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INTERVIEW: Producer Haleigh Raff On The North Fork TV Festival, Her Path To Late-Night Success At 30 Rock, And More

T.J. Clemente

Raff (right) is a Producer at Late Night with Seth Meyers. (Courtesy Photo)

The 4th Annual North Fork TV Festival is a two-day celebration in Greenport featuring screenings, panels, and parties that pay homage to the future of independent scripted television. Hamptons.com interviewed the Festival's Co-Director Haleigh Raff, who is a late-night Producer at NBC. With an office at 30 Rock and a list of accomplishments such as working with Conan O'Brien, The View, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, and Seth Meyers, to name a few, Raff is a dynamic force to be reckoned with.

Born in a small town outside of Cleveland Ohio, Raff explained, "Even as a child I had dreams of working in TV in New York." Interviewing Raff is like listening to the American Dream in a way that exemplifies the best attributes of what is good about our world. The right woman is winning. She is a mother of two, a wife, and a career warrior who people in her industry respect and love, because she is honest, hardworking, loyal and a total team player. She revealed a formula for success in any field when she said, "I never let success go to my head, I was just an ordinary person in wonderful situations and was always willing to do my part be it small or larger to do my job."

Never once did she boast of her talents, but instead she tediously explained her journey through Syracuse University's Newhouse School. She recalled, "I didn't actually get into Newhouse School at first, but I went to Syracuse and after posting a 4.0 my freshman year, I was admitted."

After college, Raff headed to New York City to follow her dream. "I took a job in advertising at first, and then through some connections I scored an interview for a minor position for Conan O'Brien's late-night show. I headed over to 30 Rock and did the interview. In the elevator afterwards, on the way down, I knew the interview didn't go well and when I reached the lobby, I decided to go back up. When I returned, I told them, I really wanted this job, I really need this job, I will do anything and everything, like fetch dry cleaning, etc. I will do whatever it takes to do this job well and they hired me."

Now, twenty years later, Raff is an insider in the world of late-night TV. While she knows the players personally, she noted, "I have always remembered where I came from, but I always represent who I work with and for respectfully and professionally and the caveat is I am doing my dream job. I am living my dream, so, of course, that helps a lot."

As for the North Fork TV Festival, she said, "Four years ago my husband and I were in Greenport. We love Greenport and being in television, I decided to check out the first North Fork TV Festival. I understood and respected Noah and Lauren Doyle's vision about creating a yearly festival. After meeting Noah and Lauren a few times socially, they invited me to share their vision and to become involved."

The North Fork TV Festival mission statement describes the Festival as a vehicle gathering buyers and sellers in a global marketplace and providing an accessible platform for emerging creators. The Festival is now held annually at the historic Greenport Theatre, in Greenport, New York. The Festival curates independent pilots, hosts industry discussions, and honors distinguished innovators in television.

This year, Kelsey Grammer will be honored with the Canopy Award at the Festival on October 4th at the Greenport Theatre.

Raff added, "The fact that we can honor a TV talent and icon like Kelsey Grammer shows the North Fork TV Festival has a long bright future."

The North Fork TV Festival will take place on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5. The Festival is currently offering 20% off Festival passes and tickets with the code: VIP20.

For more information about the North Fork TV Festival, visit www.northfork.tv.

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