Kansas City Live: Co-host Michelle Davidson brings experience to new show
Would you agree to be filmed on local TV with your hair unfixed and no makeup on your face?
Michelle Davidson did. As co-host of Kansas City Live, a new mid-morning, magazine-style program on local NBC affiliate KSHB, the 30-something actress, mother, screenwriter and broadcast journalist kind of has to be up for anything.
“My adrenaline pumps through my body when it hits 10 o’clock and they count us down to the show starting,” she says.
So far the hijinks have not approached the embarrassment potential of, say, the reporting segments in Bridget Jones’ Diary. For a pre-recorded segment aired during the show’s first week, Davidson’s duty involved a pinup style makeover, complete with before-and-after on-screen face time. (The trim, blond, St. Louis native looked lovely throughout the episode.)
Thanks to a background in TV reporting, Davidson is used to the excitement and the occasional awkwardness inherent to live programming. She is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer.
“Michelle brings a wealth of experience and ideas to Kansas City Live,” says producer Stephanie Liebergen. “From news to film, each element of her past makes her a well-rounded person and brings a unique quality to her on-camera personality.”
Yet Davidson describes Kansas City Live as “a totally different beast” than anything she’s done before. Although the show is designed to highlight community happenings, businesses and people, it’s also about her.
In the tradition of nationally broadcast morning shows, Kansas City Live depends on the openness of and interplay between its co-hosts. Michael Mackie is the Regis Philbin to Davidson’s Kelly Ripa. With a beard and close crop as white-blond as her shoulder-length mane, Mackie could pass as her brother. Mackie’s persona is slightly impish but not too snarky. Davidson comes off as the stylish, funny, suburban mom she is.
Davidson lives in the Northland with her husband and two young children. His career in banking brought the family here five years ago. They had been living in Houston, and Davidson says she was relieved to move to a city she visited frequently as a child and where many of her college alums had settled.
A graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Davidson was an anchor and reporter at KOMU-TV in Columbia and KY3 in Springfield. In Houston, she used her on-camera skills for commercial acting and sought out the local film community as soon as she settled in Kansas City.
Her new friends quickly asked her to audition for a role in a movie, and she’s been picking up film work ever since, including a role in 2010’s Lucky, which starred Colin Hanks, and an upcoming episode of Boss, Kelsey Grammer’s series on Starz.
Davidson also has created some award-winning short films and continues to work on new scripts at night when her children go to sleep. “That’s certainly a passion for me,” she says of screenwriting. “It’s therapeutic.”
She’s also passionate about supporting women on all sides of the camera. Davidson is president of the group Kansas City Women in Film & TV. She hosts CINEMAKC, a program showcasing area filmmakers on KCTV 5, and is a board member of the Film Commission of Greater Kansas City.
Her multi-pronged ambition led her friend and frequent film project collaborator Patrick Rea to describe Davidson as a “quadruple threat.” She’s a “talented actor, talented writer, an outgoing personality and a real go-getter,” he says.
The film community is where Davidson initially met her Kansas City Live co-host. Mackie and Davidson worked on a commercial together a couple of years ago. As a performer and collaborator, she says they had chemistry from the start.
“It’s a positive for Kansas City to have a show that lets the city shine and the people of KC shine,” she says. “I hope people will grow to see the awesome potential of the show.”
And if Davidson’s success in film keeps growing, Kansas City will be able to say we knew her when.