See A Taping Of These Shows In New York And You Might Appear On TV

When you're in New York City, it can feel like the center of the known world. With so many morning news shows and late-night talk shows broadcast from Manhattan, it's as if the televisual narrative of American life begins and ends there. Turn on "Today" or "The Tonight Show," and you'll see and hear everyday people along with the smiling TV hosts. Both shows are taped at NBC Studios in Rockefeller Plaza, where you can also take in elevated views of New York and the Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock observation deck. The Tour at NBC Studios allows you to see where the shows and other popular network programs, such as "Saturday Night Live" and "Late Night with Seth Meyers," are taped.

It might be even better to join the live studio audience for one of these shows. Tourists and ticket holders regularly visit the studios and are shown gathered outside or sitting in the audience. NBC isn't the only game in town, either, as you can also see shows like "The View," "Good Morning America," "The Daily Show," and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" taping around town. Many of them offer free tickets through or on standby if you can get there in person. Seeing famous hosts and guests in real life can be a surreal novelty, and if you catch yourself in the background on national television later, you might feel like you've experienced your own 15 minutes of fame while traveling.

Visit an NBC show in Rockefeller Plaza

To join a live broadcast of "Today," no ticket is required, but you'll need to get to Rockefeller Plaza bright and early. Guests are admitted from 6:15 to 6:30 every weekday morning on a first-come, first-served basis. The venue is Today Plaza, just outside the studio's well-known "window on the world," where people are often seen waving and holding up cameras or signs behind anchors and guests throughout the show. For each broadcast (weather permitting), "Today" moves out into the Plaza for some segments, and that's when you'll really feel like part of the show. During the Citi Concert Series from May to September, you can register online for a Fan Pass or brave the general admission line to see free musical performances.

"Late Night with Seth Meyers" and "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" field ticket requests through the availability calendars on 1iota. The Shop at NBC Studios distributes standby cards on show days (from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for Meyers, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Fallon). "Saturday Night Live" has a ticket window limited to August, when you can enter the email lottery for two free tickets to the upcoming season (usually broadcast from October to May). Ticket dates are randomly assigned, so you'll need to plan your trip around the taping unless you want to try for standby tickets. You can request up to four standby tickets online at 10 a.m. the Thursday before a show airs.

Other shows around Manhattan

"The View," "The Daily Show," "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and the Summer Concert Series on "Good Morning America" also handle their ticket requests through 1iota. With "The View" and "The Daily Show," a ticket doesn't guarantee admission, since they distribute more than the audience can hold and then admit people on a first-come, first-served basis. The studios are on West 66th Street and the corner of 52nd Street and 11th Avenue, respectively. You'll want to get there early to ensure your seat, especially if you're eager to see Jon Stewart return to host "The Daily Show" on Mondays during the election year in 2024.

"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" has open dates where you can join the waitlist for tickets, but it doesn't currently offer them on standby. Even if you can't get in, the show's marquee on Broadway makes for a nice New York photo op. Colbert inherited The Ed Sullivan Theater from David Letterman, and it's in the National Register of Historic Places. This is where The Beatles played their first U.S. performance in 1964.

"Good Morning America" discontinued its studio audience during the pandemic, but for the time being, you can still see the show taping through the windows to its Times Square studio, which it's inhabited since 1999. In 2025, the show will move across town to a new Hudson Square facility. The Summer Concert Series takes place uptown on Rumsey Playfield in the world's most-filmed location, Central Park.