent show present without major network.

“In August 2006, I took a leap of faith. I left corporate America, taking a considerable pay cut to work at Crichton College (now Victory University) because of family obligations.”

Two weeks later, while attending Chapel service in Crichton’s auditorium, McNary saw “a vision.”

“It was so clear. I saw myself on stage hosting my own television show. Not believing what I saw, I tried to dismiss it, but it was too real.”

Within two months, she took what she saw and ran with it. Not wanting to appear vain, but after much consternation, she decided to use her name and “The Loretta McNary Show” was born.

By November she’d researched and booked guests, and on Dec. 6, 2006, “The Loretta McNary Show” was taped before a live audience, with 125 guests and three TV cameras, in the same auditorium where she saw the vision.

She’s still dreaming, only bigger: “My goal is to become nationally syndicated.”

Five years later, the show has grown from her and a few volunteers to 23 crewmembers. It not only airs in Memphis on ION TV on Thursday’s at 5 a,m., it has been on a five-city tour, including Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. In 2011, the Show began airing in Atlanta, and is currently negotiating airtime in Dallas for 2012.

 “Initially I tried to do everything myself,” said McNary. “I’m now willing to ask for help and to share the work load because the dream is way too big to do it by myself.”

With over 15 years experience in communications and broadcasting, McNary’s taking her brand into new venues.

“Social media is a god-send,” she said. “It has opened up doors and given me so many connections that I would never have had access to.”

With faith driving her life, September and October 2011 were busy months. She published a book, “Faith for the Next Step,” launched a radio talk show bearing the same name, “Faith for the Next Step Radio” and expanded her television market.

Her book is a collection of 52 inspirational messages recalling McNary’s life lessons of pain, loss, lack, self-doubt and self-imposed limitations.

“My radio show now has listeners in London,” McNary said. “I was called by a radio show in London. Now I’m being featured on the cover of a magazine there.”

It’s all done by faith.

“The most inspiring thing for me is hearing people say how my story inspires them and increases their faith on what they are called to do.”

For the book, McNary devoted tremendous amounts of time, attention and emotion.

“I wanted my communication to be meaningful, insightful and relevant to my readers so with whatever they find themselves going through, they can reference this book and gain a more positive outlook for their situation,” said McNary.

“If you can lose a son and get through that. No other pain is tougher than that: the show, the book, being too tired, financial worries – nothing compares to that. I tell myself, ‘If I can get through that and survive, the rest is easy.”

McNary’s son, Brandon McNary, died of a seizure in July of 1999. He was 16.

“The day before he died; he called all day to say how much he loved me,” McNary recalled. Among other things, he said, “Mom, you’re going to be famous one day, but you’ve got to keep speaking and you’ve got to keep writing.”

She has four remaining sons who keep her encouraged and inspired.

 “They also think of the show as my ministry. They’re not star struck. To them I’m just mom, and they know they come before the show,” she said. “They’re always present, helping out, and working. We discuss the sacrifices we’ve had to make for the show, and they say it’s their job to be there to support my vision and my dream.”

McNary’s plate is full. Add to it her 9-year run as host of “On Cable Tonite,” which airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Comcast Channel 17; philanthropist, motivational speaker, President of Goal-Tending Seminars & Training, business consultant and award winning community activist.


She also takes on extra projects, such as an annual Brandon McNary Scholarship fundraising event; a special Mother’s Day show, where contestants write essays describing what they love about their mother, and founder of PINK EAGLES, a girl’s mentoring program she began four years ago.

How does she have time to do so much?

“I’m driven by the desire to please God and to inspire others. I’m passionate and I’m unafraid,” said McNary.

“It doesn’t mean I don’t have fear; I just do what I have to do, regardless and in spite of.”

(Follow Loretta McNary on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn at www.Loretta­McNary.com, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and radio listeners can call in on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to noon at 818-668-5411.)

(Dorothy Bracy Alston is a journalist, author, freelance writer and adjunct English professor. Visit Dorothy’s blog at http://www.CisbaAssociates.blogspot.com; join her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dorothybracyalston, email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 901-570-3923.)



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