The Tour at NBC Studios
Rockefeller Plaza is undoubtedly one of the most famous locations in the Big Apple. It’s home to the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree, an ice-skating rink and, of course, 30 Rock, the location of NBC Studios where many of today’s most popular network TV programs are brought to life. That’s exactly why we decided it would be an unforgettable experience to take the Tour at NBC Studios and see how all the television magic is made.
Early Bird Gets the Worm
On a bright and early Saturday morning, we swam through a sea of tourists to 30 Rockefeller Plaza to immerse ourselves in some broadcasting history and soak up some knowledge about the most influential people in television. Armed with bright eyes, bushy tails, and lattes from Magnolia Bakery next door, we headed through the 6th Avenue entrance to check in for our tour.
Where it All Began
The Tour at NBC Studios is one of the most famous studio tours around, and has recently reopened after a long while on hiatus due to building construction. It began with a short film (narrated by the one and only Al Roker) that delved into the history of NBC and the role it has played in media production through the years, from radio to modern-day television.
Following the film, NBC Pages (ours were funny and spectacular, by the way!) ran through some tour rules and then led the way to a variety of cool spots, like the SNL studio where we saw the crew setting up for a variety of sketches.
Because the tour takes place within a live production environment, the stops you’ll experience may vary depending on the day and time of your tour. Ours was at 9am on a Saturday, so besides the prep for that night’s production of SNL, it was fairly low-key in the building. We were lucky enough to see studios and other cool areas that aren’t always available for viewing, like Jimmy Fallon’s studio and the Muppet Pipes.
15 Minutes of Fame
We may not have had the chance to rub shoulders with any celebs during our tour, but we did get a chance to be in the limelight ourselves by creating our very own Late Show segment with our fellow tour members.
Check out the nifty souvenir video of our show-stopping performance featuring Shayna as the host and Adrienne as the guest. Our tour group is taking offers for our own late night show, if anyone is interested.
The experience of filming a late show segment was fun and exciting — but also awkward as we tried to have a conversation, time it to the laugh tracks and read off a teleprompter. Talk about high-pressure! With a little practice, we’ll be ready for late night in no time.
Broadcast Operations Center
Our last stop on the tour was the Broadcast Operations Center (or in studio-speak, the BOC), where we saw first-hand how content makes it from production to our screens at home.
It was fascinating to see how much time, energy and attention to detail is required to create some of our favorite shows and ensure that they’re successfully distributed to viewers. This part of the tour definitely gave us a newfound sense of appreciation for the hard work that goes into making television happen.
Brunchin’ at the Rock
Following the tour, we briefly purused the gift shop then made our way to the lower concourse of shops and restaurants to grab brunch from The Rock Center Cafe.
Though a bit pricey, we enjoyed a delicious meal of eggs benedict and french toast, paired with hot coffee and some table-side entertainment from the ice-skaters practicing their moves outside.
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, The Tour at NBC Studios is a great way to immerse yourself in the history of production, see where the action of some of the best television programs takes place, and have your own shot at 15 minutes of fame!