Day: September 5th, 2007

Feel the Power

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007 | All Things, Events

Back in Astoria for the evening taping of “Power of 10,” the new CBS game show hosted by Drew Carey. In it, contestants win cash (starting with $1,000, up to $10… million… dollars) by accurately predicting the results of polling questions posed to Americans. As the prize dollar values increase by a factor of ten, the range within which the results have to be estimated decreases: from within 40% to win $1,000 to $30% for $10,000, to 20% for $100,000 to within 10% for the million dollar question. Studio audience members provide input and assistance by submitting their guesses on individual handheld consoles.

It was my first visit to the Kaufman Astoria Studios. Astoria Studios opened in the 1920s as a home for Paramount Pictures. After a period during which it was taken over by the U.S. Army Signal Corps, the space was expanded and renovated extensively in 1980 (under real estate developer George S. Kaufman), since which it has served as the shooting location for an illustrious list of clients including major motion pictures, independent film, television shows and commercials.

Kaufman Astoria Studios

After the obligatory waiting period, we were led inside by a militant PA, who directed the audience members with an iron headset that left little room for arguments or questions. As she barked out orders and sternly pointed us to our seat assignments, we ended up with prime spots dead center, in front of the camera, facing the stage.

We were coached on how to be an enthusiastic studio audience by the resident warm-up guy – over-the-top cheering, and oohs and ahhs strongly encouraged – after which our host emerged to thunderous applause.

Carey was lured back to television after his successful runs on “The Drew Carey Show” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” by the prospect of being able to give away cash and prizes to ordinary folks. Before the taping, he indulged the audience by answering questions. One man asked about Carey’s new gig as the host of “The Price Is Right“. Another about his service as a Marine reservist. Others asked him to verify a couple of rumors: one story claimed that during his run on his eponymous show, Carey had taken an entire studio audience out to dinner (false); another that he had handed out $10,000 of his own money to audience members (false – sorta. The real story is that after one show taping ran particularly late, he rewarded the steadfast few who remained through to the end by giving them each $100, literally out of his own pocket – amounting to about $1500.)

Carey is widely acknowledged as a generous guy: his minimum tip whether for a burger, a cup of coffee or a single Amstel Light is reportedly $100, and he has been known to give away much more. And he is well-known as a steadfast supporter of libraries.

We didn’t get to benefit from any displays of Carey magnanimity this night, though there were plenty of t-shirts (hurled into the aisles like at baseball games) and assorted prizes raffled off. Although we didn’t score any Mets tickets, iPod shuffles or the Canon digital camera, we got to watch two contestants each vie for a million dollars, which was pretty exciting. In case you missed our star turns which aired on Wednesday September 12, you can check us out on the CBS website on the episode entitled: “Isabella & Mark Score Big.” We’re the shadowy, smiley blobs behind Carey’s right shoulder, just before the credits roll. Ha!

Got off this one blurry shot as we were being shuffled out of the studio at 10PM.

Power of 10

How would you have fared? The million dollar questions:

1. What percentage of Americans would rather have the power to read minds, instead of the power to fly?
2. What percentage of Americans think a person raised by gay parents has a greater chance of being gay?

Answers soon…

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