Ever since my high school days (and actually maybe even before that), I've always loved watching Dr. Phil. I think I've watched every episode at this point! When I saw this year that the Dr. Phil audience was going virtual I knew I had to apply to be on it!
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My Experience in the Dr. Phil Virtual Audience
I filled out the virtual audience form on the Dr. Phil site and was so excited to hear back within a few days! The show's producer reached out with more details on what was required, and then included 6 different show dates and 10 test dates to test out my internet connection. I emailed back my top picks for dates and heard back again pretty quickly on my scheduled test date and documents about being in the audience!
A few weeks later I had my test date! The producer e-mailed and sent a test link the night before for me to do my trial run where they'd check my background, lighting, microphone and internet connection. The trial run lasted about 5 minutes and after a few adjustments with my sound I was ready for taping the next day.
They told me on taping day I'd receive an e-mail a few minutes before the scheduled start time (9am PST), but I ended up getting my link about 20 minutes after the start time. I was so nervous at first that I'd be late but it ended up working out because when I logged on they were still setting up and playing promotional videos. The actual taping began after 10am and began with some of the Dr. Phil crew warming up the audience by asking us questions, getting us excited and telling us what to expect for the day.
Filming the Episodes
After a little warm up it was time to start taping the first episode. Robin came out first and we clapped for her and then it was like the start of a regular Dr. Phil episode you see on TV - they played the intro, Dr. Phil came out and jumped right into the episode. It was really impressive how prepared Dr. Phil was and how most of the episode was done in one take!
After we taped an episode, Dr. Phil talked with the audience and shared with us his thoughts on the episode and what he would do next if he was the couple on the show. After the debriefing, we took a quick break and then got back to filming so promos for the episode and a promo for an upcoming Dr. Phil show.
We then took a break for about 45 minutes before taping the next episode. This was perfect timing because by this point I was starving! I had prepped a sandwich and this ended up being really convenient because I had no idea how much time we'd have before we had to film again.
After the break we filmed the second episode of the day and it was very similar format as the first. We did a little ice breaker (I think there were a few new people joining the audience), warm up and then Dr. Phil came out to shoot the episode. This episode seemed to go a little quicker and after a few promo shoots, we ended for the day.
The End of Virtual Audiences
It's been a few years since Dr. Phil launched the virtual audience, and sadly this upcoming season 21 (2022-2023) will be an in-person studio audience only. I'm bummed because I think the studio audience was a really cool and unique way for all fans to be able to take part of the filming experience and not have to spend a ton of money on travel to be on the show. Hopefully, in the future they'll reconsider, but for. now it's only a studio option if you want to participate.
If you do want to be on the show as a studio audience member, there are a few things to consider. Episodes film at the Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA and you need to arrive by 7-7:15 and proof of vaccination is required to enter the studio. Shows are filmed on Mondys, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays and 2 shows are filmed in a day.
Filming takes place from 7am to about 1:30 PM, with a break in between filming each episode. A light snack and beverage is provided. Groups up to 4 are able to attend together and audience members need to be over the age of 16 to attend.
Overall my experience in the Dr. Phil virtual audience was positive and I would definitely do it again! It was a long day, but it was really fun to see the behind the scenes workings of a TV show. It was also really impressive to see how natural Dr. Phil was - he barely made any mistakes and pretty much the entire episode was shot in one take.
If you're a Dr. Phil fan, I highly recommend experiencing the Dr. Phil virtual audience!
Virtual Audience Tips and Recommendations
- Have snacks and water available for breaks - there's no guarantee how long breaks will be or when they'll happen. Before the taping I prepared a sandwich and had granola bars so it was easy to grab.
- Sit in a comfortable position - Taping can be long so you'll want to make sure you have a comfortable chair or position you're in.
- Take Bathroom Breaks When You Can - there's no guarentee when the next break will be (or for how long) so take bathroom breaks when you can!
- Wear comfortable clothing - I wore a dressy top and yoga pants and it worked out great.
- Have chargers nearby - Make sure you have your laptop, headphones, and any other chargers you'll need nearby just in case.
- Plan to Take a Day off Work - Filming the episodes is a full day and there's no timeline given so it's easiest to plan to take a whole day off for taping (it's worth it!)
Fall 2021 Update
Dr. Phil has begun taping again! While there are still calls for virtual audience members, some of the shows have begun to announce a return to the in-studio audiences. It's not clear yet if the in-studio audience will completely replace the virtual audience, or if they'll do a hybrid of virtual and in person.
I'm really hoping they continue with the virtual audience in some form. I love that it allows everyone to participate in the show, and not just those that can travel to California.
I'll update this section once I know more!
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Get Dr. Phil Virtual Audience Tickets
You can apply to be in the Dr. Phil Virtual Audience by filling out this form.
What Do You Need to Be in the Audience?
To be in the virtual audience all you need is:
- A computer and power source - the taping takes about 6 hours (8:30am ish - 2PM-ish PST) so you'll need to make sure you have power to stay connected the entire time.
- Chrome browser (to run the software they use)
- Headphones and microphone - you'll need this even if you're in a super quiet room. I used my Airpods during taping and it worked great!
- Reliable internet connection
- Solid background and good lighting - this is extremely important!
- Be 18 years and older
They also said that you could only have 1 person on screen, but if you wanted to do a taping with a friend you could let them know and they could coordinate.
What to Wear on Dr. Phil
While there's no official dress code on the virtual tapings, I would recommend wearing something business casual and a solid top without any logos, similar to the in studio audience dress code.
When are Episodes Taped?
At the time of my viewing the dates for the shows I could choose from were Monday - Wednesdays, and the internet connection test dates were on Monday and Thursdays.
Will I Be on TV?
Possibly! Everyone in the virtual audience gets their own square and throughout the episode the squares change placement. I got lucky and ended up on TV on both of my episodes!
When Will My Episode Air?
There's no guarantee when the episodes will air. We filmed my 2 episodes in late October and the first one aired at the end of November, and the second one didn't air until January.