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Annual Meeting
Live From New York, And You Are There!
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 5 page 24-24

Let’s face it—it won’t earn anyone CME credit, but being an audience member on the set of "Good Morning America" will be a different kind of education—a chance to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of TV in the making.

At any given moment in New York, there is probably a TV show being taped, and live audiences are an essential part of the experience for show hosts, guests, and TV viewers alike.

For those who live outside of New York, there is good news—out of towners typically have an easier time getting tickets to live TV tapings than do New Yorkers, and tickets are free.

The best way to ensure a spot in any TV audience is to mail a postcard requesting tickets six months to a year ahead of the visit, but many people can’t plan that far ahead.

Fortunately, for those who come to New York without any tickets, there is the "standby" line. Studios usually hand out a limited number of extra tickets on the day of each taping with the expectation that some ticket holders will not show.

Hearty souls (or insomniacs) have the best chance of getting standby tickets for morning shows; the trick is to line up in front of the TV studio of your choice at the crack of dawn.

Here are some of the shows offering free tickets to live tapings in Manhattan:

"Good Morning America": Visitors can join hosts Diane Sawyer, Charlie Gibson, and Tony Perkins in their Times Square studio at the corner of Broadway and 44th Street by reserving tickets ahead of time at (212) 580-5175 or online at abcnews.go.com/sections/GMA/GoodMorningAmerica. A limited number of tickets are distributed early on the morning of the broadcast, which occurs each weekday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

"Late Night With David Letterman": The word is that these are the hottest TV tickets in town. Ticket requests can be sent via postcard from six to nine months in advance to Late Show tickets, Ed Sullivan Theater, 1697 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019. Tickets can also be reserved online at www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow. Although no tickets are distributed on site, those who wish to be in the studio audience can call (212) 247-6497 by 11 a.m. to reserve them. Tapings are held Monday through Thursday at 5:30 p.m. with a second taping on Thursdays at 8 p.m., but it’s a good idea to get there at least an hour in advance. Members of the studio audience must be 18 or older.

"Live! With Regis and Kelly": Audiences can hear co-hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa chatting up their famous guests at the ABC studios at 7 Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side. While advance tickets must be reserved at least a year ahead of time, standby tickets are sometimes available. It’s a good idea to arrive at the studio no later than 7 a.m. and request a standby number; tickets are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis. Audience members must be aged 10 or older, and anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent.

"Saturday Night Live": SNL tickets are in such demand that the lottery system for advance tickets is usually suspended. However, those who want to try and reserve tickets can call (212) 664-3056 as far in advance of their visit as possible to determine the current ticket-request procedure. People may have more luck stopping by the studio in person on the morning of the taping to get standby tickets, which are distributed at 7 a.m. outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza, on the side of the building that faces 49th Street. Only one ticket per customer is allowed. Taping begins Saturday nights at 11:30 p.m.; there is also a dress rehearsal at 8 p.m. on Saturday nights. No one under 16 is admitted.

"Today Show": Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, and Al Roker are extremely popular with the city’s tourists. To be a part of the show, visitors are encouraged to show up outside Today’s glass-encased studio at Rockefeller Center, on the corner of 49th Street and Rockefeller Plaza. No tickets are needed, but signs—the more creative the better—are likely to increase one’s chances of an on-air chat during the weather or introductory segments. The show runs from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. ▪

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