Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rachael Ray Show: 44th Street between 2nd and 3rd

Today is another cold, sleety day in NYC.  Rather than dwell on the miserable weather, I thought I would try to take advantage of living in the City.  Having lived and worked in midtown for the last several years, I noticed that the Rachael Ray Show was taped very near by.  I did not have a ticket today (which can be requested free on her website, but with the weather the way it was, I thought I would try going stand by.

I was not disappointed.  In fact, unlike Martha Stewart's staff, Rachael's audience relations staff had not done a very good job of accounting for the weather cancellations.  They actually went out into the rain and tried (with limited success) to pull in people passing by on the street.  The waiting room at Rachael Ray's show was very tight for space (see right), but it was fully stocked with danishes, brownies, coffee and bottled water.  I can't imagine how they fit everyone in there when they have a full audience.  Maybe it is better when everyone doesn't have a huge winter coat in the summer.  I will say there was one fabulous painting of her pit bull, Isaboo (see below right), but the rest of the room was not inspiring.

In any event, the taping took an exceedingly long time.  I was in line by 10 am and did not get out until 2:25 pm.  The taping was actually a taping and a half (apparently there was a segment of a prior show that was not completed so they had that to tapethat as well).  We had a great band (from a prior American Idol winner), Jennifer Lopez (a current American Idol judge), some make overs, a lottery for a vacation for one audience member, and a random game from another TV show that Rachael "played" with La Mer watches as the prize for all the audience members.  Can you imagine if she had not "won"?  There would have been a revolt!  They did keep the audience appeased enough with Kind granola bar snacks as the hours continued to tick by, and I was actually surprised that they allowed us to eat while they continued to tape (never mind all the plastic wrappers rustling in the background).

I'm a little perplexed.  This show taping was very disorganized (the rotating audience mechanism was malfunctioning) and slow going.  Ok, the guests were great, but except when Rachael is cooking, she comes across pretty flat with guests.  Meanwhile, Nate Berkus (across town at 57th Street and 10th Avenue) is very organized, much more spacious, and seems to tape like clockwork but somehow his show seems desperate for audience members (I'm going to my third taping of his show next week).  Both shows provide audience members food and drink and entertain them with warm up hosts (Nate's Dena Blizzard is really funny and charming).  Could it be because Nate (whose interior design work is impeccable) is still too new (his show is less than a year old) or he seems a little amateurish with his gameshow-style segments?  I have a feeling it just comes down to dollars and cents--Nate's audience gifts are infrequent (I haven't received one yet and I was even in a short segment).  Are New Yorkers so mercenary?  Yes, probably....  I'll let you know what the audience does next week; we've been promised the "biggest giveaways yet" from Nate.

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