The plane I took was supposed to fly to Las Vegas, then continue to LA, but unfortunately it was discovered that the entrance hatch was not locking properly, and so they couldn't fly the plane any further. So, it was a 4 hour delay until I FINALLY arrived
We got into CBS Studio 33 and were surprised about the layout of the set. The squares are dead center, and the contestants are stage left, but their backs are pretty much to the audience, so the only way to see them is on the monitors. The warmup guy was only known as Bob, and he was cheesy. He had college aged girls from the audience dancing for T-Shirts, and also made prank phone calls to people that placed Pennysaver ads. He also asked everyone to get out a photo ID, and if he didn't have a song from where they were from, they won a T-Shirt. Only 2, from Saudi Arabia and somewhere else had Bob stumped. Whoopi and Bruce were there of course, as well as Marilu Henner, Chaka Khan, Joe Mac, Jack Hanna, Debbie Reynolds, and others. Overall we saw 3 tapings, which should air the last week of October.
The 2nd TPIR trip you can read about HERE. However, another very major highlight was meeting RANDY WEST at NBC studios. We got pretty much a grand tour of the whole place, except for a couple of studios already in use. We saw sets of Family Feud, Louie's dressing room, Burton's announcing podium (which has TWO lights... oooh! :-)) The Weakest Link, Supermarket Sweep (which actually COULD function as a real supermarket!), and To Tell the Truth, as well as the prop room for Sweep. Randy, Chris and I talked and toured a total of 4 hours! Special thanks to Randy West for his generous time and information on everything. We also discovered Randy is a terrific voice impersonator. He can impersonate almost every announcer. I requested he do Johnny Olson saying COME ON DOWN and as if he resurrected Johnny from the dead, he said it PERFECTLY. We probably could've spent the entire evening talking about Johnny, as we all had great admiration for the man.
Randy West and me backstage at NBC
Chris Jaunsen and I face off on the mock Feud set
KTLA Studios, where Card Sharks, Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown and Candid Camera are taped
Card Sharks' set looks pretty neat. The walls of the set have a marble-esque look to them. The theme is ok, but it's different from the other versions. Pat Bullard is a decent host, and the warmup guy Gary Kroeger is decent too. I think the new format is enjoyable, and still maintains the aspect of using intuition. It was also cool to see the cards "discard" themselves after the end of the round. I have no idea when our shows will air, and to my knowledge they never got a shot of the audience.
The Sony Pictures Studio, taken from the parking garage
Jeopardy was also fun to watch. The seats there are VERY comfy, which was a relief because CS' seating area is CRAMPED. Also, brace yourself... Alex has shaved his mustache (AAAAAAUGH!). Actually he looks all right. He looks very different, but he looks fine. Alex is more personable and funnier off camera. He was joking with the staff, singing, and talking in funny accents. A 12 year old kid asked him if Alex ever watched his show. Alex said "I wouldn't watch this...." and then said that he does watch it on occasion, and thinks it's a very good show because you learn something. He also talked in great length about sports, especially the Little League controversy.
On a final note... $19.95 for SMOG?! I wouldn't pay a red cent for it! :-)