Although this isn’t the first appearance Jill Wilderman has made in Evansville Living (“Hollywood Lights,” November/December 2007 and “Teen Spirit,” July/August 2010), we’ve uncovered more topics to discuss with the Posey County native and twice Emmy-nominated producer of courtroom series hit show Judge Judy.
When we last spoke with Wilderman in 2010, she was just settling into her role as executive producer and correspondent for Fanlala.com, a social website dedicated to teen celebrity news. After receiving word she created a new website for country music news, we caught up with our old friend to get the Hollywood low-down.
EL: Tell us about your new venture, SpotlightCountry.com.
Jill Wilderman: I think there is a huge void in the Los Angeles entertainment market for country music news. No one is really covering it, which is unfortunate. Over the past few years, I feel that I’ve gained good experience and have become well-versed in the online world.
Ideally, SpotlightCountry.com will become a trusted source with country musicians where country music fans can watch videos and interviews with their favorite artists. I feel the momentum building, but for now I’m just having a great time doing it. I also started shooting my own weekly in-studio show for Spotlight Country, which I write, produce, and host.
EL: As a small-town gal, you must have a few favorite country music stars.
JW: I grew up listening to Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. Now, I’m loving some of the brand-new country artists such as Eli Young Band, Gloriana, Kip Moore, and The Farm. I also love Luke Bryan; he is an incredible performer and knows how to engage his fans and put on a killer show.
EL: Do you have some advice for others wanting to pursue a career in Hollywood?
JW: Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. I had a lot of support from my family and never let the idea of moving to Hollywood intimidate me. There will always be people along the way who will challenge you and make you question your career path or goals — pay them no attention. If you truly work hard and are passionate about what you do, you can do anything you put your mind to. Also, Hollywood is really small, so always be at your best. You definitely don’t want to burn bridges, as you will cross paths again with people several times throughout your career.
EL: Who is your favorite celebrity that you’ve met?
JW: I have to say Richard Branson and Ryan Seacrest because they are so ridiculously good at what they do. They both work so hard and clearly know business and how to make things happen. They also have great energy about them. Another favorite of mine is Stevie Wonder. He is so approachable and has a gentle way about him. We talked about his charity and why he started it, and I was so humbled and inspired by him.
EL: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years? Do you see yourself ever moving back to Evansville?
JW: I want to have my own network in 10 years. As for moving back, it’s difficult to say. I would like to be back and forth more. I’ve been lucky to travel to Nashville, Tenn., for a new endeavor, which is closer to home, and I love that. LA could have me for the long haul, but home is where the heart is. Stay tuned.
Check out Wilderman’s new website at SpotlightCountry.com, or tune in to Beej & the Breakfast Bunch (the Tri-State’s new radio broadcast station) on Q102 101.9 for “Jill’s Celebrity 411.”