Help me get tickets for Oprah
February 18, 2009 10:44 AM   Subscribe

How difficult is it to get tickets for Oprah?

I'm going to be in Chicago for a week in April to visit a friend, and I thought it would be fun to go to a taping of the Oprah show. I've been reading all the info on the website, and apparently the only way to get tickets is to call and speak to an audience department employee". Has anyone gotten tickets before, that can give me some advice? The hard part here is that they mostly assure you that you're going to get a LOT of busy signals before getting through....and after that, what? What info will I have to have on hand to give to them? I'm mexican, and will be calling long distance from Mexico. [Or, could I have my friend (in Chicago) try to call and get me the tickets? She wouldn't be going with me, my husband will.]

Any advice or personal experience would be welcome.
posted by CrazyLemonade to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It looks like it's similar to Conan, where they open the reservation phone lines for a particular block of dates. On that site you linked, it says "The reservation line will open with March dates on Friday, February 13. The phone number is 312-591-9222 and it will be open from 10:00am - 4:00pm CT."

So it seems you should be checking that site regularly until it says when they will be booking the shows during the time when you'll be in Chicago. When they're booking for your dates, call call call.

I got tickets to Conan, but had to call pretty much every day for a few months to find out when I could even book, due to the writers strike. I'd expect demand for Oprah to be much, much higher.

One option is to pay for a month's worth of Skype Out, so that you can dial from your computer in Mexico to a US line for a few USD.
posted by nitsuj at 10:48 AM on February 18, 2009

I’ll share my story about getting a ticket to see Oprah, although it might not help because I ended up getting the tickets through the concierge at the hotel I was staying in. This was in early 2005. I was traveling to Chicago with my father who works for the ADA. Because of the nature of the trip, we were put up in the Ritz-Carlton located in downtown Chicago. While my dad was in meetings during the day, I was planning to walk around the town but my dad said he had “heard” that the concierge at the hotel could sometimes get Oprah tickets. When we checked in, I asked the concierge if this was possible. She was kind about it but laughed that it would be really hard on such short notice and to not hold my breath (we were only in town for a couple of days and Oprah didn’t tape on Fridays). After checking in, we went out to dinner and came back to the hotel to find tickets waiting for us under the door! In fact, after talking to the concierge she said she had been trying to get a hold of us all though out dinner because the tickets to the Oprah show all came with tickets to a movie screening for that night. It turns out the guest was Debra Messing and she was on to promote her new movie. The Oprah taping I saw was actually a double—the Debra Messing part was for a clip going into a later show and we also saw a full show about fitness and weight-loss. I did come out with a lot of gifts though! The fitness show gave away tons of workout equipment, clothes, gift certificates, etc. But the real prize was Tivos for everyone in the audience! This was all because Debra Messing joked at some point that not enough people were tivo-ing Oprah and then tried to get Oprah to give us all Tivos. At a break in the show, we were all asked to fill out a comment card and include our address. Later in the show Oprah informed us that because of Debra, we’d all be getting Tivos in the mail and about a month later, I did.

So, in a pitch, you might be able to see if your concierge can find tickets for you. If you do get tickets, make sure to get to the taping early and dress very warmly. You will definitely arrive before the doors open and stand in line outside in the freezing cold Chicago weather. It is a covered line but you are still outside. There is also a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. Kind of like Disney rides, we were all corralled into one room, told some information or filled out some paper, then corralled into the next, etc. We did get fed a pretty nice breakfast though (granola, fruit, bagels, coffee, etc) but it is a long morning so you still may want to bring snacks with you. Also, don’t go in with the assumption that you’ll talk to Oprah. A lot of people in the audience were hoping they would pose with a her for a picture or say hi to a friend of theirs having a birthday or something like that. Oprah was nice but only there to do her job, the show, and otherwise didn’t ever look at the audience between taping segments.
posted by ejazen at 12:49 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

stand in line outside in the freezing cold Chicago weather (...) it is a long morning so you still may want to bring snacks with you

thought this was worth pointing out once more. I used to live pretty much smack opposite to the studio and I'd always see freezing ladies in their finest outfits (there is something with suburban moms and shiny shirts) waiting for hours to finally get inside. that cannot have been more fun in the summer either, which gets hot and humid. the sidewalk has massive security cameras installed but it's still not the nicest area, too. I'd highly recommend you stop by the subway opposite the studio or the starbucks a few blocks over near ogilvy station before you get in line.
posted by krautland at 4:30 PM on February 18, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers so far. I won't be staying in a hotel, but in my friend's apartment, so the concierge suggestion doesn't really apply here. If I do get tickets, I'll make sure and dress warmly.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 5:48 PM on February 18, 2009

Regarding bringing snacks - this past summer I went to see a different talk show in Chicago at the NBC studios, and they were enforcing the ban on bottled water & drinks like the airlines. Once inside there were vending machines, though. Also, any spray bottles (perfume, breath spray, eyeglass cleaner, etc) had to be checked at the door and picked up on exit. It was a nice day in August so waiting outside wasn't too bad. Even though they probably have a dress code, like the show I went to, I'd suggest really comfortable shoes. No one really sees them anyways. You're going to be standing for a while. (I had brought dress shoes to change into and checked my sneakers at the door, but I stood more after that and regretted the dress shoes.) Also, get there early - we were an hour and a half early and the line was already getting long. Getting in faster means you get seated sooner and can rest and snack.

About that warm clothing - Chicago is the WINDY city... wear something the wind doesn't cut through as easily, like a windbreaker.

Sorry I can't help you with ticket advice... the show I went to was fairly new and it was very easy to get tickets... in fact they've called us since then to invite us back.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:04 PM on February 18, 2009

« Older Best way to study Mandarin at home?   |   Pushing audio from PC to Xbox 360 Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.