Mineola native Karla Cavalli has done stand-up comedy in Colombia, belly dancing in Turkey and gotten kicked in the face while milking a sheep in Turkey. It was all part of the territory while host of the Travel Channel show, Planet Primetime. While traveling around the globe for the show, Cavalli would often tell the crew, “let’s win us a damn Emmy guys!”
Cavalli is now a step closer to achieving that dream, as Planet Primetime was recently nominated for two Daytime Emmy awards.
“I’m beyond thrilled that we are nominated. It’s hard to express how much it means to me,” Cavalli said. “Every person that had a hand in creating this show put their blood, sweat and tears into it. It’s really validating.”
Though the show wasn’t renewed for a second season, Cavalli is hoping the Emmy nod will spark renewed interest by other networks or outlets. Her love for the show is obvious; she submitted the show for Emmy consideration herself, a move usually done by networks.
“[The show] is fun, educational and authentic,” Cavalli said. “I truly wish executives gave more shows like Planet Primetime a shot. I’d love to see more female hosts adventuring around the world on the small screen.”
While other travel shows explore culture through food or religion, Planet Primetime explored them through the shows people watched and were entertained by. As Planet Primetime’s host, Cavalli got the privilege of starring in popular international TV shows, as well as appearing on game shows and reality shows with little to no advanced notice of what she would be doing. Among her many adventures were eating blowfish on a morning show in Japan, reciting a poem in ancient Arabic for a United Arab Emirates program, climbing a coconut tree on a stunt show in the Philippines and exploring Brazilian beauty pageants.
The show was nominated for Outstanding Travel and Adventure Series and Outstanding Directing; winners will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Friday, April 28. In addition to being up for an award, Cavalli will also be presenting at the award ceremony.
Cavalli won Miss New York in 2002 and has also worked as a host, actress, writer and producer for major outlets including CBS, E! and NBC. She recently started a production company with Kinga Phillips, a fellow TV host and friend, that will focus on shows that empower women and have female leads in the adventure and travel genre, something she says the television world is in “dire need of.”
An alum of the Mineola High School Class of 1994, Cavalli said her hometown had a tremendous influence in shaping who she is.
“Mineola will always be number one for me. Mineola cradled me and gave me this well-rounded upbringing where I learned to play soccer and dance and overachieve in school,” Cavalli said. “I could be in this suburban oasis and beautiful town made up of immigrants and it was the ultimate Americana city. Mineola means everything to me.”