Time on TV: Being Part of a Studio Audience

After just about three years at Manhattan College, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of taking advantage of what the city has to offer. I’ve gone to a slew of Broadway plays, concerts, museums, even operas and symphonies. Still, one thing I’ve always wanted to do (but never got around to actually doing) was going to a live taping of a TV show. I finally got to cross this off my college bucket list after being an audience member of “The Dr. Oz Show” last Wednesday, April 16.

Quadrangle writer Claire Leaden and friends at "The Dr. Oz Show" taping. Photo by Claire Leaden.
Quadrangle writer Claire Leaden and friends at “The Dr. Oz Show” taping. Photo by Claire Leaden.

Kieran Rock’s Quadrangle article from last semester, “NYC For Free: Inside the Saturday Night Live Experience” sparked my initial interest in the idea of being part of an audience for a show taping. He documented his experience waiting on line for 14 plus hours for tickets to the immensely popular show, only to not get in. Though I thought SNL might be a little too much for me to start out with, I began to search for what other options were out there.

After my cousin and I decided to go to a show taping before she transferred at the end of the semester, I started Google-ing my choices. Though there were some shows that I knew filmed in the city (“The Wendy Williams Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “Good Morning America”) I was surprised at what other shows my search brought up. “The View” is filmed in NYC, as well as “Inside the Actors Studio,” “Live! With Kelly & Michael,” “The Rachel Ray Show” and of course, “The Dr. Oz Show.” The website I used was nycgo.com/articles/tv-show-tapings, but once you start searching many different helpful sites come up.

Tickets for "The Dr. Oz Show". Photo by Claire Leaden.
Tickets for “The Dr. Oz Show”. Photo by Claire Leaden.

Most shows have areas on their websites dedicated to requesting tickets, so search around the site if you’re interested in a specific show. I entered my information for a lot of them, since I had less than a month until school got out and we were no longer in the city. Though I was discouraged that most of them said you needed to enter at least a month in advance for the date you wanted to attend, I figured I’d still enter for the heck of it. The forms required my name, contact info., names of guests (most let you bring a maximum of four others), and the dates I was able to attend.

For “Dr. Oz” I entered my April 16th request date only a week before, on April 9th. I crossed my fingers and hoped to hear back from them soon, but realistically didn’t think I would. Fortunately, I got an email from “Dr. Oz” the very next day saying “Congratulations! Your request for tickets to The Dr. Oz Show has been granted & we are thrilled to have you join us!” An attached sheet detailed instructions like to print out the confirmation, wear bright colors and to bring a photo ID.

Filming began at 10 a.m., so they said to arrive no later 8:30 a.m., preferably earlier. The one catch was that the reservations didn’t actually guarantee seats in the audience; TV shows always overbook so they are guaranteed to have a full room. Luckily we didn’t have a problem with this, and I didn’t hear of anyone else having one either. I later received an email asking to reply back if we were interested in participating on camera, which we did, but we never heard back about it.

We dressed in bright tops and arrived at an ABC studio on West 66th Street at 8 a.m. Normally we would’ve had to wait on line outside, but since that morning was an abnormally frigid day, they actually let all of us go inside. The staff was pretty relaxed—they didn’t even ask to see our confirmation or ID, they only asked for the reservation name.

We waited inside (standing) for about an hour, and then were escorted upstairs to a sitting room

"The Dr. Oz  Show" studio before filming begins. Photo by Claire Leaden.
“The Dr. Oz Show” studio before filming begins. Photo by Claire Leaden.

outside the TV studio. At 9:30 a.m. we were brought into the studio itself, where fun music was playing and staff members assigned us seats. They even had an emcee there to make jokes and interact with us while we waited for the show to start.

This episode actually had Joan Rivers and her daughter as guests, which was total luck for us. After their segment ended, we actually filmed five more, ranging from breakfasts that give you the most energy to tips on how to deal after you spend a day binge eating. Oddly enough, Dr. Oz himself didn’t interact with the audience much. He seemed nice enough, but very focused on learning his lines during the breaks.

We got out at about 11:30 a.m., so the filming itself only took about an hour and a half. It required lots of cheering, clapping, smiling, and generally just looking interested (which I actually didn’t have to fake). We had a lot of fun and the experience was completely free (except for the subway ride) and didn’t require a huge time commitment.

So, if you’re desperate to be part of a show audience in a short amount of time (like next week), try for the “The Dr. Oz Show.” If you’re willing to wait a month or longer, you have an abundance of choices available to you.