TV Lovers Traveling Tip Sheet
How to visit your favorite shows and studios and (possibly) meet the stars
Summer travel season is upon us and if you're heading to the right destination, you may be able to get behind the camera, onto the studio or into the audience. There are also ways to find out about small screen haps in your own town. Whether you're a competition junky, sitcom giggler, talk show fiend or soap opera fanatic, here is the lowdown on how to get into live TV audiences, tours and upcoming fan events in Los Angeles, New York City and everywhere in the middle. You never know who you'll run into!
Traveling can get pricey these days and so can fan events and tours, but most audience opportunities are free.
If you're willing to spend the money, however, you can bid on set visits, walk-on roles and more at CharityBuzz.
Live Audience Tickets
It doesn't cost a dime to be part of a studio audience, but it does take up a chunk of your day. Seating is first come first serve, even if you have tickets. Plan to arrive early and spend 3 to 5 hours at a taping. If it's a popular show, you should also definitely plan ahead. Many shows are on hiatus during the early summer months, but there's always something filming in Los Angeles and New York.
Talk show and game show websites will often provide information about requesting tickets, whether you're interested in catching "The Ellen Show" in Los Angeles or "Late Night with David Letterman" in New York. Upcoming talkers like "Katie" and "Steve Harvey" don't have signups yet, but with September launches coming, dates are sure to pop up soon.
Tickets information is also posted on the NBC and ABC network sites. For CBS, it's best to search by show, though CBS Television City in Los Angeles boasts some offerings. The cable sites are worth a gander, as well.
If you're looking to take in a Disney sitcom with the kids, adult laughs at "Real Time with Bill Maher" or just about any show that tapes with a live audience, check the show's website. If you can't find the information there, check websites like Audiences Unlimited, Onset Productions, 1Iota, On Camera Audiences or Hollywood Tickets to see which shows they are ticketing. In addition, ticket hawkers looking to fill seats can be found in tourist sites like Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles - those seats are free, as well.
If you have bigger aspirations, check out BeInAMovie.com to become a background player in a crowd scene.
With each of these opportunities and sites, a bit of research may reveal something in your hometown.
Tinseltown has countless sightseeing tours focused on the biz and if you go to a taping, you'll likely be walking onto a studio. If you want to get the full tour, however, Universal Studios Hollywood, Paramount Studios (323-956-1777), Sony Pictures Studios [323-520-TOUR (8687)], Warner Bros Studios and NBC Studios (818/840-3537) offer various packages that take fans behind the scenes.
In New York, NBC Studios offers a tour and the chance to produce your very own news and weather program in a High Definition Mini-Control Studio. Screen Tours travels the city to visit sites from the hottest and latest on the big and small screen.
Traveling super fans should be sure to find out if the show or medium that interests has something scheduled in their destination city. Not all fan events get adequate promotion, but a big of light internet surfing could reveal an amazing opportunity in your destination city, not to mention your hometown.
Annual fan events fill up fast, however, especially if they're hot events. You must plan ahead, and it may already be too late for some events. If you had notions of hitting San Diego's Comic-Con, for example, that's all sold out, but New York's October event it still available.
In addition, TV stars - and soap stars, i particular - travel The U.S. and Canada year round to attend fan events, which are often fundraisers. Show website will have information about upcoming events in your area or the area you're visiting. These days, primetime and daytime stars and shows also host chats on Facebook and Twitter.
Soap fans also descend on Los Angeles from as far as Australia for the big summer fan events.
"Days of our Lives" Daytime Affair happens the weekend of June 1 (tickets still available). "Days of Our Lives" official annual event, Day of Days, however, is hitting the road this year. Watch the show's Facebook page or twitter feed for updates on dates and cities.
"General Hospital" Fan Club Weekend kicks off Thursday, July 19.
"The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful" haven't yet scheduled a summer event, but stay tuned by signing up for their fan newsletters.