Johnson & Wales University Media & Communications Studies student Omar Rivero '20 visited a live taping of “Harry,” a talk show hosted and produced by Harry Connick Jr., in New York City with several other JWU Providence students. Rivero, a Miami, Fla. native, hopes to one day be a director. Read about his experience below.
Being a part of a live studio audience is similar to being in the entertainment industry. There are a ton of people competing for attention and only the wildest, most entertaining people get the screen time. At the same time, everyone’s working together with a single goal in mind—to just have fun. This contradiction is what fuels a show like “Harry”.
Thanks to JWU, students from the Providence Campus were given the opportunity to travel to the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City to attend the final live taping of the show's first season. 50 students were offered the chance to attend this taping and as someone who wants to enter the entertainment industry in the future this was an opportunity I could not miss.
While I jumped at the chance to attend, the whole bus ride there I was nervous at the possibility I’d be on TV. My feelings aside, the trip gave us all a better understanding of how these kinds of shows compare to everything else we watch. While it is filmed in front of a live audience it still feels somewhat fabricated and choreographed, which goes against what people usually think of a daytime talk show. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Seeing behind the scenes and being a part of the production might have ruined the “tv magic,” but showed me why everything is done the way its done. Everything is so well organized that when the final product airs, it appears like that seamless “live” show we watch at home.
The producers treat the audience like a part of the show and they expect the audience to be engaged and contribute almost as much as anyone that actually works for the network. They give cues to the audience to make them act a certain way, reshoot shots that didn’t work out right—essentially things that you would normally see on any other set, but everything is thought out so well that the product is perfect.
After the taping of the show, all of us in the Media and Communications Studies major stayed behind to have a Q&A session with someone who works on the show. During the session he answered all of our questions about entering the industry and told us about the NBC and CBS page programs which I intend on applying to when I graduate from the university. To tell you the truth, throughout the whole taping process of the show I was super anxious because I typically prefer to be behind the camera, but other than that the whole experience was amazing and it fueled all of our desires to one day make it in this industry.