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Live Show Tapings to Attend in New York
Los Angeles might be known as a mecca for movies and celebrities, but Manhattan has its own share of silver-screens, studios, bright lights, and big stars. Some of television’s biggest shows are taped daily in the Big Apple and even better, it’s completely free for visitors to be part of the action. From late night favorites to morning staples, there’s no shortage of options to enjoy. The wait for advance tickets can often be long, so we recommend trying to reserve your spot as soon as your flights to the city are confirmed. Various shows have standby options (if you're willing to wait in line) or can be enjoyed by simply showing up on the day of. Though some planning is involved for the most famous shows, it makes for an unforgettable experience. Here’s a list of some of our favorite shows and the tips and details on how to be a part of the studio audience. So get camera ready and prepare for some facetime with your favorite stars.
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
The ultimate icon of American television, NBC’s Tonight Show is NBC’s longest-running late night franchise, and Jimmy Fallon has become a favorite for his loveable personality, A-list stars, and on-camera antics. Tickets to the show are completely free and can be booked at the show’s ticketing site. Audience members must be 16 years or older (a photo ID is required) and the show releases tickets one month at a time (they usually open each month’s ticket waitlist during the first week of the month prior). These are some of the hottest tickets in town, so they’re not easy to grab. However, the show also distributes standby tickets at 9am under the NBC marquee. We recommend getting there long before, but remember that admission is still not guaranteed.
The NBC marquee is located on the 49th Street side of 30 Rock;
Taping Location: Studio 6B, 30 Rockefeller Plaza (bet. Fifth and Sixth Aves. and W. 49th and W. 50th Sts.)
Schedule:The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon tapes Mondays through Fridays at 5pm; arrive no later than 3:15pm.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
For a chance to see the cutest dimples in town, try and score seats to comedic sensation’s Daily Show. The show, which airs Monday through Thursday at 11pm on Comedy Central parodies politics, pop culture, entertainment and news. Topics are decidedly of a more adult nature, and visitors must be 19 or older to attend. Tickets and information may be found at showclix.com.
Location: 733 Eleventh Ave. (bet. W. 51st and W. 52nd Sts.)
Schedule: Tapings are at Mondays through Thursdays at 6pm and last until around 7:15pm. You can check in beginning at 2:30pm, at which time tickets will be distributed and you'll be given a time to return (around 4:30pm or so).
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Definitely the hardest ticket to score in town, but it’s with good reason. With A-list weekly hosts, chart-topping musical guests, and the world’s most gifted comics, SNL is a television and comedy institution. As we said, tickets to attend a taping are harder to come by than Wonka’s Golden Ticket, but they are attainable!
Tickets are given out once a year through a lottery and guests cannot choose their requested dates. Entries are submitted by sending an email explaining why you’re a fan of SNL and why you want to be part of the studio audience. Entries are only accepted in August (in advance of the upcoming season) and should be sent to email@example.com. The show limits one email per household, with winners receiving two tickets for a specific show date and performance (dress rehearsal or live show). If this seems too far-fetched, the show also gives standby tickets (one per person and admission is not guaranteed) that are distributed at 7am on the West 49th Street side of 30 Rockefeller Plaza on the mornings of the tapings.
Show Requirements: You must be 16 or older to attend. Standby-line members must remain in line at all times (aside from minimal, necessary breaks).
Location: 30 Rockefeller Plaza (bet. Fifth and Sixth Aves. and W. 49th and W. 50th Sts.)
Schedule: On Saturdays, arrive no later than 7:15pm for the 8pm dress rehearsal and 10:45pm for the 11:30 pm live show.
For those who want to forego the hassle of reserving tickets, Today, NBC's morning news and lifestyle program, tapes daily and tickets are not required. The show tapes on the ground floor at the corner of West 48th Street and Rockefeller Plaza, and visitors simply gather outside on the plaza. The show often tapes outside on the plaza, so camera time is a distinct possibility.
For more info, visit today.com/visit.
Location: 30 Rockefeller Plaza (bet. Fifth and Sixth Aves.; enter at W. 48th St.)
Schedule: The show tapes Mondays through Fridays from 7 to 11 am and Saturday from 7 to 9am. We recommend arriving at least an hour before to secure a prime spot
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