I really don’t have a desire to be on television, I’m a great behind the scenes gal making others look good. But while visiting New York City on a business trip this week I decided to be one of those people in the background during a morning news program. I chose CBS’s The Early Show because they offer a free backstage tour following the show.
Early to Rise
I arrived to the studio around 6:45 a.m. because I was told to be there by 7:15 a.m., my name would be on a guest list and no tickets were needed. Always wanting to be on time, I realize I was a tad early. After talking to some production guys, I wandered around the city and returned just before 7:15 where about a dozen other folks now gathered.
Sarah Garrette, Audience Coordinator for The Early Show, welcomed everyone and prompted us to wave and cheer when cameras were filming the group. Since we were a small group (and it was cold) we huddled together. A family was from Toronto, a mother and daughter traveled from South Jersey, a couple was visiting from Huntsville, Ala., and a young couple was from Hawaii.
Two gals brought signs. Grrr! Why didn’t I do that? Oh well, I’ll know for next time. Honestly, I thought being in the audience meant being inside and a few others did, too.
Meeting The Early Show Anchors
There were at least four filmings of us (maybe five). Two were just us yelling, clapping and waving our hands for the camera (yes, I felt goofy but as Sarah said, we’ll feel goofy but it comes off well on TV), and two with the anchors. And yes, Sarah instructed us to wave and cheer when they came out.
Harry Smith was cool, relaxed and authentic. He met and chatted with each of us. Not sure if he appreciated I made the point I was from the spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays, American League East champs.
Dave Price came out twice for the weather and Maggie Rodriguez and Erica Hill were outside, too, along with Mr. Smith.
Our presence was only needed until 8:30 a.m. Thanks to TV magic, an interview shot early in the week was broadcast this morning so no, we didn’t get to see the high-profile celebrity. (Whom the mother and daughter from South Jersey were hoping to see.)
Backstage Tour of CBS’s The Early Show
At 9 a.m. we entered The Early Show’s studio and spent about 10 minutes learning about the production. CBS acquired the space, located in the General Motors Building (by the Apple Store) in the 1990s and before that it was a car showroom. Sarah shared some more TV magic such as how the network adjusts the seating so it looks as though Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez are the same height, when in fact, Mr. Smith is much taller.
How to Be on CBS’s The Early Show and Take a Backstage Tour
Being on the show and taking the free backstage tour of The Early Show is really easy. All it takes is dropping an email (email@example.com) to the show with the dates you’ll be in Manhattan then show up. It’s that easy! Or, you can just show up on The Plaza (59th Street and 5th Avenue) by 7:15 a.m. to participate. Check out The Early Show’s page to learn more about participating and the free backstage tour.
Dress for the weather because you’ll be outside anywhere between 90 minutes and 2 hours. The Apple Store is nearby and provides relief with warmth and restrooms. Importantly, have fun!
For all the times I’ve traveled to New York City, this was the first time I’ve checked out a morning show.
Check out additional photos over on Flickr.