Despite now living in three separate states, Natalie Wagner, Andrea Abbott and Alex McIntire, all Ball State alumnae, try to see each other once-a-year.
This year, McIntire thought the three former college roommates and telecommunication majors could do something different. McIntire knew a high school friend of hers was an NBC employee, so she asked if she could get a tour.
While McIntire's friend was not in town at the same time as the roommates, another show employee offered her services.
“I actually watch the Today Show when I get ready in the morning, so it was really kind of surreal to be backstage,” McIntire said. "That was really cool cause I was like following in the footsteps of the anchors and reporters and all of the other talent that’s ever come to the Today Show.”
The three saw and took pictures in the main studio on the first floor and where cooking segments are filmed among other studio locations.
The three watched Topher Grace, an actor popularized from "That 70's Show" get interviewed, as well as Ellie Kemper and Titus Burgess, stars of Netflix’s "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."
“We’re very much obsessed with the show, so when we were there, we saw Ellie Kemper walk by and we’re like ‘I wonder if we’re gonna go over there…’ and I’m like ‘no, we’re probably just gonna go upstairs or something like that,’” Abbott said. “But no, we went right on set when they were recording live.”
Abbott said she was surprised at the size of the one room that houses four different sets for the show. During the interview, they stood behind the camera and watched.
“When they show the clips of the show for promotion [on TV before the interview], you don’t really know what the anchors are doing cause they’re not on screen, but they’re joking around with Topher Grace," McIntire said. "It was cool to see the behind-the- scenes."
Wagner said they weren’t expecting to watch the interviews behind-the-scenes, but before they knew it, they were standing behind the camera during a live show at the 9 o'clock hour.
“We weren’t sure what we would see, what they would let us see. They took us backstage through where their green room is, their makeup room … we saw their main set and their two side sets,” Wagner said. “It was awesome to see it all happen while they were live during the show. You’re just seeing all the camera operators and the floor directors and for me, that’s really interesting because that’s kind of in my niche area.”
The three didn’t meet any of the celebrities or Today show personalities, but they were allowed to take photos on the set after the show was over.
“It was really kind of surreal standing on the set cause we were in all the areas where they put the anchors, but it’s all in one room. It looks like different rooms, but it’s all in the same area,” Wagner said. “You’re like I’m standing where Al Roker stands … taking it all in was a lot and afterward we were like ’wow, that was really cool, did that just happen?’”