The other day Asheley and I got the opportunity to see a taping of The Chew, the new day-time talk show featuring the likes of Iron Chefs Michael Symon and Mario Batali, past Top Chef contestant Carla Hall, entertaining expert Clinton Kelly, and health & wellness enthusiast Daphne Oz. A show dedicated to food and entertaining, we were super excited to get the chance to be in the audience and watch these professionals in action. Even more cool, it was the special "Red Carpet Oscar" taping, and they asked the entire audience to get all dolled-up in formal wear for the show. It being my first time in a studio audience, it was pretty amazing to see how the whole intricate process works. After reading Maggie Rulli's post about her experiences attending a show taping: Afternoon at Anderson Cooper, I was inspired to do the same. Here's a recount of my time at The Chew, and tips for how you can be a part of the studio audience:
1) Getting free tickets to The Chew is easy! First, go to their tickets page, and request tickets for your preferred date. You will have to go through a registration process and enter in some information. I did this about a month to a month and a half before I wanted to attend the taping (I think I applied in mid-January and the taping I attended was February 23). Although there are no guarantees that you will get tickets, you have a pretty good shot. They always need audience members to fill the studio for each taping, and I got tickets no problem on my first try. About a week after requesting tickets, I received an email from The Chew saying I got the tickets:
2) Once you get the email from The Chew, you need to REPLY to that email, confirming the details for which they ask. The email attachment will also state the date of the show you will be attending and what time you should arrive. Once you reply to that email, you can rest assured your tickets will be waiting for you at the studio the day of the show. They do not mail out tickets to you. Also, although they list the audience arrival time in the email, please note: they overbook every show just in case some people don't show up. This means that they give out more tickets than there are seats in the audience. In order to guarantee entry, plan on arriving earlier than the scheduled arrival time (30 - 45 minutes should be a safe bet).
3) You will be waiting outside the studio prior to the arrival time, so dress appropriately. There is a Starbucks one block west of the studio, so if you get hungry/thirsty or need to use the restroom, I'd head down there. Once you are ushered into the studios to check-in, have your IDs ready to go. You will get your tickets at this point and go through the metal detector.
4) At this point, you will have the opportunity to use the bathroom. Do it... even if you don't think you need to. You will have to wait like 2 and ½ hours after that for the next opportunity!
5) Before entering the studio, you wait... and you wait... in the audience holding room. There are a couple of places to sit down, but the majority of people do stand. You can also enjoy the complimentary fine dining: granola bars and mini bottles of water. We were in there for just under an hour as the co-hosts finish rehearsing for the show in the studio. While in the holding room, we overheard one couple ask an employee about getting seats at the special tasting table. She said that all that is arranged ahead of time (a.k.a. you have to know someone to sit there).
8 ) As you are called into the studio, employees will direct you to seats. For this show, they wanted the best dressed people in the most visible spots: aisle seats and the front row. I'm not sure if this is how it always is, but if you want the highly visible seats when the cameras pan the audience, dress nicely! Asheley and I got awesome seats in the first row.
The studio is much smaller than you would think it is from watching on TV. They fit a lot into a small space! Clinton Kelly was still finishing up rehearsing as we took our seats, the camera guys were busy getting ready and taking promo shots, the sound guys were testing different songs and volumes, and food stylists were going at 150 mph trying to get the finishing touches done before show time. It looked like beautiful, organized chaos.
9) You are allowed to take photos before and after taping, just not during. Although the taping was supposed to be at 12:15 (taping is normally at 9 a.m., but we were part of the Friday show, which was filmed on Thursday later in the day), it actually didn't get started until about 12:40. The warm-up guy, RC Smith, was awesome. He was very interactive with the audience and got us all laughing and enjoying ourselves before taping began. RC was also the "go to" guide for knowing when to clap during the taping.
10) Before filming started, the stage manager came over and had us do a couple things for the cameras. First they did a couple spans of the audience with us clapping and smiling. Then, for audio purposes, we had to clap thunderously for 1 minute straight. Then, light clapping for a full minute. And finally, and the most awkward, we had to laugh for the longest 15 seconds ever.
11) The actual taping lasted about 75 minutes long. There were no do-overs in the taping, just a run through of each segment they previously rehearsed before we entered the studio. Each segment was very short, about 3-4 minutes. At the beginning and end of every segment, RC Smith had us clap. Whenever the co-hosts did something funny or great, RC had us laugh and/or clap... I clapped more during that taping then the entire previous year of my life. In between each segment, RC Smith would entertain us, doing some jokes, and also kept us up to date with what was coming up next with the show. In between one of the segments, Carla Hall came up and go us up dancing. She has a BIG personality, just like on TV.
12) One of the weirdest things about attending the taping that I didn't expect was how hard it was at times to hear the co-hosts talk. They wear microphones, but the sound just goes into the sound board for production... their voices aren't projected through speakers to the studio audience. You could hear them when it was silent, but whenever we had to clap (which is a lot), you couldn't hear what was going on.
Attending the taping was a very entertaining process and it was so amazing to see what goes into creating an hour of television. Watching the magic happen, from the other side of the screen, was an experience I won't soon forget. Best of all, getting to watch the show the following day, Asheley and I saw ourselves on TV four... yes, that's right... FOUR times. We are expecting the talent scouts and modeling agencies to begin calling us shortly...
Sometimes talk shows give away free give-aways to their audience members. According to our warm-up guy, RC Smith, we received the most free give-aways of any audience in the history of The Chew. We got Oscar "swag bags", filled with tons of Clinique make-up, a necklace, and a bunch of hair products. Since I don't wear makeup or necklaces, and don't have a lot of hair left, Asheley will be enjoying both of our swag bags. Even more exciting than that, however, was this: every year superstar chef Wolfgang Puck cooks all the food for the Governor's Ball, the huge party following the Oscars. A perennial favorite for all attendees is the mini chocolate Oscar dusted in 24-karat gold. Apparently there is about $20 worth of gold dusted on each one. And yup, you guessed it. They gave one to each of us!!!