James Lott Jr. sings, acts and has written over 20 books, but he didn’t stop there. He also has his own business as a professional organizer, has his Doctorate in Divinity and he started JLJ Media for good measure.
JLJ Media does numerous projects, including hosting some after shows of popular TV series like “When Calls The Heart,” “Dallas,” “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives” is one of them.
“I hooked up with AfterBuzz TV back in 2014-2015. I had met someone who knew someone, who knew someone and who knew someone that was involved in this YouTube channel for after shows. For those who may not know what after shows are, they’re shows that talk about a show after it airs. I was a radio host, had my own radio show, and I had never thought about doing TV. Radio is my first love. Someone said I should come on because I like Days of Our Lives and they were starting a Days of Our Lives after show so I was like yeah, I’ll do it! The show premiered in February of 2015 and then later that month I got a call asking if I could come on that Sunday and that’s how I got started guest hosting that show. People started liking me and I did over 805 hours of shows for them,” he said.
Soap opera’s like “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives” used to be on all the major networks all day long. There’s been a recent sharp decline in the number of traditional soaps on the air.
“Everybody has 10 thousand reasons why but I think O.J. Simpson, that trial started that. It cut into the soaps literally programming wise and it was it’s own soap opera. I think that was part of it. Also, the traditional soap opera, there’s less of them yes, but everything now is soap opera. It’s permeated into every part of our cable lives, movies, TV series, drama and primetime. They are all doing cliffhangers and things that were soap staples. I think there’s so much now for people to watch and attention spans have gotten shorter. K think that’s why so many Soaps aren’t on now,” he stated.
While traditional soaps may be few in number now, people still love their dramatic series as evidenced by the ratings of shows like “When Calls The Heart” and “The Walking Dead;” the number one and two scripted shows on cable TV, according to the ratings.
This is something James Lott Jr. recognized when he started building JLJ Media.
“I started wanting to create a world that I wanted to see. As a person of color, as a person who’s a regular guy, who has a lot of friends in my life and has my own creativity, I always liked helping other people and that’s how JLJ Media started. It’s all about helping other people first. Then it grew into creating my own programming. I started creating what I wanted to see and helping people I wanted to help. It’s not about me, it’s about the collective. Giving people a chance who normally wouldn’t get the chance,” he said.
“The JLJ Media brand is about helping other people. We are very diverse. I work with all kinds of people with different backgrounds. No one is turned away based on their background or experience,” He continued.
One of the popular series hosted by JLJ Media is the “When Calls The Heart” after show. Seasons 3-6 were on the AfterBuzz network but then during season 7 of the series, Lott became ill with a severe case of Bell’s Palsy and didn’t do much.
“Last year when I started my network, I said I’m a heartie, we’re hearties, so I picked it up and now I’m the executive producer and creator of this after show and we did the end of season 7 and now season 8 on the JLJ network,” he said.
The after show doesn’t just recover what the viewers already saw but Lott and his co host, Marisa Serafini, discuss the episodes, give their opinions and bring in guests from the series.
“Opinion TV is something that I do really well. I know what’s needed and what’s necessary. Anybody can watch a show and recap it like just straight recapping, that’s boring. You already watched it. After shows are supposed to be like your friends getting together around the water cooler on a Monday morning going wow what happened last night on ‘When Calls The Heart’? That’s what we provide. We provide a live chat and people chat with each other and chat with us. My job is to give my opinion of the episode. Marissa and I both give our honest opinions about what we saw on that episode,” James said.
This season 8 finale of “When Calls The Heart” saw some viewers unhappy with the choice Erin Krakow’s character, Elizabeth, makes in deciding between two suitors in Kevin McGarry’s character Nathan Grant and Chris McNally’s character Lucas Bouchard. This has resulted in some negative feedback from the unhappy viewers.
“The vitriol is what shocked me because we’ve had issues in the past Daniel Lissing left [Constable Jack Thornton], that was a tough time, we had to walk through that also and when Lori Loughlin left [Abigail Stanton] so the Hearties have been through some stuff with reel life meeting real life. Some very tough times. I know when you have triangles [in love stories] dissention is going to happen. It’s a no win situation. The folks were team Nathan and Team Lucas so one set is going to be unhappy. But what I was surprised by, was the anger that was directed at me, my co host Marisa, on Brian Bird [co-creator, executive producer] the writers and actors, it was just like you would have thought we murdered someone so that’s what I don’t understand. I understand being upset, I understand how they feel but just the language being used towards people in the show, that’s what I don’t like. I don’t like disrespect. I think people are getting caught up and losing their manners. I was just shocked by how mean they were,” he stated.
Lott continues to work on his music career as well.
“With this newer stint, I just celebrated five years and I have a remix of my first song called ‘I Am Ready’. It’s me and five of my collaborators so that was fun and I have a whole division actually. I have several artists signed to me and working on some of their albums and as far as my stuff, I’m pulling together album number 7 and number 8 for release at some point. I’ve also got some Spanish songs I’m working on and I’m going to come out with a Spanish album. I’m always writing songs, everyday or so I’m writing a song or a piece of a song. Writing is my first love. Writing is at the heart of everything I do. I’m always writing, it’s the foundation of everything I do” he said.
Lott has a tentative title for his upcoming album. “Salvation Is Possible When Dancing Your Way To Heaven” is the potential name of the album.
“Originally, I was going to do a Christian dance album! I’m a big fan of older groups like DC Talk and I love Toby Mac, they do such great up tempo christian songs. All of my songs obviously come to me because of Him. I played some for some people I know and they loved it but I decided not to make a Christian album. I’m going to include these songs on my regular album. I decided my life isn’t separated, my faith is part of my life journey so I thought why am I separating my music?” he questioned.
After some near death episodes, Lott got the message. Enjoy life and do everything you’ve been gifted with to do.
Lott loves producing, directing, writing and singing. He has goals for his future firmly in place.
“I’d like to see my network continue to grow with more diverse programming . I want to work with more people; more actors, more writers, more producers and directors. I’d like to be like the male Oprah! That’s what I want! From Christian to Secular, from Black to White, from Latino to American, I want diversity and I want growth,” he said.
James Lott Jr. is a rare find in today’s world. He’s a true modern-day renaissance man building his media empire while keeping his focus on helping others.