Seeing Stars: Visting Kristen Johnston's new show on TV Land

I love going to sitcom tapings even though it can be time-consuming. It's a very fun way to see actors, writers and directors work, upclose and personal.

I try to catch at least one show per month and this month it was "The Exes," the new TV Land comedy starring Kristen Johnston, formerly of "3rd Rock From the Sun."

Going to tapings at CBS Radford is a very pleasant experience. Parking is free. The CBS Pages are professional, nice and friendly. The studio is comfortable but chilly, so I bring a jacket. The warm up guy isn't annoying and they feed you a snack after 3 hours. Not all shows do that. Some don't even let you bring water and there's nothing to drink, which does not work for me. At CBS Radford tapings, there are prize giveaways too. This time there were tickets to the Laugh Factory, t-shirts, an iPod and a few signed scripts of the specific episode, which was what I really wanted.

The cast definitely interacts with the audience between takes and sometimes in the middle of a take, if they make a funny mistake. It's important to keep the audience cracking up and laughing loudly to keep the show live, fresh and bring out the actor's comedic timing. Johnston dropped the "F" bomb a couple of times and had us all hysterically laughing.  In this case maintaining energy even on the third take of the same scene was easy because the show is very funny.

The taping I saw will be the third episode of the show that airs on TV Land in the fall and was called "An Inconvenient Tooth."

I want to write a spec script for the show so I can try to get my foot in the door as a television writer. I was thinking about that as I drove to the studio with my dog walker, Julie and her beautiful actress daughter Nicole, who won at "Let's Make A Deal," which I wrote about in another blog.

I knew winning that script would mean getting over any lingering stage fright because on previous shows, the warm up guy, Allan Murray, loves to get his victims dancing, answering questions or other goofy things to win a prize.  I decided that Nicole, an actress and dancer should do all the embarrassing stuff and win me the script. She agreed.

The first time Allan asked for dancers, I loudly volunteered Nicole to go up and do her thing and of course she had the crowd going, but after several times up in front of the crowd, she still hadn't won the script.

I decided I had to go for it myself and the funny thing was, I did actually win the script. I got caught up in the moment, danced my booty off, talked to Alan about the interesting coincidence that Nicole saw a teacher in the audience that taught at her school, Kehrs Mill Elementary in Chesterfield MO., and she turned out to be the actress, Kelly Stables', mother! This entertained the audience with my brash, silly side and I had absolutely no stage fright. I wish I could control that.

I finally blantently told Alan I really wanted the script and he gave it to me saying, "Okay, okay, okay, Cassandra!" The squeaky wheel get's the grease?

Cassandra M. Bellantoni is a Los Angeles freelance reporter, producer, video editor and featured front-page blogger on Huffington Post. She is also a former chef, restaurant owner and breast cancer survivor. Follow her on Twitter @StarShineSpeaks or email

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