Today show in NYC

Tuesday 4 October 2005

We went to New York City over the weekend for the big Today show experience. It was a whirlwind, very exciting. Here's a travelogue of the experience.

NBC put us up at the Essex House. (Older viewers of Saturday Night Live may remember the ad: "guests of Saturday Night Live stay at the Essex House"). Sunday morning, they sent a car for us, and we ended up at Rockefeller center, where we were ushered to the Green Room:

The Today Show green room

We were hanging around there for a while, chatting with the publicists, looking over the other guests (a feng shui expert and a couple from New Orleans who were going to be reunited with their lost dog). We were told Susan would be on at about 8:40. Everyone seemed pretty relaxed about the whole thing, except an NBC page in a blue blazer who kept scurrying all over checking up on things.

About 8:25, they took Susan to hair and makeup:

The hair and makeup women working on Susan

Then about 8:35, a stage manager appeared to take us down to the studio. Somehow the elevator that earlier had brought us up one flight could no longer bring us down, so we took the stairs down to Studio 1A. The studio itself is a remarkably cramped and crowded place:

Studio 1A

When they weren't live on the air, people were scrambling everywhere, pushing furniture around, moving cameras, trying to find the cheat sheet they needed for the next segment, etc.

During the live interview, everyone was still and quiet, concentrating on what they needed to do for the segment. I was able to watch from the sides:

Susan, Margaret, and Lester, live on the air

The studio was much smaller than you'd think. The whole room, including all of the sets they shoot from, was about 30 by 50 feet. Stuff gets pushed around for each shot to make enough room to get the distance they need. Overhead was more lighting equipment than I thought could be practically squeezed into such a space.

The quiet end of the set

Susan and Dr. Baumann did a great job with the interview, somehow finding the composure in the midst of the hubbub to answer questions calmly and authoritatively:

Susan and Dr. Baumann on TV!

As soon as the segment was over (Lester: "We'll be right back."), everything started to move again:

Segment over.

The show moved on, leaving us breathless in its wake. The next segment was outside with a chef who is an expert on making stuff with peanut butter:

An outside cooking segment

All in all, it was an unreal experience. Susan did an amazing job, and it was a lot of fun! If you missed the show itself, you can see it on Susan's Watch & Listen page.

Comments

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Richard Schwartz 5:18 PM on 4 Oct 2005

I saw the very beginning of the segment, but had to run out to take my daughter to Hebrew School so I missed the rest.

-rich

P.S. I remember the Essex House. Do you remember the Hotel Blaine from the very first few episode of SNL. They would cut away to Laraine Newman doing a remote report for Weekend Update, covering the latest in a string of murders at the Hotel Blaine. Then at the end of one of the shows, Don Pardo did a voice-over "Guests of Saturday Night Live stay at the beautiful Hotel Blaine..." :-)

[gravatar]
Tony Estrada 11:31 PM on 4 Oct 2005

Very inspiring; makes one refine their perspective on what we appreciate - and more importantly - what we take for granted. Thank you for going through the sharing efforts!

[gravatar]
Patrick 11:21 AM on 28 Aug 2007

Hey there!

Just found your blog by random search. I was the NBC Page that was crazily running all over the place when you were on the show almost 2 years ago.

Glad to see I made a nice impression, haha. Have since moved on...

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