Show ideas for The Oprah Winfrey Show come from everywhere. In the case of a show on military families, the concept came from legendary newsman Tom Brokaw himself. "I was sitting right here in this office and got a phone call from Tom Brokaw. First he asked me do I know anybody who's serving in the armed services. I say no," Oprah says. "He goes, 'Well unless you know somebody, you really don't understand the issue of what's going on with some of the bravest families in America.' So that really gave me food for thought."
Producer Dana took the idea and ran, finding real military families to share their stories, and booking Tom, journalist Bob Woodward and first lady Michelle Obama to help tell those tales. "Michelle Obama really wants to take a turn and show a different side of military families," Dana says. "It's not about all the doom and gloom. She really wants to paint a different picture and help Americans see that these are men and women who have so much to give back to society."
The show also hits home with a member of Dana's team, senior associate producer Joanna. Her brother, an Army reservist, survived a military Humvee accident. "He ended up breaking his neck in two places and his back. And his dreams died that day," she says. "It's really hard on the family because you have to learn how to go with that new normal. And you want to embrace them as who they are and not remind them of who they once were because you can't go back to that."