If a national television show approached you to use your club, would you say yes? Paul and Leanne Neville did.
The owners of East Islip Health & Fitness Center in Long Island, NY, were approached last year by producers of the ABC TV show “What Would You Do?” about using their facility to tape some gym-related scenarios.
The TV show typically involves filming unwitting people witnessing a situation to see how they will react. Will they step in to stop a pregnant woman from having a beer at the bar? Will they call the police when they see a baby locked in a car by herself? The situations are all created by the TV show and involve actors (or in the case of the baby, a doll), but the people witnessing the situation do not know this.
When I called the East Islip club to find out more about the filming, I asked about any concerns over how members would react to knowing they were “set up.” Rich Frost, a personal trainer and assistant manager trainee, told me that they did have about four to five members who were upset even after finding out the situations were created for a TV show, but they only had one person who was so upset that she hasn't come back.
I also asked about liability concerns, but Frost said that the ABC crew had that all covered.
The biggest concern that Frost had was for the actor who was involved in a scenario on the weight floor. The actor pretended to be talking on his cell phone while hogging an abdominal machine and doing a lot of reps on it. With all the reps he did and the several hours it took for him to finally get a member to ask him to get off the equipment, Frost says that actor's abs had to be killing him for several days afterwards.
When I asked Frost whether the club would host another “What Would You Do?” segment if the producers ever asked again, Frost said that they probably would. I guess that should be fair warning to members.
Would you allow your club to be used for this purpose?