Trip to the Later Today Show
By Wendy Winans

The day had finally arrived. After weeks of preparation and going over in my head what it might be like, we were at Rockefeller Center in New York City. After waiting an hour or so to enter the studio of the Later Today show, the ushers led us to our seats. It was great, we had a table dead center. We could easily see everything. The studio was set up in three areas. There were three cameras and cables everywhere. One of the ushers explained some of the rules and then Jodi Applegate, one of the hosts of the show came out to greet us. They called this the warm-up period where she saw how loud we could clap and cheer. She stopped briefly at our table and I was able to show her a few old photos of Florence Henderson that I had brought with me. I was hoping for a moment with Florence to share the photo album as well.


Next Florence Henderson and Asha Blake, the other hosts of the show, entered the studio. They waved and greeted the audience but went to straight to their seats at the kitchen bar to get ready for the start of the show. It was fascinating to see how a live show was filmed and the strange commercial breaks that were put in. Some consisted only of about 60 seconds and others were 3-5 minutes long. Throughout the show there were 6 or 7 different segments, one on minerals, chocolate obsessions, a celebrity's bedroom, Donald Trump, the opening discussion on current events, the main topic being penalties in Florida for over due library books. It was amazing how quickly during the commercial breaks that the techs could change the props and move the cameras around for the next segment.

A little more than half way through the show they began to set up a segment directly in front of us in the audience. Florence was going to be sitting directly in front of us for the next piece. During the 10 minute segment on Oscar contenders, I was so nervous, I looked like a statue, didn't want to fidget or scratch my nose, so I just sat perfectly still. It was kinda funny, but exciting as well since I knew my family and friends who had taped the show were going to be able to see me on television.

Florence had been told ahead of time that we were going to be attending the show, her webmaster had been gracious enough to set things up. Florence came over during a few of the commercial breaks to say hello, because she had to catch a plane directly after. We were able to get a photo taken and she gave my friend and I each a script of the day signed by the three hosts. My friend had presented her with a special gift she had cross-stitched of the Later Today logo, along with computer generated cards that she had made for each of the three hosts. I was given the opportunity to share my photo album with Florence and she commented that she didn't remember posing for so many shots in her career. I had photos from her days before the Brady Bunch, many from the show's era and a few from recent years and her old TNN cooking show. I think it brought back a few memories for her.

After the show, Florence rushed off the set to catch a plane and Asha and Jodi stayed behind to mingle with the audience. I was able to show my album to them as well and pictures were taken with each of them. I left having fulfilled many dreams, from meeting Florence and seeing a television show taped live. It will be a day that is not soon forgotten. The entire trip to New York was memorable.