The second generation Studio C stage (known affectionately as Beta) is a downscaled version of the original set-up, and made its debut in 2001. Many of the original aspects of Studio C have been removed and many design faults present in Studio C Alpha
have been improved upon.
The Blue screen has returned from the Alpha version, except that the area is much smaller now. There are only two walls, compared to Alpha's three. The third wall blocked off the blue screen area from the rest of Studio C and you couldn't see Chuck E from in there. The carpet is very brightly colored and says 'STUDIO C' all over it. The Blue Screen Stage still has the blue screen and camera, so you can participate in the show. The walls are very colorful and go well with the edgier look of Beta and there is even a mural of Chuck E on the furthest wall. The other big difference is that there is only one monitor in the area instead of Alpha's two.
On Chuck E's Stage, the biggest change at first glance is that there is no desk. Next, the Chuck E animatronic is sporting his 'Cool Chuck' clothing...which is the blue shirt with the big yellow 'C', and light brown khaki shorts. This costume makes Chuck E seem more relaxed and kid-like instead of his fancier suit from Alpha.
Although Chuck E. appears identical to the animatronic used in Alpha, looks are deceiving. The version of Chuck E. used in Beta stages has many movements removed, and actually has only 16 (compared to the approx 34 of Alpha). Some of the movements missing include Chuck E's ear wiggle, foot-tap, eyebrow movements, nose up, and much, much more. Perhaps unnoticed by casual show watchers, the change is quite dramatic to someone familiar with Studio C Alpha.
It goes well with the new stage which is much, much different than Alpha. Not only is the desk gone, but so is the green apple TV, Bird, Pizza Phone, and the window with the cityscape background. Instead, we have a much edgier design in the stage background, with a flashy looking spiral and many more rope and chaser light effects. The only thing returning from Alpha to the Beta stage is the Pizza Time Clock, the strobe light, the colored lights, the red-purplish curtains, and Chuck E. Also, the carpet is the same from the Beta blue screen area...the colorful 'STUDIO C' carpet.
One of the most noticeable differences between Alpha and Beta is the central area (between the Blue Screen Stage and Chuck E's Stage). Beta typically features three
flat-screen TV monitors in place of the big-screen monitor of Alpha - some stores have only one flat-screen as shown in the photo at the top of this page. These flat-screen monitors better depict the vibrant colors from the DVDs. Surrounding these three flat-screen monitors are different colored Rope Lights.
Missing from between the stages is the Interactive Console under the monitors. The console, while fun for children to play with, was a technical nightmare. The Console contained several different buttons and features – which meant more things to break and have to repair. The console also proved problematic for LIVE show performances. Not only was it obstructing the performance area making it difficult for Chuck E. to dance, but often times it became a safety hazard when kids would try to use the Console during LIVE shows and inadvertently get trampled. Replacing the Interactive Console are little windows that have Chaser Lights in them which create a cool effect.
The number of monitors for the show has been dramatically lowered. You have the three main monitors in the center, one in the Blue Screen Stage, one on each side of the Beta set-up, and only one (maybe two in some stores) monitor(s) in the gameroom. This is a major change from Alpha which had TV's everywhere.
The shows lighting effects have also changed. The first major difference is that there are no fiber optic tubes scattered about the room. This was a neat effect for Alpha, but they burn out fast. Another difference is the colored lights...there aren't as many with Beta as there is with Alpha. There are only two to three sets of these lights compared to Alpha's four to five. Next, the Gemini (double-sided disco-ball) is located in the showroom instead of the Blue Screen Stage. The Warp, the Roboscans, the Applause sign, and On Air sign return in Beta - and that's about it for the lighting effects off stage.
From a technical standpoint, Beta retains all of the same features as Alpha including the touch screen panel and DVD system.
When Studio C first rolled out in 1998, Chuck E. Cheese Entertainment had high hopes. The initial plan was to unite all stores with the same animatronic entertainment – and the goal was set to have all existing stages (CEC Stage, and CU 3-Stage) converted to Studio C by 2002.
Then they ran into a problem. Rather, a problem with the costs.
The expense involved with removing the existing stages and installing a brand new stage show system-wide was an enormous cost. In early 2001 a temporary stop was placed on the Studio C replacement of Existing Stages.
But aside from the installation, there were also some pricey maintenance costs associated with the operation of Studio C Alpha. The desk surrounding Chuck E often caused wear and tear on the animatronic (to the extent that Dept 18 stopped programming certain arm movements that would create wear). It was also used as a jungle gym, as children would climb on it to get a closer look at Chuck E. The Interactive Console and lighting effects became a technician’s nightmare as well.
From a production standpoint, it was becoming too costly to produce separate showtapes for Studio C stores. The solution for this was simple – remove the Bird character and the 'late night' theme so showtapes could be universal.
Since new stores still needed shows, and halting replacement didn’t help the company’s initial goals, the solution was to create a cheaper, less problematic Studio C. It should also be noted that development of Studio C Beta happened through a series of tests, and trial versions. These "test" Beta stages used the 33-movement animatronic Chuck E, and came with a variety of different props and backdrops as seen here