See Getting Tickets
Reality Shows come in many formats and the audience experience varies accordingly. Some shows are harder to get into than others. There are usually waiting lists for shows like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. However, there are so many reality shows these days that there is always something taping. Some projects, like many talent contests, tape in large venues, seating up to 1000 people, so there are a lot more tickets available.
If a show you are interested in is not currently available, On Camera Audiences (www.ocatv.com), the agency with the most reality show tickets, lets you sign up for email updates to let you know when tickets become available.
Many reality shows have a lower minimum age requirement than sitcoms or talk shows. American Idol allows audience members as young as 14, but the tickets are hard to come by and may be standing room only.
For shows that air live, it is absolutely critical that you be in line at the call time if you want to get in. You will go through security before getting into the studio. An audience coordinator will determine who sits where.
Audiences play a much greater role in reality shows than other kinds of programming and have a much greater chance of being on screen. Follow the dress code specified on your ticket if you want to be on camera. Some shows specify semi-formal attire when it doesn't make any sense (like for sitcoms), but for shows like Dancing with the Stars, it is required. Some MTV shows geared toward a younger audience might require trendy club attire. If you've seen the show, you'll have an idea what is appropriate. In any case, read the instructions on your ticket.
A warm-up person will explain how the show will proceed and help get you excited.
See Audience Etiquette for more tips.