How to Be Paid Audience Members on TV Shows [Updated 2024]

Want to Start Working as Paid Audience Members?

Are you looking for paid audience work in Los Angeles, Atlanta or New York? Sitting in a chair and clapping on cue might be a way to make some cash. It sounds easy (and it is when the show is moving) but you aren’t technically just sitting in a chair to get paid. You are part of the background and your energy helps the show make the viewers at home excited.

Does this sound like a job for you? If so, read on!

What Do Studio Audience Members Do?

Paid Audience Members applause

To be absolutely clear, studio audiences make up the background of any show. It could be a talk show, a game show, sitcoms or even a live event. The faces in the background where the camera pans in and out of commercials is your part as a paid audience member. This interesting gig means you never know when you will be on TV, but you need to be in the moment, absorbing the performance.

Every audience member is expected to clap on cue, laugh on cue and respond to funny moments when needed. If there is a standing ovation then an audience member gets up and cheers on that moment too.

Living in the moment, the people behind the camera with the privilege of watching the show are responding in real time. It’s all to easy to suggest it’s like watching at home, but it’s not. You don’t get to be in your pajamas and you will be engaged to the fullest extent. Or you’ll be sent home

Why do TV shows pay the Studio Audience?

If you think you could be a full time television show watcher as a paid audience, you are probably right. TV programs need people to fill the seats for a live performance. Even after the virus tampers down, later in 2024, you will see live shows or shows taped before a live studio audience paying to join the audience.

If you’ve ever been in front of a crowd, you know the type of energy a live fan base can bring. It’s true with people performing too. They get the chance to engulf themselves in immediate responses as they speak their lines on sitcoms, finish a live musical performance or offer up prizes on game shows.

It helps the entertainment shows too. They can capture sound for the show and it’s a natural environment so it’s not fake pre-taped noise or video as home viewers know the phony moments when they see them.

How Much do I get Paid as an Audience Member?

Ah, you want to know about the cash. Fair enough. Used to be paid audience members were given cash, but the casting company rules have changed. So you will be paid audience members on the clock and typically by the hour.

Paid Audience Work

Depending on the company, it could be minimum wage OR it could be more. There are some interesting caveats to know about payment and you should definitely ask before committing.

Some shows offer a minimum daily hours of work. This means you plan for 5 hours, but done in 3 and you get paid audience members for 5 hours.

Other audience member companies make you wait at the gate to start your time clock (and will turn you away if you fail the dress code) so you only get paid the times standing on the studio property.

Other productions will offer an hour away for lunch or breaks off a lot to avoid lunch penalties or issues with paying too much. And then there are those who offer up one gift card drawing for a 100-person audience (so not worth it.)

Related Article: 20 Pieces of Acting Advice for People Moving to Los Angeles

So how do you know what you will get paid? It depends on the casting company, productions of the show and even the casting director, but one thing is for sure if they don’t tell you what is up, don’t go. There are too many GOOD places to be paid as an audience member. You don’t need to be hanging out there for days and then be told they don’t remember you.

Can anyone become an audience member?

Yes, you can be an audience member, if you are 18, follow the rules and want to watch entertainment. There are cool taping jobs plus you get money to boot! TV shows, live award shows, game shows and even sitcoms love audiences. Don’t think for a minute you can fake watching TV shows you don’t like. Frankly, you need to be practicing your acting skills for the entire allotted time if the show isn’t your cup of tea. This is something you need to do if you want to be an extra or learn more about the entertainment business. It’s also a great way to get your foot in the door when it comes to acting on a budget. The chance to see how it all works is a priceless opportunity for an actor.

This is why you need to consider which shows work within your interests and don’t attend the rest.


If you hate a show (or even mildly dislike) you will tune out, miss cues for the audience and well, yawn. It’s akin to drying paint, except it’s in the moment. So instead of a paid audience punishment, don’t go and be miserable. Yes, I am suggesting you stay home. There are plenty of other shows that you can be excited about. And the production will thank you for staying at home as well. They need an enthusiastic audience and know it’s OK that not every show fits your personality.

Paid audience members on TV Shows
Audience Member Manners: Why Some People Get Kicked Out

Almost every time I go to see a TV show or audience member event I see people getting kicked out. Which is so bizarre to me. Taking the time to show up (which does take effort) finding a place to park on site and then they get rude to lose their spot. So why did they show up in the first place?

When you arrive remember there are rules and manners to be in place. Make sure you have the dress code correctly down. That is one rule that won’t be bendable. Also don’t get in the faces of the employees directing the audiences. I’ve seen people explode at the audience staff and frankly, beyond being rude, it’s going to get you kicked out. So is swearing. I’d reframe from bringing your sailor language with you.

The cell phone can get you kicked out. Check the messages during a broadcast and you’re going to be lectured. Do it twice, expect to see the curb. Most shows are so strict, you have to leave the cell with the security office. It makes sense, studios are preventing bootleg copies.

Leave your bags at home too. It’s amazing how many people bring shopping bags full of stuff to a studio. You aren’t allowed to eat, drink or smoke AND you can’t read so leave the stuff at home.

If you’re dressed right, smell good and ready to work, then clap and be involved. The other reason so many people get kicked out is they won’t clap, they yawn over and over, they talk over the performance AND they won’t watch the show. It’s crazy to think you get paid for a taping while other audience ticket holders are watching for free and you can’t at least PRETEND to be part of the audience because it’s beneath you. Yeah, this does tick me off…

A clear sign you are not in the right place is you’re yawning, talking to your neighbor, refusing to clap or staring at your feet dreaming of getting the heck out of there. That means you aren’t a good fit.

Where Can I Find Paid Audience Member Gigs?

If you are hoping to make money from attending a TV show on location, you can find work. While it’s not suggested to do this full time, if you want to be a traditional actor, but part time to make extra money is fun to be part of paid audience members. And it’s cheaper than going out as they pay you instead of you paying a cover fee.

So where do you look for audience member opportunities or paid audience member gigs. Well, I encourage you to start by checking out all the casting sites. Casting Frontier, LA Casting, Casting Connections and any Casting Network is where you should look first. Also check to see if there are any opportunities with your acting agent. Sometimes as a last minute hail Mary, production calls in favorites with agents and ask them to send over a few professional actors. Let your agent know you’d be happy to go.

Of course you can always register with Standing Room Only or Onset productions for opportunities. Those aren’t the only casting agencies for audience members but the most widely known in the metropolitan areas.

Paid Audience Work Los Angeles

If you are looking for paid work in Los Angeles, start by checking out by researching the shows taping, do some investigative work on where they are taped and who is staffing the audience work. Pick up the phone and call to ask if the show has paid audience members (and who to talk with about it.) You might find the typical SRO (Standing Room Only) or Onset Productions being part of the gig, but don’t be surprised if other opportunities present themselves. Many times it’s that small extra effort of searching or reaching out to others in the entertainment business that get your paid seat.

Paid Audience Work New York

There are a number of productions in New York City and the Tristate area looking for paid audience members. The best way to find them is to be part of the community! You’re competing for a smaller number of shows with more interest than Los Angeles, so be swift and tactical.

Paid Audience Work Atlanta

One of the newest meccas of paid audience work is in Atlanta, Georgia. Oddly, compared to other metro areas, the tight community of workers has a very organized and central focus for their job posting system. I say it’s odd because it’s so awesome and makes LA or NYC look disorganized. If you are in Atlanta, check the studios and watch the online message boards. There is plenty of work for everyone in the area.

In Conclusion

Being prat of paid audience members is a great job and can be an awesome way to view behind the scenes. It’s hard to believe so many people are getting paid to watch live television in 2024. It can be your job too. Start looking for your opportunity and see what seat you can fill this year! Good Luck!!!

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