‘America’s Got Talent’ Faces Tough Time Filling Seats In NYC

For the May 2014 taping of season 9 of the NBC behemoth TV show, America’s Got Talent (AGT), Mariah Carey’s hubby, Nick Cannon and the various judges Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B are certainly a big draw for audiences to see the show in NYC, but producers have created confusion in the choice of varied tape dates and locations for the taping’s, leading to a shortage of audience members.

For what’s billed as “Judgment Week “, normally the AGT show would be sold out, but right now there are many empty seats to be had over the next few days and many “priority seating” options are left empty, which is quite rare. The timings of the taping’s are also pretty awful with two taping’s a day at 9 AM and 2:15 PM maintaining a rigorous and demanding taping schedule. Many New Yorker’s just aren’t getting up for this. It is expected that in order to keep the morning audience there for the afternoon that they will feed them lunch as a bribe, a classic Hollywood trick.

The latest taping location is at Pier 92/94 on the West Side Highway, which is normally a  trade show and special event venue that houses the Westminster dog show and various other corporate trade shows. It’s weird to see AGT relegated to such a meager environment, especially given the high quality of the previous taping locations . Pier 92/94 bills itself in the “heart of midtown”, but in reality it is located on the outskirts of Midtown Manhattan at 55th Street and the West Side Highway, with no subway and little public transportation going there, that doesn’t help audience members who want to see the show, and have to battle rush-hour traffic to get there. No doubt the celebrities on the show, will be able to use Howard Stern’s “Ronnie Mund” AKA ” Ronnie the limo driver” to take them out there, in the quiet comfort of his customized Audi A8 complete with a working AC petcock.

AGT americas got talent show datesIt’s widely know that the reason AGT is shot in NYC is due to Howard Stern’s demanding schedule with The Howard Stern Show at Sirius XM radio so it remains to be seen if this format of moving around NYC in search of shooting locations will work over time or Howard will get bored and move onto new TV projects. It seems like just only a few moments ago the show was stationed in the theater at Madison Square Garden and before that it was at the Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark NJ. It is not clear where the live shows will be taped in the summer of 2014, but given the constant go-around NYC, it could be pretty much anywhere in the tri-state area.

What also doesn’t help is that the show isn’t on our TV screens right now, so there is little interest in the public minds – out of sight, out of mind. All the footage from these current shows is recorded and then edited down to the bare minimum, so the feel of this kind of show is labored and somewhat less compelling than a “Live” show, where it seems like anything could happen. Audiences in Hollywood would often be paid to attend these kinds of shows, but the New York ones have to be run more cheaply as the cost of shooting these shows in NYC is about double the Californian rate. The taped show also take a lot longer to shoot, often two and a half hours, with re-shoots and lighting adjustments galore,  which makes the audience restless and often bored. So bored  in fact that they don’t come back, especially given the amount of boos that Nick Cannon received recently at Madison Square Garden, when he came to see the NY Knicks play. His AGT TV producers thought it would be a great idea to shoot an AGT promo at the game and for him to appear on the MSG Jumbotron and then do a trick shot (Throwing the ball behind his head, while someone else throws a ball into the basket) His appearance on the Jumbotron was met with loud crowd boos and then his failed trick shot added to the crowd torment and they started getting mean. After a 2nd, but successful, attempt Nick Cannon finally sat down and then left the stadium just ten minutes later as he appears to have little interest in the Knicks. New Yorker’s generally do not like Nick Cannon and clearly Knicks fans positively dislike him, and now he knows it  if he didn’t know already. NBC’s AGT producers are well known producers of “fakeality” TV Shows and are to expected to still use the negative footage recorded at MSG, remove the loud boos, overdub the audio and edit out the fans rude hand gestures and make it appear that Mr Cannon was in fact the darling of The Garden.

We look forward to see the live shows of AGT come back to NYC in July and it will be interesting to see if the public interest in seeing this show returns, but given the current nomadic spin on shooting locations, the show could end up in Danbury, Connecticut. The home of all the other NBC universal shows. If only Howard Stern would agree to the move.

For your information, the official address of this shooting location at Pier 92/94 is 711 12th Avenue, New York, NY 10019.

How To Avoid Additional Ticketmaster Ticket Fees at the 2013 Radio City Christmas Show

Radio City Christmas SpectacularThe Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the Rockettes, is a holiday favorite that is particularly popular with families. While nearby Broadway is often prohibitively expensive for large groups, Radio City frequently offers discount codes, promotions, and cheaper mezzanine seating that makes it possible to get tickets for as low as the $30-$50 range.

The catch is that the Ticketmaster fees associated with these tickets keep getting higher and higher. Even if you get, for instance, a $39 base price ticket for the Radio City show, you will still be stuck paying an additional Ticketmaster “service fee” of $14-$18 per ticket if you order your tickets by phone or online.

Fortunately there is a way to avoid these hefty Ticketmaster fees, and that is to buy your Radio City Christmas show tickets in person at the ticket box office.

Buying tickets in person can be an inconvenience for some and an impossibility for many others who live outside of New York City — which is precisely what Ticketmaster is counting on. However, if you are in the New York area, there are three different locations where you can purchase Radio City Christmas Show tickets in person, so you can choose the location that is most convenient for you.

radiocity2Ticket Location 1 – The Radio City Music Hall Box Office
The first location is, of course, is the Radio City Music Hall box office, located at 1260 6th Avenue (between 50th and 51st streets). Enter at the corner of 6th Ave and 50th Street to get to the box office in the main lobby. This is a good location to try if you work in midtown Manhattan, or happen to be dropping by the midtown area for something else (such as seeing a Broadway show).

Ticket Location 2 – MSG Madison Square Garden Box Office
The second location where you can buy Radio City tickets is Madison Square Garden’s box office. MSG is located on 7th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd streets. This is the best option for anyone who commutes into the city via Penn Station.

Ticket Location 3 – Beacon Theatre Box Office
The third location is further uptown at the Beacon Theatre, which is at 2124 Broadway, situated between 74th and 75th Streets. People living on the Upper West Side will appreciate this location, and even those who live in Upper Manhattan or the Bronx might find it is fairly easy to stop off at the Beacon on the way home.

Despite the temptation to go the easy route and buy through Ticketmaster, if you are buying multiple tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, you will find that purchasing at one of these three box offices can save you a great deal of money in fees.

The Holidays Will Be Bright at Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden, one of New York City’s most famed and popular venues, will be especially busy during the holiday season this year, from just before Thanksgiving and on towards the New Year.  During that time, the MSG arena will host such major acts as Justin Bieber (November 28-29), boy band sensation One Direction (December 3), and classic rockers The Who (December 5).

Meanwhile, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, MSG’s more intimate space, will feature several theatrical productions, most of them family-friendly for the holidays.

Tyler Perry’s Madea Gets a Job (November 16-17) – See one of the richest and most influential men in the entertainment world live onstage when writer, director, and actor Tyler Perry once again takes on his best-known role, the sharp-tongued old woman Madea, in a stage show in which Madea has to take on a job and ends up working at a nursing home.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses (November 28) – One of the original Nintendo gaming system’s signature games, Zelda has amassed a devoted following over the last 25 years.  This show allows fans to experience the video game in a unique way that offers dynamic visuals accompanied by a symphony orchestra.  The concert showcases the music of Nintendo composer / sound director Koji Kondo.

Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! Get the Sillies Out (November 30 – December 2) – The wildly popular children’s TV series Yo Gabba Gabba! brings its colorful and unique characters to the stage.  Along with DJ Lance Rock, they will help the young audience to jump, shimmy, and shake the sillies out in this fun, kid-friendly show.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical (December 13-30) – Mr. Grinch may be a mean one, but he remains beloved by both kids and their parents, and he takes the stage at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in this live-action musical version of the famed Dr. Seuss tale.