Have you ever attended the recording of a TV show?

I’m just wondering what the experience is like.

I attending a taping of WWE Smackdown years ago.

It was loud as hell and I could barely see the ring from my seat. It was still a fun experience.

Just once, when at a young age my son was on a game show where kids competed playing video games. It was pretty cool because he was the grand champ and won a whole bunch of loot, but otherwise not an especially remarkable experience. The studio was a cavernous affair reminiscent of an aircraft hangar, with heavy soundproof sliding doors to the corridor. I imagine the doors were huge to facilitate getting sets and equipment in and out.

The only unusual thing I remember is some woman loudly complaining that her kid didn’t win anything and had been cheated or something, so she was placated with consolation prizes just to shut her up.

Someone that’s been to a big-budget production like the Late Night Colbert show, or a taping of a major sitcom, might have more interesting anecdotes to report.

In the early 60s I was a “guest” on Johnny Downs Show, an afternoon kiddie show on a local San Diego TV station. I got to show off a papier-mâché hand puppet I made in 4th grade.

I went to the taping of a quiz show (for Canada’s Discovery Network) called “Qubit”. We sat in bleachers, clapping and cheering at the appropriate moments. The most memorable part was that they had some technical difficulties with their equipment, so on several occasions they had to stop taping and restart with the same contestant buzzing in and giving the same answer they did the first time.

I got a free mug from the show, but I think I broke it.

Anyone who was a kid in the Chicago area in the late '60s and '70s knew what a big deal it was to be able to attend Bozo’s Circus on WGN – the waiting list for tickets was something like 7 years long. My mom and my aunt sent in to be put on the list of tickets when I was about 2 years old (a year before my sister was born), and we finally were able to go when I was about 9, and she was about 6.

I remember having to wait in a hallway outside the studio for what seemed like an eternity, before being able to go in. The set felt much smaller than it had looked on TV, and the audience, which had looked like it must have been 500 people when I saw it on TV, was probably more like 100 or so.

The show was a mix of live comedy acts (mostly starring the three or four clown characters) and cartoons. They had one of the clown actors (Cookie, I think) warming up the crowd with jokes before the broadcast started.

I don’t know if the show was taped, or if it aired live, but during the periods on the show where they’d be running cartoons, we in the audience could only see the cartoons on some small TV monitors, with no sound. So, instead, during those periods, they had the clowns telling jokes and otherwise entertaining the audience.

Howdy Doody—but that was in 1955, so I doubt there’s much similarity.

I was on a game show in the early 2000s. My memory is that the soundstage felt much more tiny and claustrophobic than I had pictured it on TV. Also, there were lots of starts and stops.

As a kid, when the family went to New York City, we attended a taping of two shows, one of which was To Tell the Truth. I don’t remember the name of the other show, but they were filmed live back-to-back with the same audience.

A low budget local one when I was a kid. It could be compared to the Lawrence Welk show but Slavic themed. All the pop and pretzels you could eat. Audience was actually filmed in some sequences sitting at our tables amidst the performers. Sometimes the performers would interact with an audience member during the performance. It was fun. Went quite smoothly and quick. Fascinated me to see the goings on of what TV showed me. But not a big scale production.

Many years ago, my brother and I were behind the camera in a local TV studio, and watched them deliver the local news. The studio was, like other people have said, much smaller than we expected, and even then, in the early 1980s, the weatherman used a green screen.

I guess I also co starred in a local one too.
Did several episodes of a martial arts training show. One of our group demonstrating general training and specific actions. No free food. Lots of sweating and groaning doing five episodes back to back. Very low level TV technical level. Just local cable thing. No agents called.

I have attended game shows several times. I don’t know if they still do this, but when I lived in Los Angeles they would hand out free tickets to show tapings like candy. They would give out far more tickets than the studio held, just to be sure it would be full. So if you actually wanted to attend you’d have to line up at the studio real early. They’d let the line enter, and when it was full they’d cut it off and say sorry to the (usually) dozens of people left in line.

Once I went as part of a group of five people to a taping of a sitcom (don’t remember which one, it wasn’t a well-known one). They cut the line right in the middle of our group. So two got to see the show and, as consolation the three left got to see a taping of “Soul Train”, which was filming in an adjacent studio.

Particularly memorable, I attended a Jeopardy taping back when Art Fleming was the host. The audience is actually quite small, maybe a couple hundred people. We had to clap when the “applause” sign lit. I accidentally whispered the answer to one of the questions and got shushed by a staff member.

I’ve been to two, both shows on the BBC.

The first was a sitcom which had been running for a while. We sat around in a reception area for a while and were then herded into the theatre/studio. We had pretty good seats. What was a half-hour show on TV, took all afternoon to film. We were “warmed up” by a comedian and then the actors came out. They were pretty experienced and knew what was wanted, so most of the holdups were scenery changes and recording problems. There was a girl with a big sign saying “Applause” or “Laugh” as appropriate. Not needed the first time, but after hearing the same line delivered three or four times, it does tend to fall a bit flat. I suspected that when the show was broadcast, they edited the laughter to make it more spontaneous.

The second was a quiz. They recorded four shows a day, so it was a pretty slick operation. Before we were led in, they gave us drinks (no alcohol) and nibbles. The host was funny and worked hard to keep things moving along. As others have said, I was surprised at the small audience.

It was an interesting experience and it’s sad that so many of these shows no longer have live audiences.

Many years ago I attended a taping of Family Feud back when Richard Dawson was still the host. It wasn’t quite what I expected, in a number of ways.

1.) The studios treat the audience abominably – you wait in a LONG line for a LONG time. There’s no bathroom, and no way to get water or other refreshments. It’s a Darwinian struggle, in which only the most determined sur- keep their place in line.

2.) The studio is a lot smaller than I’d imagined it. Everything looks bigger on TV.

3.) Although they could, in principle, have stopped the tape and taken as long as they wanted during the sections allowed for commercials, they actually kept these breaks to the 2-3 minutes the commercials would run.

4.) They did an entire week’s worth of shows in one session. That’s pretty well known today, but not back then.

5.) There’s a brief warm-up period with the announcer to get the audience fired up , relaxed, and ready to react

6.) My biggest surprise – since the show relies upon the results of audience survey to questions (“Survey says…”), I was sure that every studio audience would be surveyed. Apparently not. Nobody asked us any questions or polled us for answers…

I was on a local 30-minute interview TV show that featured a different local business owner each week. I was told to arrive at the studio no later than 8 am, but I was ~10 minutes late due to a torrential rainstorm and snarled traffic. There was no time to dry off, so they pulled me onto the set with soaked clothes and dripping hair.

I guess I was afraid of looking stiff and boring on air, so I over-compensated by motioning too much with my hands and over-emphasizing my speech as though I was performing Hamlet (in sharp contrast to the low-key style of the interviewer). I cringed when I saw the replay. I looked like an over-acting wet dog. Very embarrassing.

My only other foray into show business was being an extra, along with my [now ex,] wife and oldest daughter (then 3) in the movie Lonely Hearts (based on the true story of the 1940s "Lonely Hearts Killers”, a serial killing couple who lured their victims through the personals). We did it as a lark, but it was quite interesting seeing the inner workings of a Hollywood set on location.

My daughter frustrated the writer/director (Todd Robinson) in her only scene. She was supposed to pick up an apple from a fruit stand, then turn to the camera, but she instead picked up a banana, and did so for a couple of takes, until the director gave up and just went with it. Her scene was cut from the film. Not my daughter’s fault, she likes bananas, not apples.

My wife got yelled at by the director for arguing with me after he called a highly complex scene to roll, causing the cast and crew to have to re-shoot the scene (without her). Did I mention she’s now my ex?

For some reason, I was picked for several scenes (to the vocal objection of the other extras who were not chosen). I guess the casting director thought I looked like an authentic 1940s dude in the cool suit and hat wardrobe had me wear (but didn’t let me keep).

In one scene, I was directed to round the corner in the post office set and walk directly toward the camera, before John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Scott Caan, and Jared Leto emerged from behind the camera. For a few seconds, I was the only person on screen, getting bigger and bigger as I got closer to the camera. I’ll be a star! "I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

…my scene was cut. :rage: Maybe I walked funny or something (hey, it’s not easy walking naturally when a huge movie camera is pointed at you!).

All in all, it was a memorable experience, though not one I wish to repeat—too many hours of just sitting around sequestered in a room with the rest of the extras waiting to get called onto set.

John Travolta was the friendliest of all. He chatted with me a lot between scene takes (he even complimented me on my suit and hat). Gandolfini was rather stand-offish. Laura Dern was nice, as were Caan and Leto. Salma Hayek’s dog peed on my leg back at the trailer—stained my cool suit pants! :rage:

Lonely Hearts tanked at the box office. I blame my ex…and Salma’s dog.

…maybe if they didn’t cut my close-up scene? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Was that “Starcade” with Geoff Edwards? I remember that show well.

Several times Between 2002-2007 myself and another Detective escorted Sheriff David Clarke to the local PBS station where he was going to appear on a talk show. (Why does a Sheriff need body guards, right? Oh, wait, it’s because he was a butthole).

The PBS station here is inside a college in downtown Milwaukee, right across the street from the Sheriffs Office. There were 3 huge studios that felt like you were in a warehouse. Each studio could be partitioned with sound proof walls either in halves or quarters. So theoretically they could film 12 shows at the same time. The sets were on wheels and they could change them rapidly. Most sets were relatively small. So while you see on TV 4 people and a couch, desk, and chairs, what you don’t see is this big warehouse around them. There was bleacher seats that folded and was on wheels. But these shows were often filmed on Sundays or very, very early in the morning, like 4am. So there were rarely audience members.

Don’t know if this counts but I was present during, and appeared in a music video. Back in the early-mid 80’s I was at a concert in a small venue. At the beginning of the show it was announced they were going to be filming for a video and some of it would appear as a clip in the entire video. They would do this sometime in the middle of the show after everyone was rocking and having a good time. When that time came the audience was told all sorts of instructions and that if we did not want to appear or would not cooperate we needed to move to the back of the venue for the duration of the shoot. Also, that particular song was pre-recorded. They lip-synced during filming. One of the instructions was you had to pay attention to the stage. You couldn’t be talking to someone or looking away. And at one point a voice over commanded us to pound our left hands into the air. They did several takes and it took almost an hour for that one song. People started to get restless.

It was a regional band, I never got to see the finished video, and about 5 years later the band kind of disappeared.


I’ve been to several Raws and Smackdowns, as well as a Ring of Honor PPV and their TV taping the night after. The TV taping was probably the most interesting experience, since they taped four episodes in one night and I got to see about 15 matches with multiple top tier talents from NJPW who’d been in town to work the PPV. The most amusing part was when a tag team came out to cut a promo, apparently decided that they didn’t like the way it went, then left, came back, and cut the same promo again.

I heard a story that Lex Luger was in the ring for over an hour once repeatedly trying to do a 30 second promo during a WCW Thunder taping back in the 90s. And then they did NOT even use anything once the episode aired.

Also wrestler Sid Vicious asked once to re-do a promo once and the announcer with him reminded him, “We are live, pal!”

I have been in the audience of three shows.
When I was in grade school, we had a field trip to the taping of a local daytime talk show. The topic was videogame addiction, and I remember very little about it.
I was at the taping of an episode of The Daily Show back when John Stewart was hosting, and thoroughly enjoyed it. He talked to the audience, answered questions, and was as engaging and thoughtful off the air as on. The funniest part, however, was when his warmup comedian asked a big, bearded burly guy wearing flannel and work boots if he was a lumberjack. You could see him visibly deflate when the guy explained that he was indeed a lumberjack from Alaska, and that this was his off-season vacation.
Last one was the Martha Stewart show. She was the opposite of John Stewart- did not engage with the audience at all, and acted like a powered down robot when the cameras were off- just stood silent and blank faced until the show resumed. On the other hand, everybody in the audience was given a really nice swag bag for attending. I don’t remember the full contents, but books and a box of mandarin oranges were part of it.