Inside the Making of Live with Kelly and Ryan’s 2022 Halloween Special


Wig by Wig, Putting It Together


Diane D’Agostino and Michelle Champagne (Hair and Make-Up): “Halloween at Live with Kelly and Ryan is crazy, frenetic and fun. It’s always an energetic and creative experience. During the on-air live show, we only have commercial breaks to complete quick changes. This means there’s often more than one person working to switch out the hosts’ costumes. There’s an exciting energy around to say the least. Between Kelly, Ryan, Gelman, and Art, we used around 40 wigs this year, transforming their looks completely. During the show, there’s always hats, lashes, glitter glue, flying everywhere. It’s a spooktacular event you won’t wanna miss! It’s scary-fun work, but someone’s gotta do it.”

Turn the Music Up


Kelly Ripa (Host): “I never really considered myself a person that would gravitate towards neon green, but I’ve got to tell you I really dug that look and I loved the roots and the dark end color of my hair — I thought the wig was super chic. I liked the whole thing. And I thought Ryan was super adorable as Harry Styles.”

More Treats Than Tricks


Elyssa Shapiro Hessler (Producer): “I’ve been working on the Halloween special for over 20 years and I love it! It gets bigger and more complex each year. We have our first Halloween meeting mid- summer to discuss the ideas I have been saving in my phone since Nov 1 of the previous year. We start writing and pulling costume looks in August. The fun begins when we start shooting in September and we work non-stop until the show wraps on Halloween.

It’s a lot of work but we have a lot of laughs. A few weeks ago, I laughed so hard during The Bachelorette shoot, I pulled a muscle.”

Setting the Stage


Michael Fagin (Set Designer): “This show in particular requires a close collaboration with the graphics, lighting and props departments to create environments that support the costumes that our hosts are wearing. It’s always a fun challenge integrating the video imagery with our real life hosts, dimensional props, and special effects. Figuring out the scale and perspective of the images is critical to making a realistic setting. Fun note — our set dog, Sammy often makes appearances in our Halloween show! This is his 25th Halloween here at Live.”

Something ‘Strange’ Is Happening


Ryan Seacrest (Host): “This was a shot from our Stranger Things shoot, which is the opening of our Halloween show. To give some context, I’m transfixed backstage and wander into the Upside Down at Live. The set was full of dry ice fog and I had to crawl across the floor more times than I could count. The whole team was amazing with this crazy set — the fog, the red lights, all of it. Of all the shoots, this one was especially cool given how the team transformed our host area in such a remarkable way.”

It Starts with a Sketch


Tori Sterling Kelly (Costume Designer): “This was my first year working on the Live Halloween special and it was a blast! We easily pulled over 100 costumes for consideration and ended up using 79. The producers work with Kelly and Ryan and then let me know what themes we are going with and then my assistant, Clare, and I spring into action.

This is a sketch I made for House of the Dragon for Kelly. Sometimes we need a very specific look, other times we can have a wide variety of options.”

Making the Halloween Special, Special


Brian Chapman (Director): “The Halloween special is one of the most unique shows that we do each year. It’s a complete 180 from what we do every day and it that presents it’s own challenges from a technical standpoint. It’s basically the Super Bowl of Live and I am here for it.”

All Hail the Queen


Déjà Vu (Announcer): “When I heard we were doing House of the Dragon for the Halloween show I was so excited! My husband, “Hubby-licous,” and I watch all of the episodes and we are always talking about that theme song — [sings] ‘da da, da da da da’ — we’re singing it throughout the house! It didn’t take a lot of time for us to put the wig on, it fit just right. I kept thinking about saying ‘Dracarys!’ the entire time! I really want a dragon, ha! We had fun with the Halloween skit and we loved the amazing costumes, so it was perfect!”

Jumping Into Action


Tori Sterling Kelly (Costume Designer): “The vibe during these shoots is pretty wild, we are always ready to make adjustments on the fly. We are team players, too! Out assistant Clare even got into the Dragon costume for a lighting check, which we still laugh about to this day. Who knew that was part of the job description? For months we were buried in costume racks, but it was all worth it. Definitely an awesome experience!”

Dragon Dinner Party


Elyssa Shapiro Hessler (Producer): “I always say that Art Moore is my muse. When I write my sketches, things really start to flow once I figure out which roles Art will play. He really brings the laughs. Kelly and Ryan are so talented. Kelly is a chameleon. Her acting and facial expressions are spot on. She can transform into just about anyone. She can do it all. She even learned an entire dance number in under 10 minutes! And Ryan continues to impress us with his acting abilities.”

Seacrest Has Left the Building


Ryan Seacrest (Host): “This year it was a lot of fun to transform into one of the biggest icons in music history, Elvis himself. Our costume team had a few iconic looks to choose from and I loved this suit. When I was in the makeup chair getting ready I was blasting Elvis songs to help get into character. In this picture I’m practicing my Elvis strut in front of the whole team.”

Yes, Chef!


Art Moore (Executive in Charge of Production and WABC-TV’s Vice President of Programming): “When our producers told me they wanted me to be a bear, I thought I was doing something about Smokey The Bear! Turns out, it was part of our homage to the TV show The Bear. Whenever producers come to me with an idea, I always say yes first and ask questions later.”

John Ogle (Producer): “I knew that Ryan was a fan of The Bear so I assumed he would be really into playing Chef Carmy. Ryan is always fun and funny during these shoots. But the second the Carmy wig was put on his head… he transformed into he character. He nailed it.”

Don’t Stop Gelman Now


Michael Gelman (Executive Producer): “​I’ve been a huge fan of the rock group Queen, so to play Freddie Mercury was awesome. It was fun shouting and singing ‘We Are The Champions’ throughout the hallways and on stage to keep in character. Over the years, I’ve done more wigs and costumes than I can count. It’s a great time of year at the office for sure.”

Putting It Together


Frank Cortale (Stage Manager): “I’ve been the stage manager for 3 years at Live and each day I stand outside the dressing rooms about 5 minutes before air. I have to say, I’m always so confident we will make it to air on time because both Kelly and Ryan are such professionals. Truly the best! We call ‘places’ 60 seconds out and then start walking 30 seconds before air, if you can believe it! Halloween is always so much fun, seeing everyone in their costumes. It’s also a thrill during the live show because of the ‘quick change’ element of changing costumes backstage, but we always manage to get it done — even though I recently had a dream that we were once 4 minutes late!”


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