Be in the Audience at Your Favorite TV Show in New York City

  • 01 of 07

    Many TV Shows Are Taped in New York City

    BET's 106 & Park Audience
    JP Yim/Getty Images

    Getting free tickets to attend your favorite shows that are produced in New York City is easier than you might think! While many shows book in advance, there are also standby tickets available for many of the most popular shows taped in New York City. Here is what you should know about Being in the Audience at Your Favorite NYC Shows including what to expect, tips for attending and how to get tickets to some of the most popular shows that tape in NYC.

    Although it may not be the first place you think of when you think of being in the audience of a television show, there are a surprising number of TV shows that film in New York City and being a member of the studio audience is free!

    There are a few things to keep in mind before deciding that you want to be in the audience of your favorite TV show during your New York City vacation:

    1. Many shows book tickets WAY in advance (two years or more in advance, in the case of The View)
    2. When requesting advance tickets, you can't always pick the date you want to attend. Are you open to planning a vacation around the date that you are assigned tickets?
    3. Attending a taping is a pretty big time commitment. Even with advance tickets, audience members often spend 4 or more hours to attend the taping, since you'll have to line-up, clear security, get seated, get "warmed-up," and watch the show before you are done and ready to exit the studio.
    4. If you are trying for standby tickets, the time commitment can be even longer (apparently, some folks line up days in advance for Saturday Night Live tickets) because you have to factor in waiting for the tickets, in addition to the rest of the time you'll spend watching the show.
    5. If you're planning to wait for standby tickets you'll have the best chance when the weather is unpleasant. It will come as no surprise that fewer ticket holders and standby contenders will show up when it's cold, rainy or snowy, so you can turn the bad weather to your advantage by bundling up and toughing out the weather.

    All this said, it's really fun to be a part of the studio audience, particularly if you are a fan of a particular show. Sometimes there's an opportunity to ask the host a question and the studios tend to be smaller than you might imagine, so it's a pretty intimate experience.

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  • 02 of 07

    "Saturday Night Live"

    SNL audience
    Will Heath/NBC

    Saturday Night Live tickets might be the hardest ones to score in New York City. Advance tickets (for both the dress rehearsal and live show) are distributed once a year through an email lottery that you can enter in August. You don't get to request a date, so this is basically an opportunity to plan a trip to New York City around the tickets, should you be lucky enough to be chosen in the lottery. (I've entered for many years and have yet to be so lucky!)

    Fans of Saturday Night Live, the musical guests, and guest hosts show their commitment (and perhaps craziness!) by waiting in line for a standby ticket. Depending on the weather and popularity of the host/musical guest the line can sometimes form days in advance. I wouldn't necessarily endorse spending days of your NYC vacation waiting in line to see SNL, but if you're thinking of waiting for standby tickets, you'll be competing with some very committed fans.

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  • 03 of 07

    "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

    The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
    Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

    With host Jimmy Fallon taking over in February 2014, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is once again being taped in New York City for the first time since 1972. Tickets to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are understandably very popular, but not impossible to get. Tickets are released in blocks 4-6 weeks before taping, so you'll want to be following them on Twitter and Facebook to be kept in the loop when tickets are released (or just check incessantly!) Another great option for planning types is to see the monolog rehearsal, which is also ticketed in advance. And of course, there are standby tickets distributed daily.

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  • 04 of 07

    "Late Night With Seth Meyers"

    Late Night with Seth Meyers
    Lloyd Bishop/NBC

    With Jimmy Fallon moving on to host The Tonight Show, Seth Meyers (of SNL Weekend Update fame) has taken over as host of Late Night. They're a little old-school in their ticket-distribution system (you'll need to use the phone to score advance tickets), but the good news is there are three options for tickets to see Late Night With Seth Meyers: advance tickets, monologue tickets, and standby tickets.

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  • 05 of 07

    "The View"

    The View
    ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua

    Being in the audience for The View requires patience and planning -- tickets are booked over two years in advance! If you don't live in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Connecticut, you can request a specific date for your tickets, but if you do live in those states, they will assign you a date. For those that can't wait that long, there are same-day standby tickets issued at the studio. The show airs live from 11 a.m. - noon, but ticketed audience members should plan to arrive by 9:30 a.m.

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  • 06 of 07

    "The Dr. Oz Show"

    Dr. Oz Show
    Courtesy of The Dr. Oz Show

    Fans of Dr. Oz will love the fact that they tape six shows a week (twice a day, three days a week) at the studio just a few blocks west of Lincoln Center. There are even opportunities for audience members to participate in the show -- both by volunteering in advance and even sometimes when you arrive at the studio. (My companion and I were asked if we would be willing to take our shoes off to participate in a foot exercise segment!)

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  • 07 of 07

    "The Chew"

    The Chew hosts
    ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua

    The cast of The Chew includes Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, Daphne Oz, and Michael Symon, all of whom bring both delicious food and good humor to the show. Fans of the show will love how this taping experience gets you up-close and personal with the cast, as well as the fact that some lucky studio audience members even get to taste the delicious food being prepared on the show. The taping follows the general arch of the show and you get to see food being prepared in real time, as well as fun and entertaining segments.