How would you like to be seen by 5 million people, live on American TV? Well simply head down to New York’s Times Square, stand in the background while they film ABC’s daily TV show ‘Good Morning America’ … and wave!
I found this out while working in New York for 2 months back in 2014 where I’d regularly walk past the studios on the corner of 44th Street and Broadway towards the end of their 7am to 9am show (7am – 8am on weekends). It’s a daily event and surprisingly far less busy than you might expect. There’s a big window for watching the presenters as they interview that day’s “A-listers”, with speakers so you can hear what’s going on inside. However the best bit are definetly the live sketches they do outside on the sidewalk.
During the Autumn months while I was there they tended to have daily outside sketches where if you were lucky you could appear in the background for your 5 seconds of “fame.” Generally it’s a sea of bright neon placards saying stuff like “Hi Mom”, but I found the colder it was the better as that reduced the size of the crowds. This is where I got the chance to appear right in the front row as the camera panned round with a little mention from George Stephanopoulos himself.
A few times a week there’d be more of a show on the plaza with rigging, lighting and more than one camera. On that occasion I took photos from behind the presenters and then watched the show a few days later online to see if I’d appeared or not. On slower days generally just Ginger Zee, the weather reporter would appear, adjacent to the window for a weather update, with possibly a quick chat to the crowd before she retreated back inside!
Alternatively there’s the ‘Today’ programme at the Rockerfeller Plaza in-between 48th and 49th. A similar set-up with a view of the studio and outside sketches but GMA’s was one my route to work and felt a bit more accessible.
- Stand near the exit door on the right handside as you’re then more likely to have a casual chit-chat or get a “hello” from one of the presenters. Also you might see a star waiting candidly in the wings (like I did when Lisa Kudrow was on the show).
- Alternatively stand by the corner of the viewing window as that’s where the roving camera tends to be, and how you’ll get in the background.
- Don’t get unlucky and be right behind the presenter as then you won’t be in shot at all!
- If you do appear in shot try to look at the presenter every once in a while otherwise you’ll appear like a buffoon constantly gurning at the camera.
- Check out the GMA website on your iPad/laptop the next day so you can film the screen to prove you were on the TV when you get back home. However if you wait until you get back to the UK the GMA website won’t let you watch the video as you are then outside of the United States. If using your phone the website might instead direct you to the ‘Watch ABC’ app on the Apple Store. However your phone might try to direct you back to the UK App Store … which doesn’t contain the ‘Watch ABC’ app. 🙁 So see how you get on while still out in the USA. Alternatively sign up with Hulu for a free trial and watch the show when it appears online on their site… although once again you can’t appear to access this website back in the UK unless you’re clever and know about VPN or Smart DNS access that is.