First TakeStudio Shows

First Take stunt fools fans again

For April Fools’ Day last year, the crew at First Take pulled a fast one on fans by staging an audition to debate one of the guys on the show; then Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith joined them on the set. The shocked reactions were classic and you can see it here if you missed it.

Everyone had such a blast with the prank that they decided to trick fans again by photobombing them during a similar stunt in New York City (video above, behind the scene photos below).

Front Row caught up with coordinating producer Whit Albohm to chat about the prank and why the First Take crew loves interacting with fans:

How did you come up with this idea?
When First Take goes on the road, we love watching the fans interact with Skip, Stephen A. and [host] Cari Champion. After the shows end, the fans have a seemingly endless amount of questions for the three of them. And of course, each fan wants to debate Skip or Stephen on the news of the day. Last year, Vice President, Original Programming Jamie Horowitz and senior coordinating producer Kevin Wildes led the production of an April Fools’ Day piece that would reflect what we see at these road shows – that the fans who like First Take have an intense love for the show. Fans loved the piece and we wanted to do it again this year.

How long does it take to pull off a stunt like this?
We played around with a variety of ideas for months. In the last couple of weeks, as we flushed out the creative, we watched videos of successful photobombs done by Jimmy Fallon with Jon Hamm and one by Shaquille O’Neal. We storyboarded the bit, created a Twitter campaign to bring fans to our fake set, and then shot and edited the piece in the last week. The hardest part of these initiatives is coming up with the winning idea. That takes a whiteboard, pizza and a lot of arguing amongst the team.

When First Take is on the road, like at the Super Bowl earlier this year, the fans turn out in droves and bring a lot of energy to the show. Is your plan to go on the road more in the future?
We are always very happy to be on the road with the show. The consistent thing we hear is how much the fans want to meet our trio. Like the past two years, we will be on the road for the NBA Finals, doing live shows in each city throughout the series.

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