One of the free activities available in Las Vegas this July and August is the opportunity to attend a taping of TV’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.
Two weeks ago, friends Diana and Ron Golden had four tickets to a taping, and I and another friend of theirs went along.
The taping takes place at Caesars Entertainment Studios at 4165 Koval Lane right behind Bally’s Las Vegas. Parking is available at the site, or people without cars can catch an audience shuttle at Bally’s.
The Goldens don’t like to be late, so our arrival time was 2 p.m. for a 2:45 taping. When we arrived, a gentleman at the door said that the taping was running behind schedule (“it always does,” he muttered) and we’d be on time if we arrived back at 4 p.m. What?! The temperature was 114 or some such and none of us were in the mood to leave for two hours of gambling or eating, so we looked sad and quietly talked about our options. Finally the gentleman felt sorry for us and said we could wait inside if we could pass a security check.
We did have a security check, including a detailed purse check and wand action. We sat in mildly comfortable chairs and talked. Ron left for a while and brought us some water. A restroom and a soft drink machine were available. Frankly, I had not talked at length with Diana and Ron for a while and the two hours were used to fully catch up on family news … and that wasn’t bad at all.
Gradually a few more people showed up and finally (about 4:30) we were asked to form a line and enter the studio. Our group of four was asked to climb some stairs (steep) and we were ushered into a quite fabulous studio — just like on TV — full of lights and sounds and apparatus. A young man whose job was audience warm-up and applause leader greeted the new audience and warned us that even if we sit at home and shout out answers to Millionaire questions on the TV, “don’t do that s… here!” We laughed a lot and finally host Chris Harrison arrived. He was slim and pleasant and had a suit that fit like a glove. He posed for a few selfies, but quickly got down to business. We applauded a lot.
I can’t divulge the name of the contestant we saw, but it was a smart guy who answered a number of questions and believe me, we really felt the tension as the gentleman took his time reasoning the answers. That part of the event was fun with loud music adding to the tension. We were told the season we were seeing would debut in September.
During the taping, some of the folks in the audience were asked to change seats, to give the impression of a new audience, I guess. During one of the breaks, one of the audience members won a $1000 prize, though somehow I thought the folks at Millionaire might have known that person — just a wild thought amid the gossip that some audience members are recruited to attend all the shows and make sure not everyone in the audience has grey hair. (Audience members must be at least 18 years old, but a lot of retirees attend this show.)
Before we knew it, the show was over. We filed out and vowed next time (if there is a next time) that we’d try to get tickets to the day’s earliest show. We might, then, avoid some of the delays.
In spite of the long wait, I have to admit, what’s not to like about a free studio experience in an air conditioned studio. If we had wanted to take a test that might eventually lead to us being a show contestant, we could take the test after the taping. No one in our group had that urge. We were, frankly, tired and hungry…and wanted to move on … taking a memory of an interesting afternoon in Las Vegas with us.
For information about tickets for Who Wants to be a Millionaire, click here.
Postscript: A second visit to the Millionaire taping, at the earlier time, provided a much longer taping time and quite enjoyable between-takes entertainment by comedian Frank from L.A. We spent about four hours once inside the theatre — hard on the butt, but entertaining and received a couple not-so-valuable local coupons when we departed.