Ever want to step through your television screen and onto the set of your favorite program? You can. Countless reality shows, sitcoms, game shows, and morning and late-night talk shows invite viewers to attend their tapings and live broadcasts. Here are some tips on how to snag tickets, survive the lines and make the most of your on-camera moment.
●Several companies handle ticket requests. For example, 1iota distributes tickets for “The Voice,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Talking Dead” in Los Angeles as well as “The Chew” and “Good Morning America” in New York. Audiences Unlimited has 30 shows in its stable, including “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mike & Molly” and “Undateable.” On Camera Audiences doles out tix for “The Price Is Right,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “American Ninja Warrior,” among others. Also check the websites of network stations for ticket info. All tickets are free.
●The companies typically post available dates at least 30 days in advance. Check their online calendars frequently or follow the ticket operators on social media, where they provide updates on shows, special offers and giveaways.
●The shows are looking for reliable attendees with lots of enthusiasm, so sell yourself. Sign up for 1iota’s member account and increase your odds by providing as much personal info as you are comfortable with. Also chat up the shows on social media and hashtag the lights out of your tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook comments.
●Be flexible. You might not know if you scored tickets till the day before the taping. Or, conversely, the show might cancel on you at the last minute. Or you might be told that you don’t have tickets and then — surprise! — you do. The process is very fluid, so go with the flow.
●Once you secure tickets, follow the accompanying instructions. Print out all required paperwork, such as tickets and parking passes. Also know which type of pass you have so you can plan your arrival time accordingly. Priority means guaranteed seating; general admission translates to first come, first served — so you will want to line up early. Leave large bags behind, as well as smartphones and cameras. At “The Price Is Right,” we had to check our phones with security before we entered the studio. Guests with backpacks had to run back to their cars or pay for a locker at a store across the street. Finally, follow the dress code for possible face time with the camera but also wear clothes that will sustain you during long waits in the outdoors.
●Know what you are getting into. Will Kittler, a Los Angeles comedian who has attended tapings of nearly two dozen shows, says live or semi-live programs are often the best, because the production crew has to stick to the schedule. A two-hour live show can’t go overtime. By comparison, sitcoms can take halfway to forever because of constant reshoots. If you wish to see a sitcom, Kittler recommends an established show, such as “Big Bang,” because the polished crew members are more likely to breeze through the job. On a pilot or new show, they might deliberate over every scene, which Kittler said can be a “grueling” experience. Some of his favorite shows to watch in person: “@midnight,” “The Voice” (one caveat: The taped episodes, such as the blind auditions, can take hours), “Undateable” and talk shows. The ones he avoids: “America’s Got Talent” (lots of downtime between set changes) and “American Ninja Warrior” (tapes all night with few provisions).
●Expect to wait in several lines over several hours. All told, the entire experience can take nearly half a day. For “The Voice,” I showed up at noon and was released after 7 p.m. Don’t try to attend more than one show per day.
●Most shows provide some food and beverage services for a fee. You can also bring your own snacks, though not inside the actual studio.
●Once the show starts, have fun. Scream, shout, laugh, clap and embrace your Hollywood moment. You’ll never look at TV the same.
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