The Surprising Reason Rachael Ray Is So Happy To Be Back In Front Of A Live Audience

When Rachel Ray stepped back into the studio and in front of a live audience, the look and feel of the moment seemed different. The start of the 16th season of "The Rachel Ray Show" is more than just another list of celebrity guests, tasty recipes, and helpful entertaining ideas. As Ray told The Hollywood Reporter, after filming more than 200 episodes in her home, the look and the feel of the daytime television talk show had to change. Ray was ready to evolve the show based on those experiences.

The studio set is modeled after her upstate home, where Ray still does some filming. According to ET Online, Ray said the studio is "what my real life is like." She thought it would be hard to go back to what the show looked and felt like pre-pandemic, and believes that this new look and vibe is more "cozy." That "relaxed" feeling goes into everything from the clothes she wears to the atmosphere on set. The hope is that the season captures an idea of people gathering around a table for good food and spirited conversation. That sense of community has driven "The Ray Rachel Show" from the beginning. Still, one element continues to bring Ray back to the live audience time and again.

Rachel Ray missed this element while taping her show at home

Even though she taped over 200 shows at her home, Rachel Ray felt that one thing seemed to be amiss. Although she told The Hollywood Reporter that she became accustomed to being a two-person crew who handled everything from creation to clean-up, one big element was silent during all those episodes.

During a conversation with "Extra," Ray admitted that she missed the audience's applause. While that simple gesture might not seem profound, that sound can have a big impact not only on the show but also the host. Ray said, "I've felt wildly unpopular for 20 months because no one (claps)." The reality is that the interaction between host and audience is vital for any talk show. Just like a dinner table is more enjoyable with a side of spirited conversation, food invites people to react and makes the experience more memorable. Cooking and presenting into a silent void is less engaging for everyone. While fake applause might not have its appeal, everyone, host and viewer, has been longing for that auditory reaction. It is like the pinch of salt that makes a recipe just taste better.