My ABC Tour And NBC 8G Tour & Taping On The Seth Meyers Set
On the left, me at Diane Sawyer’s desk at ‘ABC World News Tonight’ in ABC TV 3. The same studio the Peter Jennings reported from. When this was taken, ‘Good Morning America’ was still on, as you can see in the monitors behind me. The desk is L shaped and the long part of the L is on my right, but this is the usual reporting view.
As I was getting up from the desk, Howie Mandel happened to walk by. Glad to report that he too is a Squidbillies fan! Speaking of Squidbillies, I just left ‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’. The warm up comedian, Ryan Riess, walked up into the audience and happened to speak to my guest…Ron Simon, Curator of The Paley Center For Media. He noticed my ‘Squidbillies’ jacket and asked about it. I told him I was the voice of Sheriff and he had me stand up and take a bow! There were a lot of ‘Squidbillies’ fans there tonight!
I was in the elevator with Steve Higgins today, announcer for ‘Tonight’ and he too is has been known to watch ‘Squidbillies’ “now and then”.
In the middle, below is a shot of me with an brand new Ikegami on the set of ‘The Chew’ which had just ended. This is in ABC TV 2 and in a different building that the news set. TV 1 and TV 2 have a collapsible wall between them and were used together when Regis Philbin debuted ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’? Katie Couric’s show ‘Katie’ is done in TV 1 just after ‘The Chew’ finishes and on the right is a shot of ‘Katie’, just before just two minutes before the show started, as the warm up was ending.
I have many more pictures to share, but will have to wait till I get home to post them and do justice to the details…my schedule is just too packed here. ABC’s Bob Franklin was my host today and I’m thrilled that he took three hours of his time to show me around. You could not ask for a better guide…he’s a rare gem and has been at ABC since 1975, which makes him one of the few veteran broadcasters left in the building. Bob knows where all the bodies are buried! He buried them!
I felt very at home at ABC as many of our Eyes Of A Generation friends were there and I got to meet them. Walking down the hall at NBC this afternoon, I ran into our friend Alan Coffield who I had thought of earlier in the day and wondered if I would see him.
At 2 today, I had the pleasure of spending an hour with the busiest man at 30 Rock…Ian Tremboly. He is NBC Executive Vice President of Television Operations, Production & Engineering and for him, 18 hour days have been the norm for the past couple of years.
With ‘Tonight’ moving to NYC, renovations to the sixth floor studios A and B, and preparing 8G for Seth Meyers have been major tasks. There are also new control rooms being built on the seventh floor that will be on line in a year or so. Meredith Vieira’s show will be done from 6A which will soon be renovated soon.
One of the things I was most impressed with, is Ian’s personal interest in NBC’s grand history, and his desire to preserve it and have it reflected in the very place that this unique history was made…even in the new facilities there. 30 Rockefeller Plaza IS television’s living history! I think you will all agree that his efforts have been wildly successful. 6B and 8G looks fantastic, sound incredible and feels very warm and welcoming. This is truly state of the art television…and then some!
At 3 today, I went to meet Bob Friend in Studio 8G, where Bob has been the chief electrician since 1992, but he’s been with NBC a lot longer. No one ever had a last name that fit them better! I got to see everything you could possibly want to see, AND MORE! Believe it or not, there are German swastikas on some of the old, original plumbing. RCA’s builder bought a lot of the metal piping from a manufacturer in Munich which is where the Nazi party was very strong and the owner of the plant included a swastika into the raised metal letters on the piping made in 1933.
Bob also showed me where famous NBC Orchestra conductor Arturo Toscanini’s elevator was. The private, one person elevator is gone, but the call button and the plate with lit up and down arrows remains beside where it used to be in what is now a small maintenance office. He conducted in 8H, which was known for many years as “the Auditorium Studio”. Ian Trembly told me that he had seen the original blueprints for 8H and in that first set of plans from the late 1920s, it was then being designed as a live theatrical space…much like a broadway theater stage.
Again, I felt right at home and was treated like a friend of the family at NBC and am most grateful for the warm reception and incredible hospitality of the many I met today. My thanks also to those at ABC who extended their kindness at every turn. New York hospitality is alive and well!
In closing tonight, I’ll give you the answer to a question that I had wondered about. Most of you know that among other things, the floors in 6B and 8H were jack hammered up and the old suspended floors replaced with new suspended floors. I wondered how, in a skyscraper in the middle of NYC, do you do that? How did they get the thousands of feet of old concrete out and the new concrete poured? The answer…with an army of men with wheelbarrows! Can you imagine the cost? I was afraid to ask!
Tomorrow I’m at The Paley Center in the morning with Ron Simon. At 1, I’m with Gady Reinhold for a three hour tour of the CBS Broadcast Center and then it’s time for ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’ at The Ed Sullivan Theater! I’m drinking from a fire hose, but loving every drop!
One last thing. My hotel is incredible. A friend recommended it and it is one of the most elegant places you have ever seen. Right behind it is The Ziegfeld Theater…home of Perry Como. A block over is Carnegie Hall. Best of all…the world famous Carnegie Deli, with NYC’s greatest corned beef sandwiches, is a half a block away! Can it get any better? Stay tuned…it’s only Wednesday!!!
Till tomorrow! Bobby Ellerbee