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California Trip 2013: Day 4 Burbank: Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Conan O’Brien show taping

Warner Brothers Studios
Warner Brothers Studios

The next morning Meg and I headed to Burbank to take a tour of the Warner Brothers Studios. This was my first studio tour and I guess I had expected big things… like maybe we would be graced with Ellen riding by on her bike (because apparently she does that).

Warner Brothers Studios
Warner Brothers Studios

We met up at the tour office, got signed in and after a quick introductory film we were divided up into groups. Once outside we found an industrial strength golf cart for each group waiting to whisk us away to the “streets” of Chicago.

As we walked around the sets we were informed of the current TV shows filming, such as Showtime’s Shameless, a show that I am a fan of so it was fun to see some of the sets.

A set from Shameless.  This was the episode where it was Fiona's big debut as a club promoter
A set from Shameless. This was the episode where it was Fiona’s big debut as a club promoter

Once I got home I paid close attention to the next few Shameless episodes and recognized a few of the sets I had seen on the tour. It was pretty interesting to see what they looked like in real life and compared it to what it looks like on TV. I will say there is a lot of magic that fools the eye on those sets. Styrofoam walls to create realistic looking brick buildings, faux facades, even a train track to no where – but with a little computer generation and Hollywood sparkle you would never know that you were looking at something fake.

Fake walls, fake windows... fake everything!
Fake walls, fake windows… fake everything!

After we completed our tour around the fake buildings we were taken to the sound stages. Rows and rows of them lined the mini streets inside the studio lots. We were allowed to enter into one of the stages and viewed a live set. Although we stood in what looked like a bar, above our heads were all sorts of wires and lights that help create the shows we watch. Since this was a current set we were not allowed to take photographs of it.

Our next stop was to the prop house. Our tour leader made us wait for an undisclosed reason but he seemed pretty excited for us to see what was behind the door. After the tour ahead of us filed out of the room we entered into the room that would be familiar to anyone who watched the Thursday night line up on NBC during the late 1990’s.

Central Perk from the TV show Friends
Central Perk from the TV show Friends

Here we stood inside Central Perk, the famous coffee shop that everyone fell in love with the 6 Friends sitting around chatting about their lives. The furniture was much smaller than I thought it would be.  Perhaps that is how they fit it inside the TV???

After we all got our fill of Central Perk we moved on to the rest of the prop house where we saw props from famous movies, like Inception and Sex and the City 2.

Lanterns used in the movie Inception
Lanterns used in the movie Inception

There were a few props from the current TV show Two Broke Girls as well. The prop house was full of treasures and I could have played in there all day, checking out all the different pieces of furniture. The prop house has a catalog system that allows you to know where each prop has been used, to prevent duplication among all the shows that use them.

Prop slated for use by the TV shoe Two Broke Girls
Prop slated for use by the TV show Two Broke Girls

If you would like to go on a studio tour of Warner Brothers you can find the information here. Note there are many studios to choose from in the LA area – we went with Warner because Conan O’Brien tapped there and we were going to his show later that day. I recommend getting tickets online so you can ensure you have a spot on the tour as they can fill up fast. Tickets are a little pricey at $52 USD per person (be sure to check online for coupons for the tour – they are usually easy to find). The tour lasts 2.5 hours and parking will cost you $7 USD. The studio is located at 3400 W. Riverside Drive Burbank, CA. 91505

Up next was a tapping of the Conan O’Brien show. After a slightly long wait we were led into Conan’s studio. Meg and I had gone to a taping of Chelsea Lately the year prior and although it was fun we got separated while we were seated as we were one of the last few people let in for the day. We also found the guy who ensured we laughed at the right time slightly distracting, so much so that I found myself more focused on him than Chelsea.

This time at Conan we knew what to expect and I found the experience much more enjoyable. Conan also seemed to be more personable, I saw him joking around backstage with some of the staff, and then chasing one of them around… this was something I am sure you would not see Chelsea do, maybe because she wears 8″ heels??? Conan was all about waving to the fans, making sure they knew he saw them, chatting with the guests during the commercial breaks and looking like he was having a good time. After we enjoyed Conan we traveled back to Meg’s apartment and I packed up for my morning departure back to 18F degree weather.

If you would like to see a taping of the Conan O’Brien show you can find out how to get tickets here. They are free however it stressed me out a bit not knowing if we got the tickets or not. You submit your ticket request and then someone from the studio calls you to confirm… it’s when they call you that is stressful. Because I thought for sure we had not gotten tickets since we had not heard for a long time (like weeks) I ordered tickets for Jimmie Kimmel Live so that we could see at least one show taping while in LA (much less stressful – we found out that day that we had tickets). And of course because I had gotten tickets to another show Conan’s studio called me and confirmed my tickets about two days later – AHHHHHHHHHH! I cancelled our Jimmie tickets (sorry Jimmie) and we went to Conan. Just like the studio tours, there are lots of live show tapings. Tickets for the most part should be free.

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4 replies on “California Trip 2013: Day 4 Burbank: Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Conan O’Brien show taping”

Hey! I realize this was forever ago but I am currently planning the same itinerary for my trip in August and was wondering if you could share the logistical part of getting from the tour to the show taping? Did you remain parked in the same spot? What time did you book the tour for so you could could get to picking up the tickets in time? Any information at all would be very helpful. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Hi Tamar. Sorry I don’t remember exactly 🙁 I do remember we did the tour in the morning and had enough time to grab lunch before the show taping. I’m thinking we did a 9 or 10 am lot tour. Then we showed up to line up for Conan about 1 to 2pm. The show starts at 4. It’s a lot of waiting around but you want to make sure you don’t miss it. I think there was also something to do with what time you arrived would position you in line to get in as well. The studio and show taping are on the same lot but we drove from the parking lot for the studio tour to the Conan taping parking lot. It’s a huge lot and walking would take some time. Have a great time. My friend and I enjoyed both the tour and the taping!

Thank you so much! I think I figured out a plan that works, can’t wait! It’s been a pleasure reading about your trip and it’s definitely given me a lot of inspiration and ideas!

thank you! The show tapings are a lot of fun. I always record them at home so I can watch them when I come back… it’s interesting to compare the live show to what you see on TV.

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