Let’s Hear it For The Girls
Tags: Academy Award, ALS, Bloomsburg Fair, Deb Lesante, Girls, idea, Jack Palance, Jeannine Lesante, Jeannine Lesante Mazurkiwecz, Northeast PA, skytop lodge, SSPTV, The Girls
HBO has “Girls,” but Northeast PA has “The Girls.” The local TV talk show created and hosted by mother-daughter duo Deb Lesante and Jeannine Lesante Mazurkiwecz launched in 2007. According to the hosts, the driving idea behind “The Girls” is–to allow, girls of all ages, all walks of life, to share their experiences, knowledge and talents with everyone. The show boasts nearly 150 episodes and can be seen at www.SSPTV.com
The idea to create a TV show around girls themselves was born out of an entirely different venture. Deb Lesante and her mother, Jean Marchese, opened a fine jewelry and gift shop in the late 1980s. The duo enjoyed speaking with people who passed through their shop, and especially took notice of the special bond that girls shared. As Deb and Jeannine explained, “Girls, for the most part, love to share ideas, have similar needs and concerns and are young at heart-enjoying life and having fun doing and seeing new things.” Inspired by the special connection girls share, Deb continued to develop her idea with encouragement from friend, fellow Hazleton, PA native and Academy Award winner Jack Palance.
In 1994, Deb, along with her husband Sam Lesante and children Sam Lesante Jr and Jeannine Lesante Mazurkiwecz, founded Sam-Son Productions. The production company merged the family’s unique talents in the fields of business, TV and communications and enabled “The Girls” to become reality. The first episode of the show was taped in the family’s living room and featured Jack Palance’s wife, Elaine as a guest.
Since then, the duo have featured a variety of guests from a wide array of backgrounds, including noted author Dr. Sylvia Lafair, American Idol contestant Keith London, professional baseball player Russ Canzle and entrepreneur Dick Yuengling of Yuengling Brewery. Along with their viewers, Deb and Jeannine have learned how to put out a fire, ride an elephant, skydive, walk a tightrope and cook alongside expert chefs. Episodes also featured the hosts dressed as zombies and Santa’s helpers. They even took the show on the road, exploring locations such as the Bloomsburg Fair, Skytop Lodge and Pierre Michelle Salon in New York City.
“The Girls” also tackles serious issues. The show has taken on subjects related to eating disorders, fitness, and plastic surgery and bullying, among others. Former guests who shared their stories include those who are visually impaired, lost a child and are battling ALS. As Deb and Jeannine tell it, “We’ve been entertained by talented people of all ages, learned many life changing facts and met with the most incredible people.”
Streaming on Sam-Son Productions TV website, the show has attracted not only an NEPA following, but also viewers worldwide. Visit www.SSPTV.com. -Melissa Durante