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"Hot Seat" takes place on a stage in their studio at the school. On the stage are two chairs. One with flames painted on the legs (get it? hot seat?) and one regular ol' chair for Kevin, the interviewer.
They have six chairs off to the side for a "jury." Of course this isn't a real jury, in a traditional sense. No one is on trial. Instead, their job is to ask tough questions. Nosy and embarrassing questions are acceptable. Mean-spirited or hurtful questions are forbidden.
They call the person being interviewed a "victim" to play up the inquisition-type feel of the show. Is it just Shmoop or does this show sound kind of, well, unfun?
They have three cameras to film the show. One on the stage, one on the jury, and one handheld, close-up camera. Strangely, they call this camera "Chico."
Chico was a student who was very enthusiastic about this position in the past and did a great job, so the lucky duck got a camera named after him.
The host and the "victim" both wear small microphones, and the jury passes around a hand-held one.
As the show is being filmed, Leo works in the sound room across from the stage. He wears a fancy headset and directs the shots while watching the monitors. These guys mean business, huh?
Their faculty advisor, Mr. Robineau, is always present, but he doesn't have to do much. These kids have totally got it under control.
The show airs during primetime on local cable to about ten thousand homes. At least fifty percent of the student body watches most episodes, and they expect much higher numbers for Stargirl's episode.
But Leo has a secret: he hopes no one will watch the episode because Stargirl has lost a lot of her popularity lately. He's worried that the show may turn ugly.
It is time for the episode.
Stargirl and the jury come in and are briefed about what to expect. Leo notices that the faces of the jury are grim and that Hillari is on the jury. Not good.
Leo gets to his place in the sound room and gets things started; he feels a great sense of dread.
The interview starts with Stargirl asking Kevin if he would like to hold her rat, Cinnamon, and he does.
When Kevin begins the interview, Stargirl freezes and her eyes get really big. She is pretending it is an actual "hot" seat. No one gets it except Leo and Mr. Robineau. To everyone else, it is just awkward.
After a few more moments of her pretending to burn her hands on the seat, she lets out a shriek. The shriek sends the rat running, and finally Kevin gets what she is doing and this causes lots of laughter.
The rat is running all around and they are trying to get it on camera.
Mr. Robineau said later that it was the greatest moment in the history of "Hot Seat," but they would never be able to air it because of what was going to happen next.