Who Attends Talk Shows and Game Shows?

Of the great mysteries of the universe, this is near the top of the list: Who are all these people attending talk shows and game shows?

I know this: Most talk shows (even the ones that air at night) record during the day. Also, many talk shows record multiple episodes in a row. So new audience members aren’t needed for every show.

But where are these people coming from? Who has time to take a few hours out of their day to be attend a talk show? I fully understand that it would be fun to be a part of a TV show recording, but there must be thousands and thousands of people required every day to fill those seats. How is that possible?

Here are my best guesses:

  • Tourists: Many talk shows are filmed in California or New York, two areas that attract a lot of tourists. Perhaps some of the tourists seek out specific shows, or maybe there’s just a steady supply of people available to be recruited.
  • Retirees: This is a half-hearted guess at best, because I don’t see a ton of old people in studio audiences.
  • People with Night Jobs or No Jobs: Maybe this is how some people like to spend their free time?

There must be some big, obvious answer I’m missing. Do you know? Have you ever been a part of a studio audience?

11 thoughts on “Who Attends Talk Shows and Game Shows?”

  1. Funny you should ask. My husband signed us up to attend the taping of a show last year. He was curious to see something being filmed from that vantage point. It was a game show and a bit corny; I don’t think it’s aired yet. We live in Auckland and they had us come around 6 pm and I think it went on until about 10 pm, just for the one episode.

    • Cheeky: That’s fascinating! I’ve heard that tapings take a long time, which makes me even more curious about the people who attend them. The occasional attendee (like you and your husband) makes sense, but are occasional attendees enough to cover the constant need?

  2. I’ve been to see a few shows at the BBC. Some of them are recorded outside of M-F 9-5, so that they can attract more of a crowd. When I was unemployed & trying to find work, going to these things – whenever they were – was a great way to have contact with other folk, have a new experience, have some live entertainment, and get out of the house.

    If I were a tourist, I doubt I’d ever go to one of these. The ones I know of are done by lottery (so you need to keep your schedule free potentially) and there’s better things to do if you’re in a new city (like walk around new streets) imo.

    • Bez: Thanks for sharing! That makes total sense about you attending BBC shows as a way to meet people, get out of the house, etc.

  3. My husband attended a few game show recordings (And game show pilot recordings) while he was between jobs – most seem to record weekday daytime, iirc when I was running a game show podcast and as part of that giving ‘what shows are coming up for recordings’ and 0th impressions of ones that hadn’t been to air at all yet, though most live stuff is in the evening on the weekend. The tickets are free from several suppliers, if you pick a bad show for watching film the recordings can last all day (if you pick a good show for watching film, meanwhile, the recording can similarly last all day, but you see multiple episodes filmed), so it’s often good for a very cheap day out of entertainment.

  4. My brother (an underemployed actor in LA) was on a couple of game shows over the last few years. He made it onto the stage on The Price is Right, even made it to the big wheel. He was also on another game show but i don’t remember which. I think it’s just a combination of unemployed/underemployed folks and people with flexible schedules (a lot of actors).

  5. Jamey,

    I’m showing my age with this answer, but I was part of the studio audience for The Phil Donahue Show in Philadelphia back in the 80s. It was fun and quite honestly, I had the time as a part-time student.


  6. On a trip to Los Angeles in the late ’90’s my buddy and I attended The Price Is Right. It was a long day with a lot of waiting, but it was fun when the fireman we met and shared a lot of time with in line made it the Final Showcase. Plus, the possibility of having your name called “to come on down” was kind of cool.

    If Jay Leno had not been on a break, then we would have gone to a taping of his show instead.

  7. Hey Jamey, my wife ( well she was my gf at the time) and I were on vacation in NYC and whilst we were walking through a bustling and very busy Times Square we were approached by producers from The David Letterman Show and offered tickets to the show but there was a catch…we had to answer a question about the show to get the tickets! The question was “What color is Alan Kalter’s hair?” I had no clue and would have guessed brown or gray and my wife being from Sydney Australia actually knew that it was red! So a couple days later we were sitting in the audience watching Letterman live…It was an awesome experience especially since he’s retired now…this was in 2012.


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