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I live in the Chelsea/West Village area, and walk up by FIT and often to 34th Street on walks, and kept passing by the studio where Stewart's show is shot.

I never knew anybody to go to TV shows except my sister-in-law going to NBC news at Rockefeller Center with corny posters, etc., to 'get on TV'. Never knew a single person who went to one of these live tapings, so I looked them up on the net: Yes, it seems you can just request tickets for almost any of them, David Letterman, Katie Couric, Colbert, and they send you an email if you filled out the form properly. Then, you just pick up the free ticket on the day of the shoot--although you do have to get there an hour and a half before shooting starts, and the experience until start time is much more like an airport than going to a B'way play, concert or ballet.

So I decided to go up there and see Martha Stewart in action. Having never been in one of these studio audiences, it was all interesting, with the hyped-up warm-up guy revving up the hooting and applause, to the rather splendid set they've got for her there--with a greenhouse, back kitchen full of assistants, front kitchen where she frosted a cake with an audience member today, and huge photographs of New York on the surrounding walls. Plus all that equipment hanging down.

I was pretty sure the professionalism of all of it would impressive, perhaps inspiring. Martha is one of those who does look exactly in person as she does photographed (like, of TV personalities, George Stephanopoulous, and unlike Barbara Walters, who looks handsomer in person.) All of it was as seamless and effortless as possible. She does have this interesting habit of taking finger-nips of cake-frosting quite frequently. Then she's over with some guy 'Figgy Newton' doing these craftsy things of some kind of coffee table plates made of hardening Hosta Plant Leaves. This kind of thing always loses me. The 3rd 'tableau' was with Chef Michael White, a pasta expert, this was the best one, and there was Martha eating Cake Frosting and Plates of Pasta at 10:30 a.m., while talking about her yoga teacher and having just spent the weekend in Sweden--demonstrating ways to fold napkins at the Royal Palace, of course (I'm not kidding). In the 'off-moments' she is totally expressionaless unless some makeup artist comes to tidy up a lose strand of hair or collar that's not quite right.

Really a pro, and very gracious with her guests and the audience member she worked with. Since the show I happened to get a ticket for was the first for a new season, and that it's now going on the Hallmark Channel, she also did a bunch of promos at the end, reading the teleprompter for ads for the show, times when it would be seen, etc., and redoing these. That's probably less often. They give you pins of 'I Saw Martha' (I'll give this to my sister) and a copy of the mag. on the way out.

I thought this would be more like a kind of live theater for me, even though it's television, in seeing it live--and it was.

Naturally, one thinks of her legal travails of 6 years ago and more, which she clearly sprang back from almost totally--although I did see in her Wikipedia entry that she was denied a visa for the U.K in 2008, beause of her obstruction of justice, and that she stopped dating her longtime very-wealthy Hungarian boyfriend in 2008 as well. Quite hard to realize that she is already 69 years old--looks marvelous, and everybody is up pretty close.

Am interested to hear if other people have ever watched these tapings of TV shows here (or Los Angeles and other places, I guess Oprah's is still Chicago.) I thought it would be mostly tourists, but before they started taping, they tried to find out where people were from, and it was more often from the tri-state area, with a few from Australia and one from London.

I was hoping to see this seamless process, as it reminds me of certain nightclub entertainers I've seen in the past (Rosemary Clooney at the Blue Note comes to mind), and I wasn't disappointed in that way. I doubt I'd go back, but I might go to another show if somebody thought it was special to see in person.

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My mother attended a taping of The View with one of her girlfriends a few months ago. It was much as you described, plus the co-hosts were very friendly, candid and chatty. The conversations during the commercial breaks can be more interesting than the show itself. :innocent: And yes, they received gifts under their seats.

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