Getting Treated Like CRAP at the RACHEL RAY Show
I attended a taping of the Rachel Ray Show last week and let me tell you: this was a nightmare. Once we actually got into the studio and the cameras were rolling, things were O.K., but Oh My God…what an ordeal just to get your butt into one of those 124 turquoise plastic seats on the giant lazy susan platform that rotates the audience around to whatever set Rachel is taping on. Off camera (and on), the chunky, plucky Rachel seems nice enough (she's Miss Personality on camera), but her staff and the treatment of her studio audience was the worst I have ever experienced. I’ve been to most of the shows that record in NYC and LA (Regis, Ellen, Letterman, Martha, Rosie O’Donnell’s old show, etc.) and I’ve never been searched so thoroughly, treated so rudely or made to wait for so long. We arrived at 9:30am (our ticket said “ticket holders check-in at 10:15 am) and we waited ON THE STREET (like we were waiting for tickets to a Springsteen concert) for TWO HOURS before they let us into the building. We were sent thru the obligatory metal detector, and in order to finally get up to the 6th floor studio, we waited in a tiny lobby for an elevator, which only took 6 people at a time. Meanwhile the other elevator next to us was kept vacant “for staff use”….every 10 minutes, some “staff” member in a t shirt or shorts would use the elevator to come outside to smoke or fetch something. Otherwise, the elevator sat unused and we all waited to ascend to the 6th floor in the only elevator open to us. Every time somebody inquired as to why we couldn’t do this quicker by using BOTH elevators, staff members responses ranged from curt to downright nasty, as if they were talking to someone who doesn’t really matter at all. This totally pissed me off, especially after having been treated so nicely at Ellen DeGeneres, Regis & Kelly and Letterman. Friends of mine who have attended OPRAH tapings said that since “Rachel Ray” is an OPRAH production, this is where the rudeness comes from.
When we finally reached the 6th floor at 12:30 pm (after arriving at 9:30 am!!!) we were ushered into a tiny room with complimentary snacks, but told strictly not to bring anything into the studio, even though the staff, I observed, stands around munching their lavish goodies from the Kraft services table, located just outside the studio. At one point, I left the tiny room to head to the men’s room down the hall and was told to “FREEZE” by a nervous production assistant. “He’s got a bottle of water…can he bring that to the men’s room?” she said to some other higher up P.A. I said “this is a complimentary bottle of water from the waiting room”…finally it was decided that I could bring the half-finished bottle of water into the men’s room. After quite a long wait, the staff “warm up comic” comes into the tiny room and tells us the “rules.” Stand when I tell you, sit when I tell you, laugh when I tell you, clap & scream when I tell you.” He then tells us a few lame jokes which he probably tells to every group of suckers--sorry, audience members.)
Finally they let us into the hallowed ground….the STAGE, with the rotating audience platform. The one-hour show took nearly two hours to tape with all the stops and starts, Rachel’s costume changes, and the comic’s Catskill-style schtick. Sally Field was the first guest (it was the Mother’s Day show) and she seemed like a warm, genuine person. She and Rachel had a nice, long chat. The rest of the show was downhill after that…lots of cooking which we can’t see from the audience with all the cameras blocking us and a few more segments to shoot. We were released approx. 3pm, but didn’t make it downstairs until after 3pm. HOORAY…FREE AT LAST after over 6 hours there to tape a ONE hour show and being treated like excrement the whole time. The moral? Think carefully before you decide to attend a taping of the RACHEL RAY show on East 44th street in New York City.