Arts and Entertainment | Television

Live audiences make a fierce face on the set of The Tyra Banks Show

In the made for TV movie Life-Size, Tyra Banks plays a glamorous doll who transforms from toy to human. Much like her character, Banks comes to life on the set of her daytime talk show, somehow managing to be even more beautiful, entertaining, and likable in person than on TV.

Students who want to see for themselves can join the audience of the The Tyra Banks Show, which tapes twice a day on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Chelsea Studios on 221 West 26th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues). On the show’s website, prospective audience members choose a desired date from available tapings and sign up to receive Tyra tickets.

About a week before the taping date, a production staff member will confirm the date and go over the rules for audience members about attire and arrival time.

Once there, viewers must check in, surrender their cell phones, and sign a basic waiver. After being herded in and out of an elevator up to the set, audience members shuffle to their seats. The flamboyant staff entertainer then enters and breaks out into a dance routine to Beyonce’s hit “Single Ladies.” He enthusiastically pulls members of the audience on stage to join him—daunting, but well worth it, as all of the dancers received $500 gift bags for their participation.

With the audience now on the edge of their seats, the star of the show—Banks herself—finally enters. Most audience members are likely hoping for an appearance from a celebrity guest, but many episodes feature only Tyra and the issue of the day center stage, and this one is no exception.

Last Tuesday’s show centered on adolescent and teen obesity. Tyra discussed weight and self-image issues with five children and their parents. There was no shortage of tears on stage, which made it a typically intense episode of Tyra. Yet the familial interactions of the production staff and Tyra’s constant jokes between takes (as well as some teleprompter slip-ups) alleviated the solemn mood.

Still, the three-hour taping can get exhausting at points—even literally so when the crew needs some short retakes and makes the audience clap for what feels like a lifetime.
Nonetheless, the lengthy experience is an exciting one for audience members, and the show can be generous with its giveaways. That particular show sent viewers home with a complementary diet book, which is always helpful for students looking to check their Hungarian Pastry Shop addiction.

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