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Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Oprah Experience...

We're in the midst of our Chicago vacation but just had to share my Oprah experience while it's all still fresh in my mind!

It was a fabulous experience! We started out with breakfast at the hotel. Joan told us to leave no later than 9 am because we had to arrive at the studio no later than 11:30 am. We're staying in Orland Park, which is about an hour southwest of downtown Chicago. We hit some traffic but still managed to make it into downtown shortly after 10 am. I didn't understand why we had to get there so early but then I realized why when I saw the big line outside the studio.

It was $25 to park right across from the studio. There is an A show and a B show on any given taping day. As we were waiting in line, the people from the A show were just getting out. They had little bags from Eliza's Eyes and I overheard that it was a makeover show.

The process starts with waiting outside. Then the line moves in and they check your reservation and photo ID. Once inside, you can check your coat and they search your purse and take away any cell phones, cameras, and paper that is in your purse. Then you're given a blue slip of paper that you need to fill out with your name and address that also serves as a model release form. You are then lead upstairs to a big waiting room that has huge photos of Oprah and different guests. There's 3 flat screen TV's that play video footage of past Oprah shows including from the 80's! We waited from about 10:45 am - 12:15 pm. It was a L-O-N-G wait! Then they start seating and call in various parties by name. They must make little notes when you check in because certain parties got called for front row seating and I overheard that they had "great colors" on so they wanted them in certain places. After that, it is general seating according to the number on your blue sheet. I was #47 so they called 1-25 first, then 25-50 so we got to go in second. I'll never forget the feeling of walking through that famous tunnel and walking onto the set! It was so cool!

The production assistant sat us in the front row of the balcony seats adjacent to the tunnel. I was in the seat right next to the tunnel in the first row. The guests got seated on the couch facing Oprah and Dr. Berman and Dr. Berman came out and sat next to Oprah's seat. A woman (producer?) came out and talked to the audience while we were waiting for Oprah to come out. She told us it was going to be a show about sex and it featured sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman. She asked us sex questions and told us what to expect at the taping. A few members of the audience stood up and there was a brief discussion. Next thing you know, I heard a "Hello everybody!" and it was Oprah! She walked out right next to me! I was surprised because I thought there would be a big production and we'd have to stand and cheer for her to come out but she just casually walked out! She looked fabulous and was barefoot as she carried her shoes! I never saw her walk in shoes, she just carried them out and put them on after she sat down.

The show began promptly and it was just as you would see on TV. She read off of a teleprompter and spoke candidly as well. It was seriously JUST like you see on TV. I was surprised that they didn't do more takes but it was almost all "live." The show featured three couples and Dr. Berman who had counseled them with their sexual issues. The show went by really fast and we only got through one couple so after the show ended, Oprah announced that she was going to go change and we were going to get to see ANOTHER show! They spontaneously made it into a two-part show so that she could talk to the other two couples.

Oprah got up and walked through the tunnel and looked right at me and smiled! I was like, "Hi Oprah!" Sorry, I was a little star-struck... she was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! She came back dressed differently and Dr. Berman also changed clothes and we started a new show. At the end of that show, she stood up and announced that it was all over and she stood around for a little while thanking the couples. Then she took her shoes off and walked back into the tunnel. Some of the women stuck their hands out for Oprah to shake them and I did but she shook the woman's hand right behind me. I wasn't very aggressive about it, but oh well. It was still really cool! We finally got out of there at 3:30. I wanted to go the Oprah store too, but we had to get back to the hotel and try not to hit too much of rush hour.

We all will get a copy of Dr. Berman's new book. We have to mail in a card to have it sent to us. Apparently it's not published yet so that's why we didn't get them right away.

It was a fun experience and I would love to do it again sometime!

The wedding is tomorrow and we'll be heading back sometime Saturday.


Jeannette said...

I did the Ellen Show last year w/ some girlfriends and that was almost the same experience that you described! Very fun! :-)

trinity said...

Shoot, I was hoping it was a "Favorite Things" episode and you got to come home with tons of cool stuff! :) I'll watch for you on tv when the episode airs. Hope you're having fun in Chicago!

HeatherEve said...

We felt the same way about no giveaways :( Kind of a bummer just because you know it happens so often, but it was still a cool experience and we sat EXACTLY where you did! Great views, but not likely any TV time unless someone in your section asked an on-air question. You didn't miss too much at the store unless you wanted to buy something from her wardrobe (I'm proud to say both Oprah and I have giant size 10 feet, though I can't afford her shoes, used or not), the rest she's putting it all online anyways. Did you take photos at the Harpo sign around the corner???? That is the best photo op!

Heidi said...

How fun, How fun!!!!
That is so fun!
I love your "Hi Oprah"
You are the cutest human being!
Love you girl. I am so glad you posted. I am an Oprah FREAK so I am stalking your site...Yah.