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When you come to New York, going to watch a television show taping goes hand in hand with seeing the Statue of Liberty and eating a hot dog from a street vendor in Central Park, as essential things you must do. So this morning, I went to sit in the studio audience of  Live with Regis and Kelly. Before I got there, I have to admit that I had some reservations. I had the preconceived stereotype in my head of mindless, boring chatter, with the hosts just filling in time before the news or something starts, and when I found out the guests I though were on weren’t, I started second guessing my decision to forgo a sleep-in and battle the snow to see the show, but that’s another story. I can now happily admit that traipsing through a New York blizzard was well worth it (and incidentally, another experience you need to have while in the Big Apple).

I was extremely taken by host Kelly Ripa, who in the absence of Regis Philbin, was left to take the reigns with only minor input from a guest host. With my previous knowledge of her being confined to her portrayal on All My Children and Hope and Faith, I suppose I was expecting a ditzy blond, only on the show for her looks (which are stunning by the way). But no. She was extremely personable and humble, and during the commercial breaks interacted with the audience, took pictures with audience members and even took the time to give one lady tips on where to take her daughter for her birthday.

The people sitting behind me obviously had the same preconceived idea that I did, as I heard them comment ‘oh, she is actually funny, and like clever funny, not dumb funny’. While they will never be the next great Poet Laureate, their sentiment rings true. Too often women on television are expected to be less intelligent than their male co-host, or are quickly judged based on their looks rather than their work, which in this case I am guilty of. But I was very happy to be proven wrong, and cannot find one negative thing to say about Ripa. She is a television natural and carries herself with humor and humility, which, in the entertainment industry at least, is a refreshing change.

So if you ever make it to the city that never sleeps, then make sure you pencil in a morning with Regis and Kelly. Even if, like me, one of the hosts isn’t there and the guests are not who you expected, it is worth the trip to spend the morning around a successful, intelligent woman, who more than holds her own both in front and behind the camera. Just make sure that the host who is missing isn’t Kelly Ripa.