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Hot in Cleveland - Tales of the Taping! PDF Print E-mail

Valerie, Jane, Wendie and Betty are fortunate to film Hot in Cleveland before a "live, studio audience!"


If you watch TV - especially sitcoms on TV Land - you've probably heard that phrase hundreds of times. Being in a live, studio audience means you are actually part of the program. Your laughter and applause helps the actors, writers and directors. You let them know what jokes worked ... and maybe what didn't. 


"We feed off the energy of the audience," Valerie explained. "When everyone is laughing and having a good time, it helps us with our timing and delivery. We get excited about the scene, knowing that the audience is excited about it."



Torsten touches up my makeup before cameras roll.

The best part of being in a live, studio audience is that it's free! You can see your favorite stars hard at work and it doesn't cost you a dime. In fact, the nice folks at the CBS Studio Center will even feed you a snack for your troubles. Here's how it works:


Tickets: Hot in Cleveland distributes its tickets through Audiences Unlimited. Click on this link for details and reservations. As of June 1, tickets for the next 30 days have been claimed. However, when HiC debuts on June 16 (and is a HUGE hit), more taping dates will be scheduled, and more tickets will be released. So keep checking that link!


Timing: Arrive at the CBS Studio Center - 4024 Radford Street, Studio City - by 5 PM. Park in the complimentary parking garage (floors 4 and above), take the elevators down and queue up for the shuttle bus to the soundstage. Arrive early! Bring a book to pass the time, if needed. Demand for this show has been so high that they have turned away as many as 75 to 100 fans per taping. Plan to be at the studios until around 10 or 10:30 PM. It's a long night, but worth every second! The studio typically provides bottled water, light sandwiches and a cookie to tide you over, but it's helpful to keep a small snack on-hand, just in case.


Fans line up to go through security and into the studioSecurity: Leave your camera (and your weapons) in your car. Photography (still and video) is prohibited on set. And don't think you're clever taking photos with your cell phone. They will confiscate it. Remember to silence your phone as well - no one wants to hear your "Ode to Joy" ring tone in the middle of Betty and Jane's banter.


Show Time: You will be escorted into a seating area, overlooking the sets. For Hot in Cleveland, the girls have a rambling home - with living room, kitchen and front porch scenes. There may be a bar or restaurant area as well. Unfortunately, you may not be able to see all the scenes from your seats - but the studio broadcasts all camera shots onto screens in the audience area so you can see what the director sees.


Fun-and-Games: Comedian Michael Burger usually will serve as your host for the evening - playing games, telling jokes, explaining behind-the-scenes action, and conducting the most awesome TV trivia game EVER. His job is to keep everyone happy and laughing during breaks in the filming. Michael, who has been in several different TV shows, can answer questions about the roles of the crew and cast, and why different things are happening on stage.

Guest star (and legend) Carl Reiner reads lines with Jane Leeves. 

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It: Have a good time. Enjoy yourself. Laugh out loud. Show your appreciation. The writers, directors and actors depend on your feedback to make sure the script is working... but sometimes you can go overboard: During the taping of the pilot, when Betty White walked through the front door for her debut, the audience went nuts, giving her a four-minute ovation! Unfortunately, Hot in Cleveland is only 30 minutes long - not 34 - so Director Michael Lembeck had to re-shoot the scene, after graciously asking the audience to cut short their applause. Watching a taping gives you insight into how your favorite shows go from soundstage to screen. Valerie, Wendie, Jane and Betty are all consummate professionals, and in a taping, you can watch how they help one another - or maybe even dissolve into a giggle fit. If a shot doesn't work, the director will re-do it, changing dialog or positioning - and this is where you come in.

 Everyone's favorite SNL host!

"We don't like to do a scene more than once - just because it takes some of the freshness out," Valerie explained. "It's so important to hear that feedback from the audience and know they liked a scene."


Fortunately, Hot in Cleveland is so well-acted and well-written, it's not hard to generate laughs over and over. 


"During the pilot, I was laughing so hard, my face hurt," recalled Valerie's fiance Tom. "Even on the third and fourth take, we were still belly-laughing."


For other fun things to do in Los Angeles, check out Valerie's recommendations for a jaunt down Hollywood Boulevard.




#14 Brenda 2014-08-24 00:32
I just saw a clip where your character yelled at the TV "I'm judging you skinny bitches and your all guilty" Wow, as some one who chronicles their struggle with weight I was taken back by your insensitivity. There are some women who struggle with being underweight. It is just as emotionally painful when food is the enemy for one who can not keep a healthy weight. To struggle to eat and keep enough weight on and get the nutrients needed so you do not loose all your teeth, or be able to carry a pregnancy full term, not have a heart attack or faint from low blood pressure. Just as some overweight women, there are underweight women who fight the same battle, emotionally, socially and physically. Please, just as you would think twice about denigrating overweight women, give the same consideration to the other side. At 56 years and 88 pounds, I can tell you. Hatred of food, weight and body image, my nightmare, is the same as someone 288.
#13 Debbie 2012-05-14 17:22
I just want to say THANK YOU & ALL THE GIRLZ SO MUCH FOR A FANTASTIC SHOW! Please thank the writers/producers and entire crew!

I would love to come out for a taping but don't think I can get the time off from my job...plus I live clear across the US 'on the Moon' in Moon Township Pennsylvania so it would be a day just to get out there to CA to C Yinz (that's Pittsburgheez talk!)

Keep up the great work VB and be sure to relay my thanks to the other girlz & crew! I cannot wait til August!

Love ya and keep on rockin!
(BTW, Tom is very hot! So glad you landed a great guy!!)
#12 Debbie 2012-05-14 17:21
cont'd...Ya know, I've watched ODAAT all my life growing up and believe it or not, some of my friends/family/and even strangers have told me 'you know who you look like? That girl, Valerie Bertinelli on ODAAT!' Even my husband, Tom (of 27 years +) said so when he was dating me back in the 80's :) I had a 'crush' on you - no, not that kind of crush (of course, if I were gay then it would be that type of crush - LOL) but I was just infatuated with you! You were such a talented actress - oh, deer, forgive me. . . you still ARE a talented actress! (My bad). I always dreamed of moving to Hollywood and becoming one but when I was in grade school ready for my big show (a school play) my Grandma passed away and I had to miss it. . . ever since then I gave up my acting career. But still dream of being an actress today - yeah, right! At 50 years old - I don't think so!
Love ya!
#11 Debbie 2012-05-14 17:20
Oh My Goodness, girlfriend! That 'Some Like It Hot' was my FAVORITE show of all time (if I had to pick just ONE caz they are all spectacular!) Thank you (and Jayne and Wendy and especially that AMAZING young lady...what's her name? Oh yeah, Betty White :) for such a spectacular view of what actually goes on!
Love ya!
#10 Deborah 2012-03-12 13:15
Dear Valerie,
In lost loves you mention a top swimmer when you were in school....Nick Kostis and you had the biggest crush on him. Well, Nick is a good friend of mine and he is the owner of "Pickwick and Frolic" Restaurant and comedy club!
http://www.pickwickandfrolic.com/Pickwick/index.html We told him that you mentioned him and he went all week in the knees! I wish you could send me a note or a pic I could forward to him. He is such a wonderful guy and really loves Cleveland.
Love Hot in Cleveland so much! You girls are the best!
#9 Judy Young 2011-12-07 04:28
Quoting Deana:
Hi Judy. Welcome. The movie you are talking about is "Finding John Christmas." It is actually on a lot over the holiday seasons. It is going to be on Universal HD channel on Thursday at 4 am. Maybe you can DVR it? It is also going to be on the Hallmark channel on 12/17 at 12 am and then again at 6 am. Lastly, it is going to on the Cloo channel at 8pm on 12/18 and 2 am on 12/19. Hope this information helps you.

Thanks Deana, I don't think I get any of those channels but at least I have the name and will search the movie listings for it. Really appreciate your help.
Smiles, Judy
#8 Deana 2011-12-07 00:37
Hi Judy. Welcome. The movie you are talking about is "Finding John Christmas." It is actually on a lot over the holiday seasons. It is going to be on Universal HD channel on Thursday at 4 am. Maybe you can DVR it? It is also going to be on the Hallmark channel on 12/17 at 12 am and then again at 6 am. Lastly, it is going to on the Cloo channel at 8pm on 12/18 and 2 am on 12/19. Hope this information helps you.
#7 Judy Young 2011-12-06 23:35
Hi, new here. Trying to find something out. Valerie made a beautiful "made for tv movie" some years back and am trying to find it's name. In the movie she and her Dad were estranged for many years, they find each other and the story is around their reunion. Peter Falk 'may' have been an angel in it. It's never shown and would love to find out the name and if it's available or even if anyone knows about it? One of those little gems at Christmas ...great acting on her part. I look for it every Christmas and at least wished I knew the name of it.
#6 Michael 2010-06-16 18:33
Valerie, I GOT my tickets for July 16th! Thanks for all this info, it's very helpful! I'm so excited for the show tonight! Going to watch it with some Jenny Curls and Lemon Cakes, and LAUGH my ARSE off!!! LOL!
#5 Micheal Rayl 2010-06-16 01:42
I still remember you from the 1st Television show 'One Day At A Time'. I was so amazed at your funny openiness! You are such a rare, genuine gem and true professional! I loved you then and I still love you! Through your hard and good times, you will always be a symbol of true talent!
P.S.- I can't wait for 'Hot in Cleveland'! All are wonderful actresses!
Betty White is the 'bomb'! LOL!

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