Alfonso Ribeiro is going to make a great host for America’s Funniest Home Videos! Alfonso was tapped to be the new host this season at Tom Bergeron’s departure and Alfonso adds an added boost of energy and a fresh take on the already popular show. AFV (as it has been rebranded) is the longest running primetime show in ABC’s history and features videos of regular people and animals doing funny and sometimes painful things. The best video as voted by the in-studio audience wins a $10,000 cash prize.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to spend the day at a taping for AFV a few weeks ago and was able to see behind the scenes of how this show was produced. Some of the production aspects were fascinating to me. The audience was not allowed to have jackets with them (unless they were wearing them) or purses or other items just lying around that might be caught on camera. Between every scene people were moved around and switched seats with one another. Some were on the floor, some in the studio audience, and some waiting in the wings. I assumed that was to give each scene a fresh look, but it was interesting to watch. Tables were moved back and forth and the crew floated with lightning speed. The food in the bowls were real, the glasses were empty, and the laughter was genuine.
I got there early and was invited in to watch as they rehearsed certain scenes before letting in the rest of the studio audience. They had a great spread of food for the crew including subs, chips, drinks, fruit, cheese, candy, and donuts. They invited me to take whatever I wanted and had me sit down off stage until the audience was brought in. What I was most taken in by was the warm and welcome atmosphere of the show. Most viewers expect to see smiles and laughter and kindness ON camera, but this team showed it OFF camera as well. Everyone seemed genuine and friendly, not just to me but to one another as well. Despite the pressure of pulling off a show like this twice in one day and getting all the camera angles, video, set, and lighting right, they worked fluidly and seemingly without anxiety.
I especially enjoyed getting to watch Alfonso come into rehearsal. He came in and talked jovially to the producers, the camera people, the people setting up the stage, the interns helping out, and just joked around with them while still being professional. In an off-camera moment he sang a snippet of the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” The staff all seem to enjoy his energy and presence also. More than one person told me that Alfonso is such a high energy and upbeat person that his personality just leaks out onto the screen.
During our taping, he even took questions from the audience and this was right after it was announced he would be a guest judge on Dancing With the Stars. He shared with us his experience behind the scenes of the show and his respect for the entire team that puts it on. I got to ask him if he was going to dance during his spot on DWTS and he told us he would not, but not because he didn’t want to, but because he wanted to avoid any semblance of favoritism. He said, “I don’t want to go up and dance with Whitney and then have to judge her. If I give her a good score, whether she deserves it or not, people are going to be critical and assume I did it because we were partners.” Plus, the hectic DWTS schedule would only allow him a couple of days to learn a completely new routine. During his time on the show, he only had 2 days off in 14 weeks of competition. He would work in the studio 5 hours a day and then practice at home also. He even showed us a few of the many nuances he had to learn on the show. And of course he expressed his gratitude for Tom Bergeron and Tom’s support for him as he assumed the role of host on AFV.
One bit of trivia that Alfonso shared with us – he said he has always loved this show and hoped one day he could be a part of it. Then he mentioned that this show started before Fresh Prince of Bel Air. As iconic as Fresh Prince was for a generation, its amazing to see the staying power of AFV. If you get the chance to see a studio taping of a show, this is a great one to go and see. The set is stupendous, the people are nice, the show is funny, and Alfonso is a really genial host. Make sure to tune in when it premieres tomorrow night (10/11) on ABC!