The 4th season of the Ellen Degeneres show premieres today at
4pm 8pm on ABC (channel 5 here in Boston). Be sure to tune in today (and tomorrow!) to see all the excitement I witnessed first-hand when I attended the live taping of the show last Monday in New York.
That's right - I was lucky enough to be invited by my friends at AOL to attend the taping of Ellen's season opener, which was filmed in front of a 10,000 person audience in Central Park. Fans had queued up for hours (literally: I was told the folks near the front had arrived around 6am, some even the night before) in hopes of getting good seats; lucky for me I had a VIP pass which allowed me to go straight to the head of the line when I arrived around 11:30.
Even then, I had to wait for nearly two hours before they let us into the park. I made lots of friends in line, including a young woman and her dad who were visiting NYC for the first time as a family vacation before she headed off to college. They attended the live taping of the Today Show that morning on a lark (Mom & brother missed out because they were not willing to get up that early!), and ended up winning tickets to Ellen's show. Also in line were a newlywed couple who had been married the day before and also won tickets from the Today Show...and the groom was set to leave for Iraq this week.
My seat was in the 6th row, on the right-hand side of the stage, which afforded a fantastic view of Ellen and her guests (and her new DJ, who was positioned on a platform in the middle of the crowd where he kept everyone moving during set changes and commercial breaks).
Ellen's first guest was Justin Timberlake, who, together with TImbaland performed the breakout hit from his new CD, Sexyback. The crowd, of course, went wild, and Ellen had a ball dancing with Justin on stage.
After Justin's performance and interview (really, he should stick to singing and dancing) the crew did a quick set change while Ellen switched up her outfit, and we were back in action...this time to shoot episode #2 (which will air tomorrow), with special guest Beyonce.
It was pretty funny because everyone pretended like it was Tuesday (i.e., "We had so much fun here in Central Park yesterday that we decided to come back and do it again today!") when in fact it was still Monday. And, it was Beyonce's 25th birthday, so after her elaborate performance with her 8-piece, all female band, the crowd sang Happy Birthday to her.
It was a super long day (we didn't leave the park til around 7pm) but wow what an event. The entertainment was phenomenal - Ellen especially put on a great show (at one point she ran out onto 96th street to hail a cab, and then dragged the unsuspecting cab driver up on stage and paid him $350 to keep the meter running and just sit and watch the rest of the show!).
Be sure to tune in today and enjoy the show...you won't be disappointed!