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Get Paid to Watch TV Shows

Updated on November 1, 2015

Qualifications and Skills You Need

The qualifications that you need for this type of work vary depending on what TV show is looking for paid seat members. The shows like to fill up the seats to make it look as if many people go in to watch the show. If there are not enough people coming in for the ordinary free seating that they have available, they may decide to get other people to fill the seats.

The regular casting agencies in Hollywood can sometimes have this type of work. That is especially true when the show really wants to fill the seats with a specific sort of people. For instance, the show can want to show some young girls sitting in the front rows. I noticed that on one of the Dick Clark shows.

The show can require that the audience members that are paid for sitting be in a certain age bracket. It can be something like a cutoff date of 45 or 55 years old. It could also just be for any ages. If they are paying for the extras they can want them to look younger to get younger people interested in the TV show. They are the ones that they feel are the main audience for the advertising.

You would most probably be told to clap by the crew people that are in charge of the audience. It is not exactly a big skill. Some people don't mind clapping. Others can see it as being a too invasive type of order. You can be told to look happy. They just want to have the audience look happy. That is written as a warning of just what could happen. There have been people that have gotten in trouble on the shows for sleeping or similar things.

You need to be pretty patient. It can take a long time to wait in the line. The TV shows can do things over and over so it can get to be boring. You can't just show you are bored when you are getting paid.

It is also better not to begin yelling you are being paid when you go in the audience to be seated. Others are not getting paid for watching it. They don't really want other people to know that you are being paid. It is a hush hush sort of thing.

TV Audience Live with Regis and Kelly

I am not sure if they use paid seat fillers. This is just as an example. Many shows do use them.
I am not sure if they use paid seat fillers. This is just as an example. Many shows do use them. | Source

Where to Register for Work

The place to register that will get you the most money is Central Casting for it. Central Casting is in Burbank. It does cost a small amount to register for it. It is the famous agency for casting film and TV extras. It also on occasion needs people to do audience sitting.

If you work for them you will work for the whole day and get paid for it. Even if you are all sent home early, you will still get paid at least for one day. If you are non-union you will get only a small hourly pay for doing it. It will be the going rate at that time. If you are a SAG member you will get paid the SAG rate.

Most SAG members will probably not want to do audience sitting. But if you need the money it is much like other work. Sometimes you cannot be that fussy.

The other agency that is supposed to have work for audience sitting is Standing Room Only. The agencies for it change a lot so I am not going to give the names of many agencies that could change over time. I have put a couple of agencies on the links. I have not used those agencies yet. I have done audience sitting before.

You can check for different agencies on the Internet looking under audience sitting. You can also look out for ads on craigslist and in ads on the work forums for extras casting in Los Angeles. Word gets around for what is available. It can also sometimes be advertised in the newspapers.

Because it is more or less kept a secret in Hollywood that they need people to fill the seats, it is not that easy to find it advertised. For being a seat filler for something like the Oscars it can be more well known.

There are other agencies that work at getting people to fill in for being a seat filler at other events such as the Oscars. Word is that it is difficult getting work on the Oscars. They use people that work there. But I have seen ads for it. For that you would need special evening clothes. You would need to send in your picture. They want someone to fill in the seats and to look as if they fit in there. Other award shows use seat fillers also. It is considered more important work than just doing audience sitting.

It is something you can earn a few extra dollars at. It is not something that most people want to make a career out of doing it.

Arriving at the Oscars


What to Wear

You can usually wear whatever you want as long as it looks nice. As usual they will probably want a more casual look but not blue jeans. They may suggest certain types of attire at the agency. It could vary by the show. You want to dress up a little so they will call you back if you want to get more work. You may be asked to wear a suit even.

If you were for instance, to be an actual extra in a movie for the Jerry Springer Show they might tell you to dress in a low class or wild way. It could be more colorful then. I was an extra for a TV show for that show. They liked what I brought for it so I was lucky. I wore a bright pink outfit. I did get breakfast that day and also saw Jerry Springer right in our lunch line.

There are different types of clothing you can wear for something like the "America's Got Talent" show. For that it may be possible to wear just about anything and jeans. There were so many people in the audience that day. That is especially if you are not going to be upfront. They may like that type of look better.

For the Oscars and other award events you would of course need to dress up more. They can be very fussy about those events.

Judge Judy TV Show

Judge Judy by Susan Roberts
Judge Judy by Susan Roberts | Source

Jerry Springer


Jerry Springer


There really are not that many perks. You get paid for watching TV is the main thing. There are a lot of complaints about it to be honest about it. You have to wait in a line to get in there usually. It goes by how many people they have.

Some of the agencies that get people for the shows can be newer and if they don't need enough people, you can just get sent home.

There is usually no coffee or food. You need to eat first. You might get lucky and they could have food at the show and pass it around but that does not happen too often.

On the Wolfgang Puck show they had audience sitters also I have heard. They would get to eat the meal also that was prepared then. That show had their own set of audience sitters. One of them just told me about it.

You get to watch the audience warm up person. They can be a bit funny sometimes. They do comic routines. One of them was a hypnotist and hypnotized a girl. She seemed to be really hypnotized. He told her that a movie star was there and she believed it. They can also pass out different things like candy, etc. to keep people occupied. But it is not a lot.

At the end of the show sometimes they pass out a gift. There was a vacuum cleaner at one of the shows for everyone. They can also do that at the beginning. You could walk in to find candy on your chair.

At Oprah's last show she is said to have given everyone in the audience $1000.00 which is really nice for the people that attended the show. I am not sure if Oprah paid any audience members since her show was pretty popular. But if she did the paid ones would most certainly have gotten something also.

Examples of Audience Sitting Work

I did audience sitting for several shows while I was in Hollywood. It is considered fill in work. It is not something that you do all the time. The extras will do the audience sitting also. It is not as good because you don't get breaks on it usually or food. Some of the regular extra work can involve pretending to be sitting in an audience.

I worked on the "Judge Judy" show in Hollywood. We were there for the whole day watching different shows. I was glad then that it was for the whole day. After the trial we would pretend to be discussing the trial with each other also. It did get to be tiring. What goes on at the show can be a bit upsetting as the judge decides on the verdict.

I was also an audience sitter for "America's Got Talent" when it went to Houston. I was surprised to see the audience sitting being one of the jobs at their state employment agency. I just signed up for it there. There were no requirements for it.

For the show "America's Got Talent" we waited in the line for a couple of hours. I thought it was a bit much. I was also not thrilled with the idea that we could not leave if we wanted to. We did get paid for it. It was an extremely noisy crowd as they had invited students to fill the seats. They were there for free I assumed. That is what they want, a lot of noise. They had some prizes also of Starbucks certificates but I knew we weren't going to get them in the balcony. It was also dangerous looking as being too high up there for me.

Audience Sitting

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    • profile image

      J Walsh 20 months ago

      Judge Judy uses Elite Audiences.

    • profile image

      Fanstar 2 years ago

      Does anyone know what casting agency judge judy uses?

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      I found this fascinating! Actually, I had no idea that people got paid to sit in an audience. I had heard about seat fillers getting paid at the oscars and so on but I was unaware of people getting paid to sit in on regular tv programs. Hey, if someone can make some money doing that then more power to them, that's awesome! Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Who knew that a lot of these popular tv shows pay their audience members to sit there and look interested? This was very interesting. Thank you for writing about this. Voted up and more, plus sharing.

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