How to See TV Tapings in NYC With Free 1iota Tickets

view of nyc where many tv shows are taped
by Anisa // 44 Comments

Some people dream of being on television.  For me, I think it’s fun when you can say, “Did you see me on tv?” Plus, it’s neat to see celebrities up close and in person.  I have been lucky enough to see several different tv shows taped in New York.  Just last week, I got Live with Kelly tickets and the week before I saw a Late Show taping.  

Would you like to be part of the live studio audience for a tv show?

1iota tickets make it easy to see live show tapings in NYC for free.  Let me explain how you can get NYC tv show tickets.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Please see disclosure for details.

Watching the set while waiting for Live to start taping. - - "How to See TV Tapings in NYC With 1iota Tickets" - Two Traveling Texans
Watching the set while waiting for Live to start taping.

What is 1iota?

1iota is a website where people can request tickets to see tapings of tv shows in NYC (and other cities).  You can also sometimes find tickets to special events with celebrities and movie screenings.   

It is totally free, you just sign up, complete your profile, and request tickets.  It almost sounds like a scam but I have used it several times and can confirm it is the real deal.

You are probably wondering – “What is the catch?” Well, yes there is a minor catch.  You will have to wait.  Shows do not want to be waiting for the audience so they ask you to arrive before the taping actually begins.  The waiting time varies for each show. 

The time they tell audience members to arrive is always way before the scheduled taping, but make sure to be prompt.  They always give out more tickets than needed so if you arrive late, you risk not getting in.

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How to Use 1iota

The first step to getting 1iota tickets is setting up a profile.  Once you have set up a 1i0ta profile, you can request tickets.  Requesting tickets is easy, use your 1iota login to access the calendar.  Then search by the tv show you want to see.  Alternatively, check the calendar for the day you want to attend a tv show filming to see what is available.

When you select the show you want to see, you can request the number of tickets.  I think it most cases the maximum is 4.  They will also ask you to comment and explain why you would like to see the show.  I wouldn’t worry too much about what to put here.  I just put that I was a fan of the show.

Kelly and Ryan getting ready for the next shot. - "How to See TV Tapings in NYC With 1iota Tickets" - Two Traveling Texans
Kelly and Ryan getting ready for the next shot on their show.

1Iota will review all the requests and let you know when yours has been approved.  I didn’t have any issues clearing the 1iota waitlist, but I am sure it depends on the show and the guests.  I would recommend requesting the NYC taping tickets as soon as possible.  

You can always cancel your TV show ticket request up to 24 hours before the taping.  People that cancel less than 24 hours in advance or don’t show up, may have issues getting 1iota tickets in the future.

One of the things I like about 1i0ta tickets is that you know the taping date when requesting the ticket so it makes it easier to plan.  Other shows that have lotteries (like Saturday Night Live) may award tickets when you are not even in town.  1iota has a nice mobile app as well where you can access your 1iota account and any tickets you have booked.


What TV Shows are Available?

If you are looking to get tickets to tapings in NYC, most of the options available are talk shows.  Many of the late night shows are filmed in NYC.  Currently, there are tickets to the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, the View, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Good Morning America, and more.   

The availability and schedules of the shows vary, so check the calendar.  Some of the more popular tv shows that tape in NYC will be booked for weeks and other shows may be available to request the day before. For example, Late Show with Stephen Colbert tickets need to be booked in advance.  Also, keep in mind that many shows may not do many (if any) tapings during the summer months.

NYC Tv Show Tickets not on 1iota

Of course, not all tv tapings in NY are part of 1iota.  Here is a list of a few other popular shows along with information on how to get tickets for a taping:

  • Saturday Night Live ticket information here
  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah ticket information here
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver ticket information here
  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee ticket information here

If you don’t find the show you want on 1iota or in the list above, go to the website for that show to find out more information about the taping.  

Note: You do not need to get tickets to watch a taping of the Today Show.  Just show up in Rockefeller Center (early for the best spots) to be part of the crowd that watches through the window.  Get more information and tips for seeing the Today show here.

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What to wear to TV tapings in NYC?

Choosing what to wear is important especially if you will be part of an on-camera audience.  If you are going to be on tv you need to look good!  You should try to wear bright colors (within reason) because those look best on camera.  Check the details of the show you are seeing to find any specific guidelines.

Also be sure to check any bag restrictions for the specific show you are going to see.  Some will not allow any backpacks.  Most will require you to go through airport style security.

Are Kids Allowed at NYC TV Show Tapings?

Most tapings require that audience members are at least 16 years old.  There are some shows where you need to be 18 years old.  It varies so it’s best to check the age guidelines for the specific show that you want to see.

What is it like to see a Late Show Taping?

First of all, thanks to my friend Edwin for getting 1iota tickets for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  We arrived a few minutes after 3 pm and they quickly checked our tickets and then we stood in line.  After a short wait, we went through security and then moved inside.  We took a few selfies while we were waiting.  They had a strict no photo policy inside the studio.

After a short wait inside there was an announcement.  I thought we were going to go into The Late Show studio but no it was time for a bathroom break.  They said that if there was any chance you needed to go to the bathroom, you should go now as the bathrooms would be closed during and after the taping.

Selfie with cardboard cutout of Stephen Colbert. - "How to See TV Tapings in NYC With 1iota Tickets" - Two Traveling Texans
Selfie with a cardboard cutout of Stephen Colbert.

We still had to wait a bit longer after the bathroom breaks.   They did have tv monitors playing the Late Show to entertain you, but with the crowd noise, I had trouble hearing it.  Finally, we were allowed to enter the studio.  They directed us to our seats and made sure to keep parties together.  We got seats pretty close to the stage but all the way on the far right by the band.  We could see well, but I knew there wasn’t much chance of us getting on camera.

After a bit more waiting, a comedian, Paul Mercurio, came out to warm up the crowd.  He was funny and even brought a few audience members on stage to take selfies.  Then the producer spoke quickly and Stephen Colbert came out on the stage to answer a few questions from the audience.  Then it was time for the show.

Watching the taping of the show was interesting although I didn’t know a lot of the guests.  I knew Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of NYC, but the other guest were comedians I didn’t know (Nick Kroll, Tim Heidecker, and Eric Wareheim).  I need to be better about keeping up with pop culture!  

The hashtag #puberme started during the show.  Stephen asked other celebrities to share their awkward puberty photos on twitter using the hashtag and he would donate to help Puerto Rico recover from the hurricane.  It has been nice seeing all the celebrities using the hashtag!

The taping finished a little after 7:00 pm.

What is it like to see Live with Kelly and Ryan?

I remember watching Live back when it was hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin, so I was excited to get Live with Kelly tickets.  A lot has changed from the time when I watched the show, and recently Ryan Seacrest became the co-host.  You may remember all the buzz when Michael Strahan left the show.

Anisa with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. This will need to be updated soon!
Anisa with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. These wax figures at Madame Tussaud’s are a little out of date!

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I was also surprised to see a lot about the show is still the same.  Michael Gelman, the Executive Producer, and Art Moore, Executive in Charge of Production, were still there and they also still do the trivia game where both an audience member and viewer at home have the chance to win prizes.

I had tickets for the Live with Kelly and Ryan Friday show that was being taped immediately following the Live Thursday show.  We were asked to arrive at 9:30 am.  We waited in line outside for a little bit while one staffer tried to sell us Live merchandise.  

Once we went through security we immediately went into the studio.  We were actually able to choose our own seats.  Instead of sitting way on the side like I had during the Late Show taping, I decided to try the balcony.  I got a seat in the front row of the balcony right pretty much in the center.

Obligatory selfie with the Live set. - "How to See TV Tapings in NYC With 1iota Tickets" - Two Traveling Texans
Obligatory selfie with the Live set.

They came around and gave us numbers for the trivia contest.  Ryan and Kelly would call a viewer at home.  If the viewer got the trivia question correct, then they would get to select a number.  If the viewer selected your number you would win a prize.

They told us we could take pictures as long as you didn’t use flash.  I was excited and thought it would be nice to use my good camera (Sony A6000).  I even took a photograph while they were filming.  Unfortunately, I didn’t put my camera on silent mode so it beeped.  I was a little embarrassed but no one seemed to notice.

The host chat at the beginning of the show. You can see Gelman off in the right side of the picture. - - "How to See TV Tapings in NYC With 1iota Tickets" - Two Traveling Texans
The host chat at the beginning of the show. You can see Gelman off in the right side of the picture.

Michael Gelman came out to warm up the audience.  He pulled four people out of the audience for a dance competition.  The winner would get to be on the show with Kelly and Ryan.  All the competitors had some pretty impressive dance moves, but no one could beat the pregnant woman that was dancing.

After that, the filming started and Kelly and Ryan come out.  I wasn’t chosen for the trivia prize, but it was a fun show.  The guest was Lana Parilla from Once Upon a Time.  I hadn’t heard of her either.

Kelly and Ryan chat with Lana Parilla. - "How to See TV Tapings in NYC With 1iota Tickets" - Two Traveling Texans
Kelly and Ryan chat with Lana Parilla.

I enjoyed the taping of Live with Kelly and Ryan, and I was thrilled that I could take photographs.  Also, I was impressed that both Kelly and Ryan interacted with the audience during the breaks and even took selfies.  In hindsight, I wish I would have taken one of the seats at stage level.  You could tell that the staff knew what they were doing and were very efficient.  

The taping was over by 11:30 am.

TV show tapings are fun, even if you don’t know the guests!  It’s fascinating seeing the behind the scene work. I would definitely recommend trying to see some while you are in NYC if you can.  You just need to mentally prepare yourself for the wait and plan a little bit ahead.  

Have you seen any live tapings in NYC? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.


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Expert Tips for Seeing Live Show Tapings in NYC

  • You can get free tickets to be in the live studio audience with 1iota.
  • Plan ahead to make sure the taping does not sell out.
  • Get to the studio on time to make sure you get in and get a good seat.
  • If photography is allowed, make sure the camera is on silent mode.
  • Follow the show’s rules to make sure you don’t get kicked out!

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Last Updated on July 27, 2023

About the Author

Anisa is an experienced international traveler with extra pages in her passport and stamps from 41 different countries across 5 continents (and counting). She was born and raised in Texas. After a 13 year stint in NYC, she moved to England to live with her husband.