On Tuesday night, the cast and crew of The Conners filmed two separate live episodes for both the East and West coast. And, during both broadcasts of the episode titled “Live From Landford,” they were able to include real news footage and real-time results from the New Hampshire primary.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, they filmed the first live show at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time for the East Coast feed, and they used three set pieces – the Conners’ living room, their kitchen, and the Mexican restaurant Casa Bonita.
There were 14 cameras and 12 camera operators, along with producers who were keeping tabs on the primary results and adding them to the teleprompter for the actors. There was also a TV sitting in the Conners’ living room that was streaming a live feed from ABC News, as Mark (Ames McNamara) watched the results for a school project.
During commercial breaks, McNamara was briefed by producers on the political commentary he needed to add to the script, which included a comment about Andrew Yang suspending his campaign and Bernie Sanders being in the lead.
The lines were also added to the teleprompter which was sitting next to the TV, but couldn’t be seen by the television audience. Along with McNamara, stars Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, and Emma Kenney had their own up-to-date political lines to add to the conversation.
After the first run, Gilbert and her onscreen brother Michael Fishman enjoyed a high-five, while McNamara ran around the set hugging crew members and pumping his fists. Then, they released the audience during the two-hour break between the first and second taping, and a second audience came in.
The West Coast version of the live episode had a short delay because of an ABC News update about the New Hampshire primary. The cast and crew didn’t find out about the news break until the ten-second countdown to go live. Luckily, it was just a small hiccup, and they were ready to go when they were counted down a second time just two minutes later.
The second episode aired after Sanders was declared the winner, so they were able to add new jokes that weren’t part of the first live feed.
“Bernie won, but it could be Russian hacking because Putin is in second,” was one joke that was added. There were also punchlines about a possible Amy Klobuchar second-place finish and Elizabeth Warren’s poor showing.
New episodes of The Conners air Tuesday nights on ABC.