Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Live TV Show...

So this past week there was much hype regarding the airing of a popular television show. The network in a publicity stunt did a live episode. Everything completely live, anything can happen, actors may make mistakes, light and sound may be slightly off, that's the excitement, that's the gimmick right? You never know what may happen...and then after it aired the news stories the next day proclaimed how great a success it was. Everything went off perfectly, twice (they had to do it twice once for east/central time and once for mountain/pacific time) actually. There was an entire news story on how amazing it was that this 30 minute program managed to occur twice on the same night without any issues.

Now I don't know an incredible amount regarding the technical aspects of streaming a live television show to an entire nation, nor do I know anything about making sure it times out perfectly to fit in with the commercial sponsors who probably paid astronomical amounts to advertise during a live television sitcom event and I certainly don't want to take away from what I'm sure was weeks worth of planning for such an event. What I would like to point out to anyone who was so enthralled, amazed, on the edge of their seats during the airing of the episode, is that every week across the country, particularly on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and many times on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and sometimes even the occasional Monday, the general public as well as the big name advertisers can go and see a live event. Now it may not be a live television event, but it would be a live theatrical event.

I know I'm bias, but I happen to find it a bit funny that everyone makes such a big deal out of the work of the actors, the technological feat, the extra rehearsal time, and the awe that both episodes were the same. Seriously, this happens all the time at theaters all across the globe. Actors rehearse for six to eight weeks and then perform anywhere from three to over one hundred performances of the same show. Each performance is for the most part identical to the last one and the same as the one that will come after it. Just like live TV, the risk of an actor forgetting their lines or a prop breaking or worse disappearing and the constant risk that a light or sound cue won't work properly, all exist in live theater. That thrill that everyone is so excited to watch on live TV is even more exciting in person.

So while I don't want to diminish the work of the cast and crew that recently aired a 30 minute live sitcom event, I would like to remind everyone that many, many actors and crews work hard in live venues nearly every night to bring you live entertainment where the risks are just as big and the excitement of the audience should be just as high.

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