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A seat filler is a person who fills in an empty seat during an event. There are two types of seat fillers:
- a person who subscribes to a seat-filling theatre club. Members of these clubs help fill in unsold seats for theatre, music, film, sporting events, dance performances and other live events. The producers of the event give complimentary tickets to the seat-filling organization, who pass them on to their members. The producers get a fuller audience and therefore a better experience for the paying patrons (and talent), while the seat-filler is able to see an event for a small service charge. Within the industry, this is also referred to as "papering the house".
- a person who takes up spare seats when the person allocated the seat is elsewhere. An example of this is the Academy Awards in which many of the audience are either gaining awards, once they win the award the recipient needs to wait for an appropriate time to return to their seat, or because the member of the audience is involved in producing the show. Seat fillers are primarily employed so that when TV cameras show audience shots there are no empty seats.
List of seat-filling clubs in order from biggest to smallest:
SeatFillerNetwork has 30 U.S. locations and 4 UK locations: Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Connecticut; Denver, CO; Hawaii; Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, KS; Los Angeles, CA - Coming Soon; Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Raleigh-Durham,SC; Richmond, VA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; South Florida; Tampa Bay, FL; Twin Cities, MN; Virginia Beach, VA; Washington, D.C.;
Birmingham, England; Glasgow, Scotland; Liverpool, England; London, England;
HouseSeats has 8 US locations and 2 locations in Canada:
Arizona; Austin, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Sacramento, CA; San Antonio, TX; San Francisco, CA; Tahoe, NV; Reno, NV;
British Columbia, Canada; Ontario, Canada;
Fillaseat has 8 US locations:
Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Orange County, CA; Phoenix, AZ; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA;
SpondoolySeats has 3 US locations:
Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; New York City, NY;
In popular culture
- In the Two and a Half Men episode "My Doctor Has a Cow Puppet", Charlie tries to set up Alan with one of his friends who works as a seat filler at award ceremonies.
- In the Seinfeld episode "The Summer of George", Kramer works as a seat filler at the Tony Awards.
- The plot of the 2004 movie The Seat Filler revolves around a seat-filler who meets a burgeoning pop star during an event.
- In the movie Now You See Me, they mention that the audience are a bunch of seat fillers.
- In the Family Guy episode "Call Girl", Peter works as a seat filler for fetuses during ultrasounds.
- In the 87th Academy Awards, Neil Patrick Harris mentions the seat fillers explaining its meaning and jokes with Steve Carell as if he were a seat filler.
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