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I was on Extra!

It was just before 10AM when I arrived at Universal Studios Hollywood. On my way from Universal’s Jurassic Park Parking Garage, I enjoyed a stroll through a sleepy CityWalk on my way to Globe Fountain. Just past the fountain, I could see the Extra barricades! I’d arrived!
A few Extra fans already stood along the barricades. I joined them.
A friendly man who worked for Extra, who I later learned was Reggie, handed one of us a prop microphone that looked just like the ones used on Extra and invited us to take turns photographing each other with the microphone. It was a fun photo op that everyone took advantage of, with the Universal Studios Globe Fountain as a backdrop. I was already glad that I’d come.
Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani

A few minutes later, we saw actress, Leah Remini, arrive for her interview, along with her Dancing with the Stars dance partner, Tony Dovolani, and Extra’s Maria Menounos. While the crew made last minute preparations and the ladies had final touches made to their hair and makeup, Tony walked over to the barricade to greet us and pose for pictures.

Finally, Maria, Leah, and Tony assembled in front of the camera near the little black tape T’s on the pavement and began their interview. We stood behind them, just steps away. Although their backs were mostly to us, it was easy to hear what they were saying. One of the things that I noticed was that the interview was much longer than the interviews seen on the air. Maria and her guests played around a little and even got silly. Since Leah was on Dancing with the Stars, Maria offered some pointers based on her own experiences, even demonstrating some dance moves with Tony. It was very cute!
More with Maria

After the interview, Maria did a quick intro where she asked one of the audience members about her favorite Julia Robert’s movie.

Then Maria bravely ascended a precarious-looking platform in her super-high heels, where she did a few more intros, joined by Extra correspondents, Jerry Penacoli (in person) and AJ Calloway (from New York City). She also "chatted with" Mario Lopez (from the hospital where his newborn son had just been born). When Maria talked to people in other locations, one of the men in the crew read what they said (in the previously recorded segment), so that she could respond.
I couldn’t help but notice two adorable little girls standing near me with their pens and autograph books at the ready. They said that they were hoping to get Maria’s autograph. Reggie noticed the girls too and let Maria know. When Maria was done with her stint on the platform, she came over to the girls and made sure that they got their autographs. The girls were thrilled!

That day, Extra was giving away Star Trek into Darkness Blu-ray/DVD combo packs and hoodies. Tickets had been handed out to some of the people in the audience earlier that day. A woman who worked for Extra said that they tried to give priority to the people, like me, who had arrived earlier in the day.

When it was time for the giveaway, Maria returned to the set. This time she wore flip-flops, but we were the only ones who saw them because her feet were completely off-camera.

Maria did a brief announcement about the giveaway. Then the movies and hoodies were passed out to the audience members with tickets. I was excited to get some Star Trek swag to take home.


Reggie told us that it was time to break for lunch, but that we could come back at 1:30PM to see Jack Black. I headed to my car to drop off my swag and to Panda Express for a quick lunch.

Jack Black

When I returned to Globe Fountain, the Extra barricade was already lined with people waiting to see Jack Black. Jack walked the line of enthusiastic fans, high-fiving them; I got one! Then he joined Maria (who was now wearing a different dress), for an interview. They chatted for awhile and Jack even gave her a quick massage, before they were joined by two of Jack’s co-stars in his new webseries, Ghost Ghirls, Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci.
After the interview, Jack and his Ghost Ghirls co-stars posed for some photos and signed autographs before they were led away.

Me on Extra!

That night, when I tuned in to Extra, sure enough, there I was, standing with Maria Menounos and (Oh my gosh!) dancing. (I’d forgotten that we shot a segment involving an Earth, Wind and Fire song.) Oh well, I might have looked ridiculous on national TV, but I had fun! And that’s what counts.

You on Extra?

If all this sounds like fun to you, you can do it too! Currently, Monday through Friday starting at 10:00am (check for the most current dates and times before you plan your visit), anyone can come to CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood and watch Mario Lopez and/or Maria Menounos interview celebrities for Extra!

I did this in September 2013.

Jen is also known as J.W. Lynne, a best selling author of eleven novels. Click on any of the titles below to see the book on Amazon!

THE UNKNOWN: Eight kids learn the shocking reason why they were kidnapped.

ABOVE THE SKY: A girl lives in a world where touching her soulmate is forbidden.

: A teen is locked in a bunker to take a simulated trip to the moon.

KID DOCS: An experimental program turns kids into doctors.

WILD ANIMAL SCHOOL: A girl falls in love with a boy at an exotic animal ranch.

WHAT HE DIDN'T TELL ME: A traumatized girl meets a boy with a horrible secret.

IF I TELL: A teen wonders if her father is a serial killer.

Besides reading books and dreaming up stories to write, Jen's favorite activities are singing along to musical theater soundtracks and hiking in California's beautiful parks.

**Jen's books are available on Kindle Unlimited.**

You might also enjoy:

Jen's reviews of TV show tapings and filmings:
The Big Bang Theory (2013-2014 Season)
The Big Bang Theory (2011-2012 Season)
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Riff-Raff Room)
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (studio audience)
Two and a Half Men
American Idol

Jen's list of bucket-list-worthy things to do in Los Angeles