Behind the scenes at the ‘Antiques Roadshow’

Behind the scenes at the ‘Antiques Roadshow’

0 Comments 📅July 19th, 2013, 13:41

Almost 5,000 people from East Tennessee and beyond came through the Knoxville Convention Center for the filming of Knoxville’s debut on Antiques Roadshow, PBS’ No. 1-rated ongoing series. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., we had a steady stream of guests hoping to discover the history behind a family heirloom or the value of an antique-shop find.

Volunteer Frances Oldham and East Tennessee PBS Director of Programming Russ Manning.

Volunteer Frances Oldham and East Tennessee PBS Director of Programming Russ Manning.

The Convention Center staff worked with Antiques Roadshow’s crew and more than 120 volunteers from East Tennessee PBS to ensure traffic continued smoothly throughout the process. After 17 seasons, Antiques Roadshow is a well-choreographed ballet from the minute guests walk in the door to the taped appraisals for national television. A lot goes on behind the cameras that is never seen on TV.

For those curious about the Antiques Roadshow process, here’s a behind-the-scenes look:

1. Reception area – As guests arrived with their precious objects, they were directed into a reception area. Ticket holders were assigned arrival times in one-hour intervals and waited for their time slot to be called.

2. Triage – In the space right before the production area begins, generalist appraisers sorted antiques into categories. Guests were given a color-coded ticket corresponding to their type of item. Categories ranged from toys, firearms, paintings, furniture, musical instruments, glassware, sports memorabilia and more. Paintings and firearms were two of the most popular categories in Knoxville. Ticket holders had to transport all their items themselves. For liability reasons, no volunteer or staff could assist with any of the antiques.

3. Appraisal – Next, guests were ushered into a large room. Lining the sides of the room were tables with about 70 antiques experts. Signs on the walls clearly marked the experts specializing in each category of antiques. Appraisers gave owners the basic history and value of their antique. According to the Roadshow, the vast majority of owners have no intention to sell their treasure. Most of them just want to satisfy their curiosity about the item that’s been handed down for generations or sitting under the bed.

AppraisalIf an item was deemed especially interesting by one of the appraisers, no further information about the history or value of the item was given to the owner in this area. The expert immediately took that item and privately pitched the story to three of the Antiques Roadshow producers, who serve as the “pickers” to decide what items would appear on the show. If an item gets chosen for taping, it can either be as a formal appraisal, an over-the-shoulder piece, or a web-only appraisal. Unfortunately, not every appraisal recorded will make it to the final episodes.

4. Green room – From that moment on, guests chosen to be taped have no more discussion with the appraisers until they appear together on camera. The owners of the selected items are isolated in the “green room” until the on-camera appraisals.

5. Filming – Guests to be taped are shown to the main set in the center of the appraisal room to meet with an appraisal expert and shoot the approximately three-minute formal appraisal segments. Another station is set up to film web-only content. The over-the-shoulder appraisals are taped informally with a handheld camera.

At this time, the appraiser tells the owner the story about their object and gives them the details about its historical significance. Some items that appear on the show aren’t worth much money, but have a great story; other items can be worth thousands of dollars. One item discovered at the Convention Center was worth $60-80,000 at auction! My favorite find of the day were boxing boots that belonged to Muhammad Ali. The footwear was given to the owner by Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee and was worth $20,000 at auction.

Antiques Roadshow appraiser Gran Zahajko and Jay from Tellico Village.

Antiques Roadshow appraiser Gran Zahajko and Jay from Tellico Village.

In total, the 70 or so Roadshow appraisers saw around 10-12,000 items on Saturday. It would be impossible to fit all of the amazing things I saw this weekend into just three episodes, but I know the millions of viewers who watch the Knoxville episodes will see some amazing treasures!

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