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Davis Journal

Davis People: Marchelle Lee of Good Things Utah

May 06, 2021 10:02AM ● By Tom Haraldsen

The Good Things Utah team recently expanded its daily show to two hours, weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. Photos by Tom Haraldsen

If things had turned out a bit differently, Marchelle Lee might have been a dancer on Broadway, or an astronaut, or a special needs teacher. All those passions, and her inward drive to always learn and do more, led her to a much different career path as a journalist.

Today, the Woods Cross High graduate (class of 2000) helps bring both entertainment and enlightenment to viewers each weekday as executive producer of “Good Things Utah” on ABC4 Utah. Working with a team of talented hosts and a dedicated staff, GTU has become the most-viewed and most award-winning program of its type in the market.

Marchelle grew up just below Bountiful Blvd. in a family of six children. She worked at her father Ken’s CPA firm, Bement and Company, while attending the University of Utah and being part of the university’s Crimson Line dance ensemble. In high school, and later at the U., her professional plans began to change.

“I was part of a program called Best Buddies, where you worked with disabled students, took them to lunch and to dances, and during my senior year at Woods Cross I thought that was the direction I’d go,” she recalled. “When I got to college, I realized I also wanted to be a newspaper journalist, inspired by the old movies of the 50s. I wanted to be a hard-hitting investigative reporter.”

She was discouraged by her professors, who told her that “TV would be hard, but print journalism will be impossible to get into.” Still, her first job in “the business” was as a writer and producer at KUTV-Channel 2. Her friend Todd Reid gave her a shot working for the 10 p.m. news. But Marchelle’s husband was moving to Phoenix to earn his master’s degree at Arizona State, so the family headed south and she got a job at ABC15 in Phoenix, working in breaking news and then becoming a producer for five years. Their first two sons were born in Arizona, and after 10 years in the Valley of the Sun, they moved back to Utah. By then, ironically, Todd Reid had been named news director at ABC4 Utah. Marchelle joined the station team again and created a program called “The Daily Dish” which aired at 4 p.m. She then took a five year break to work for the family firm after the passing of her father, but said “I wasn’t sure where I really fit in. So I got a call one day from a friend who heard there was an opening at Good Things Utah, and said, ‘I don’t know why, but your name keeps popping into my head, and I feel you should call on this job.’” She did, and was hired by George Severson, Director of Local Programming and Creative Services for ABC4 Utah and Utah’s CW30.

Her day starts very early, as she begins looking at emails about 5 a.m., arrives at the station by 6 a.m. and starts scripting out, literally and figuratively, how the daily 9-11 a.m. broadcast will go.

“From booking segments to getting information to write on them, we create the entire show from start to finish every day,” she said. “I write the show rundown, make sure our hosts know where they’re going to stand, and time out how long they are going to talk. During the show, I greet the guests, bring them back into the studio and make sure everything is set up. Sometimes I’m in the studio behind the cameras, sometimes I’m in the control booth with McCall (Gray, the producer). And we all write our website articles. So it’s a very full day both before and after we’re on the air.”

Marchelle’s day doesn’t end when she finally leaves the station. Along with Gray and the hosts themselves, there’s reviewing of emails, discussing new segments and guests, and often working both evenings and weekends at home.

“We do two hours live five days a week,” she said. “Even when there’s holidays, we either still do pre-recorded shows or have to find repeated shows that will work. It’s kind of an endless loop at times!”

But she loves it – loves doing programs that make a difference. As an example, the day of this interview at the station, hostess Nicea DeGering was doing a segment on AED machines that almost all businesses have. She didn’t know how they worked, and none of the rest of us knew either except a guest from Unified Fire Authority who walked Nicea and viewers through it. 

“My greatest satisfaction is just working with our cast and crew,” she said. “You see them on the air and they are the same off the air. The GTU family really is a family. We’re here for each other, which is important because this can be a high stress job.”

Marchelle and her family are moving back to Davis County from Holladay, and she’s anxious to “return to my old stomping grounds. My kids have not been around those places, so it will be fun to show them where I used to rollerblade, for example. Plus my sister is my best friend and we’ll only be about a minute from each other.”