Looking for a new daytime program to embrace? I was an audience guest for Queen Latifah’s debut show and got to see firsthand the makings of what’s hoping to be a popular afternoon alternative.
Growing up in North Hollywood, California (a suburb of Los Angeles), I was used to being around all things Hollywood-ish. Television stations and movie studios were plentiful in my area and something was always being filmed in my neighborhood. It was not uncommon to see famous actors and actresses at the local grocery store. When I was in grade school, I kept an autograph book handy to snatch signatures from all the stars.
As I got older, I became more conscious of the fact that many of my friends’ parents were in the “biz”— either behind the scenes or in front of the camera. Going behind the scenes to watch movies and t.v. shows being taped was a common activity. Growing up around all that Hollywood glitz and glamour really didn’t phase me. It was the “normal” for where I grew up.
I haven’t lived in that area for over 25 years and am far away from those regular experiences. So, when I was invited by BlogHer to join five other bloggers to see the taping for the new Queen Latifah Show, I quickly accepted. I was excited to go down memory lane of being on a television set on behalf of a star I enjoyed and wanted to see successful in her latest endeavor.
The taping took place at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, about a two hour drive from my house. It was in the late afternoon, so I made sure I had lots of time to get there during the famous afternoon LA traffic. There was a designated spot for the show’s audience to meet and wait to enter the studio’s grounds.. I had forgotten about all the waiting incurred with a television show: wait to go to the stage; wait to get seated; wait for the show to start; wait for the commercial breaks; wait for the re-takes. Waiting can be exhausting. But the prospects of seeing Queen Latifah up close and personal kept it interesting.
What has changed is the look and feel of a sound stage. It is so fancy and techy now. There was a lot of social media presence including a nifty sign just off stage reporting real time tweets about the show. Fascinating. And then the actual set. It took my breath away. Queen Latifah enlisted Lenny Kravitz to design a one-of-a-kind television home for her to showcase the multi-faceted aspects of her show. He out did himself in creating an ambiance of elegance and comfort.
As with all live audience shows, there was an actor to warm up the audience before the taping,leading the audience in songs, jokes, and activities to get us ready for the real cheering during the taping.
Finally, it was time for Lights. Camera. Action. Queen Latifah entered with a musical extravaganza. Why the hoopla? Because the one and only John Travolta was her first guest for her first show!!! They had a candid conversation about his career, his family, and what’s up next for him plus he answered what he wished he could tell his younger self. It was fun to watch these two long time friends chat for the camera and continue to connect in-between takes. That’s the kind of stuff you miss out on when you watch the finished product at home.
Also for this first show, airing Monday, September 16th on CBS (check your local listing for time), there was a comedy sketch and another segment where Queen Latifah had her friend Alicia Keys help her honor a hard-working music teacher and his students. It made me cry.
How is Queen Latifah’s show going to stand out? For one, it is executive produced by Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, so the show has a great creative feel. Queen Latifah incorporates her musical roots in to the format. Her good friend that helped her get in to the business, MC Lyte, D.J.’s great music during the show and on breaks for the audience. It is definitely a lively paced show with lots of variety. I like how Queen Latifah uses her varied skill sets to present celebrity interviews, human interest stories, musical performances, and pop-culture.
After almost four hours — start to finish — the pre-taping, taping, and re-taping was completed. The audience was escorted back to the parking structure where the afternoon began. As we passed the many Queen Latifah Show advertisements back to our cars, I had a greater appreciation for all the obvious hard work that is going in to the show.
It was fun to be an audience member for a major television show once more. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together for not only the show I saw, but for all of Queen Latifah’s upcoming shows. And thanks to DVR’s, I won’t have to worry about missing the start of something big. And either do you.
Have you been to a television taping before?
What is your favorite work from Queen Latifah?