1. I went to the taping of an episode of Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. It was the episode in Green Bay. We did a ton of reaction shots to nothing. “Okay everyone turn around and be excited about how amazing he looks!” So we all turn around and cheer for nobody. Eventually the person who lost the weight came out, then went back and came out again. It was pretty funny. Also they gave out McDonald’s gift cards to the crowd, which was weird because it’s a weight loss show.
2. I was at a taping of The Price Is Right. During the commercial break, Drew Carey talked to the crowd a lot and gave a lady a lap dance because it was her 90th birthday.
3. I tried out for Jeopardy once. They said they deliberately make the qualifying questions much harder than what you see on the show because 1) they want to find people who are actually smart and not just lucky, and 2) people get kinda stupid when you put a TV camera on them.
4. I was a lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. We were prepped, the five of us that were the chosen lifelines, and in this prepping there was no mention about googling. In other words, it was understood that using the 30 second window to Google the question would be acceptable. Many people wonder this, I think, so I thought I’d share.
5. I will never forget this. “Regis is dumb. Regis does not have the answers until we show them after you’ve locked in your answer. If you are working through an answer and you think he’s making faces to ‘guide’ you, remember, there’s as much chance that he’s going to help as there is that he’s making that face because he’s relieving himself. Regis. Is. Dumb”
6. I auditioned to be on the show Wipeout. I found out they specifically look for people with something extremely unique about them and/or people who are willing to make a fool of them self on TV. They are not interested in athletic people who might actually have a chance of completing the course.
7. If you get called up for a game on the Ellen Show, do not pick her up out of excitement or give her a bone-crushing hug. We were told she has a bad back.
8. I was in a taping of an MTV show and all of the party and bar scenes were actually filmed during the day. The bars would be too crowded to get cameras, lighting, and cabling around so they covered the windows in black plastic to keep it dark inside and filmed several days of partying and girls making out with “strangers” at 10:00 in the morning on the same day in multiple bars. The people inside where just people who they invited to come in off the street and sign wavers. Even the music was fake and added in later. The directors literally sat out on the curb under tents and in front of monitors directing the whole thing.
9. I went to Jerry Springer awhile back when it was still in Chicago. On TV it looks like it’s a free for all but everything is planned. That random guy yelling from the audience? That’s one of the producers. They make it clear your only supposed to respond to the producers cues. Also if there’s going to be a fight they kinda freeze frame it and clear the stage before they go at it. It looks seamless after editing but they actually move the chairs away so they don’t trip.
10. I was on Family Game Night after being on the right street at the right time in California a few summers ago. Theres certain cards you arent supposed to pick because they have nothing behind them. And when its your time to pick a game they give you like 6 choices but in reality they tell you there’s only 2 they have set up and ready to go. All of the answers and games are preplanned. Most of the time the family has already been on the vacation they won so they can show a picture the following week of them in their destination. It was a really cool game and a lot of fun to see filmed. Three half an hour episodes takes 9 hours to film though. I probably would do it again if I had the chance. It was a fun experience.
11. I went to a taping of The Man Show. They had a prize wheel that people from the audience could spin if chosen randomly.
The “random” winners were all seated last and came in with VIP badges.
The first guy who spun the wheel won a weekend at the playboy mansion. We all cheered for the guy.
Second guy spun and also hit weekend at the Playboy mansion! We cheered him as well.
Until they made him spin again twice more to get something else and he ended up with shave your eyebrows and they did it.
We also got a single beer to hold till the end of a couple hours of taping to cheers with BUT MUST NOT DRINK, I know the magic of tv and blah blah blah but it just wasn’t a fun experience
12. I won $100 cash on Let’s Make a Deal. They give you cash then cut to commercial and take the cash back. Then after the show I had to fill out a huge packet of legal stuff. A little over a month later I got a check in the mail.
13. Went to a taping of Millionaire once, they did have a few retakes for random reasons, like if something was wrong the filming. So on a couple of occasions the contestant had to say his answer again and we all had to fake the excitement as if it were the first time, as would the contestant.
14. On the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, before we went into the seating area, they told us to laugh out loud at the jokes. It was upsetting…
15. I was on Nickelodeon’s slime time live in the late 90s. I had an Alladin shirt when I was picked from the crowd. They made me swap it before going on TV. I was so sad, and also they make you take a shower directly after. Was weird, thinking back to it. I did get a cool slimetime live certificate though!
16. I’ve worked as staff and a producer on a few game shows. Here’s a big one people don’t realize:
No one actually wins money until the tv show airs. If your episode never airs, you won’t get anything.