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