->''"Y'know, I'm not new to live TV. In 1952 I starred in my first live sitcom... of course back then, we didn't wanna do it live, we just didn't know how to tape things! So I don't know what ''this'' show's excuse is..."''
-->--'''Creator/BettyWhite''' guest hosting '''''Series/SaturdayNightLive''''', May 8, 2010

Not as much a plot as a [[RatingsStunt gimmick]].

An episode of a TV show transmitted live. Chances are someone will make a goof somewhere. In fact, maybe they'll make two different goofs, as often, American live episodes are performed twice -- once for the east coast and once for the west coast.
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!!Examples:
* ''Series/TheBill'' did it for its 20th anniversary in 2003 and did so again in 2005 for ITV's 50th anniversary. In the first instance, its 'live' status was proven on screen when Jim Carver was seen [[AuthenticationByNewspaper reading that day's Daily Mirror]].
* ''TheDrewCareyShow'' has done it three times, always playing off ''WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' which Drew Carey was concurrently hosting, and on which ''Drew Carey'' cast member Ryan Stiles was a constant presence. The only other ''Whose Line'' regular to appear on all three shows was Brad Sherwood, acting as MC. Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady appeared in the first two episodes but were inexplicably absent from the third. Pianist Laura Hall also appeared in the first two episodes, and Greg Proops appeared in the second and third. Chip Esten and Jeff Davis appeared only in the third, forming a trio with Greg of the "Stall for Time Players". Every so often Sherwood would force them to randomly do a scene over again or do a scene with a particular quirk... like on ''Whose Line''. By the end of one episode, Colin had kissed Drew, outed himself as a cannibal and Ryan/Lewis had a horrible mouth fungal infection from licking door knobs.
* ''{{ER}}'' has done at least one.
* In the past, before video-recording was common (or even ''invented'', as per Creator/BettyWhite's comment above), many programmes were necessarily live, especially [[SoapOpera soaps]]. A 1983 ep of ''SearchForTomorrow'' was done live after the master tapes were accidentally erased. But by the time ''OneLifeToLive'' did a week of live eps in 2002, live eps were more a gimmick than a necessity. (Even with the ''Search'' example, many people accused NBC of lying about the lost tape to generate buzz for the show.) Incidentally, the necessity of live episodes for soaps (plus later, the practice of video wiping) is why not many 60s and 70s soap eps are [[MissingEpisode known to exist]] ({{Game Show}}s have also suffered from this as well).
** The '' Search'' live ep is even more suspicious, happening not long after the movie ''{{Tootsie}}'', in which an almost identical incident is part of the plotline, was released. Coincidence or contrivance?
** Even after videotape became common, ''As the World Turns'' and ''The Edge of Night'' produced live episodes (only recording episodes when the shows were pre-empted to avoid double-paying actors for a single episode) until 1975...almost a decade after the other soaps had moved to tape.
* ''WillAndGrace'' did one in 2005, for the first episode of the final season, and another one several episodes later.
* Fox sitcom ''{{Roc}}'' arguably started the modern-day trend for live episodes. After presenting one episode live in the first season, the entire second season was broadcast live. It went back to taped shows for its third (and last) season.
* ''Series/TheWestWing'', "The Debate". Done with east coast and west coast versions. It plays with the possibility for goofs: when Senator Vinick is first called upon to speak, there is a long uncomfortable pause, as if Alan Alda has forgotten his lines, but it turns out this was planned and in character. Vinick then spontaneously suggests dropping the pre-agreed debate format in favor of having a true debate on the issues.
* Sent up in an episode of (what else?) ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' immediately after its cancellation had been announced, which promised the "shocking final seconds" would be live. When the moment actually came, the live portion was just Lucille saying three forced-sounding words, followed by the cast pretending to celebrate getting through without a slip, and saying they had to get ready for the west-coast feed.
* In 2005, Creator/{{BBC}}4 redid the 1953 serial ''Series/TheQuatermassExperiment'' as a two hour MadeForTVMovie. Like the original serial, it was broadcast live (thus actually making it a 1:40 serial...) Despite being live, the picture was ironically treated to look like a film.
** A few goofs present in the broadcast were replaced with filmed rehearsal footage for the DVD.
** Only the first two eps of the original ''Experiment'' [[MissingEpisode survive]], while the sequels (also originally live) exist in full (thanks to the BBC recording the shows on to film), and have been released on DVD (with the 2nd sequel even "[=VidFired=]" to restore the original "live" look).
* In fiction: ''Film/{{Tootsie}}'' has DustinHoffman's [[SweetPollyOliver cross-dressing actor]] taking advantage of a live scene on a soap to reveal himself to everyone.
* In a similar vein, ''Film/{{Soapdish}}'' has a live episode in its final act in which it is revealed which of Celeste Talbert (Sally Field), Jeffrey Anderson (Creator/KevinKline), or Lori Craven (Elisabeth Shue) will be fired from SoapWithinAShow ''The Sun Also Sets'' to resolve the three-way impasse between the actors. The episode quickly derails, but in a way that resolves the conflict between the three actors, both from within and from without.
* The ''WebVideo/LG15TheResistance'' video "Signal Lost" was originally recorded live. It appears in an edited form as a scene in Chapter 6.
* Unlike US soaps of the same period, only the first few episodes of ''CoronationStreet'' were shown live in 1960. Exactly 40 years later ''Coronation Street'' again did a live episode for its 40th anniversary. This one was notable for featuring one of the characters, Audrey Roberts meeting (the real) Prince Charles (albeit that particular scene was pre-recorded with the other characters watching Audrey meet Prince Charles in a TV broadcast).
* Sticking with British soaps, ''{{Eastenders}}'' celebrated 25 years with its first live episode.
** The 23rd July 2012 episode featured a live segment where Billy Mitchell carried the Olympic Torch through the square.
* Every year at Halloween, the Travel Channel does a live episode of whichever of their ghost shows is most popular at the time. People watching can view rooms themselves on the internet, and send in messages if they think they see anything.
* ''[[Series/ThirtyRock 30 Rock]]'' - a sitcom shot with a single camera with no laugh track - did a live episode, complete with live audience, [[spoiler:and [[Creator/JuliaLouisDreyfus Julia Louis-Dreyfuss]] playing Liz in her flashbacks, because "My memory has ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' money"]]. The [[VideoInsideFilmOutside different look]] was immediately {{Lampshaded}}:
-->'''Jack''': Does it seem weird in here to you? ''(insert [[LaughTrack laughter from live audience]] here)'' Everything looks like a Mexican soap opera. ''(insert more laughter here)''
-->''(at the end, [[spoiler:Jack shares a drink with Liz]], and the picture reverts to its usual filmed style)''
-->'''Jack''': That's more like it.
** Another lampshade was hung while Liz and Tracy talked about Tracy breaking character, with Liz saying "The audience likes it when things go wrong" as a poster on the background wall swung off its support. (It apparently had a better sense of timing on the West Coast broadcast.)
** Not to mention the various threats of "slipping a nip".
** The show also had fake commercials to give more time for set changes. Notably the jokes in these commercials were different on the East & West Coast feeds. (e.g. two phony [=PSAs=] done by [[MadMen John Hamm]] as his ''Series/ThirtyRock'' character Dr. Drew, announcing important breakthroughs in hand transplants. On one feed Hamm had an executed criminal's hand which attempted to strangle him; on the other feed Hamm had a woman's hand that molested him.)
** ''30 Rock'' did another live show, "Live from Studio 6H", in season six. In this one Jack Donaghy decides to [[LampshadeHanging end live broadcasts]] of ''TGS''.
* ''ThirdRockFromTheSun'' had an episode where only the opening shot was done live. It was aired after the SuperBowl, and the live segment was Dick running into the stadium to warn people of an AlienInvasion.
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheClevelandShow'', where it was advertised as the first ever live episode of an animated series - a patent imposibility. The episode poked fun of the various things that go wrong on live episodes, including a character having an on-air meltdown and [[spoiler:guest star JuliaRoberts dying on stage.]]
* Also parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', where ''WesternAnimation/ItchyAndScratchy'' voice actor June Bellamy says "Few cartoons are broadcast live, it places terrible strain on the animator's wrists".
* Yet again parodied on ChildrensHospital's "live episode", during which various mishaps happened on the set, such as camera breaking, actors bailing out mid scene and crew members appearing in shot multiple times. They also spoofed the above mentioned ''Tootsie'' example when [[spoiler: Malin Akerman revealed herself to be Jon Hamm in disguise!]]
* MusicVideo example: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkk5wViJo-I The video]] for "You Are A Tourist" by DeathCabForCutie was performed and shot in a single take live via webcast on March 28, 2011.
* Parodied in the ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' episode "Live From The Grill-O-Mat", which [[BlatantLies isn't]].
* Done on {{Roadkill}}, [[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr9-BQgnsRM they did an engine swap live over 3 days on a showroom floor.]]
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