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NDTV launches year’s lineup

Nicole Taylor | Wednesday, September 26, 2007

NDTV, Notre Dame’s student-run television station, is getting a facelift this year with a new lineup of shows and a new leader behind the switchboards.

Executive Director Nick Andert, a sophomore, said he’s excited about the changes coming to the network, which kicked off its new season with a two-hour live broadcast Tuesday. The feed featured a Guitar Hero contest, a performance by a live band, previews of the new lineups and call-ins to the station.

Andert said one of this fall’s new additions is NDTV’s first student-produced sitcom, “On Campus.” The show is in “mockumentary” style, he said, similar to the popular NBC series “The Office,” which in turn was a spin-off from a popular BBC show of the same name.

“On Campus” follows a girl named Sarah and her transition to Notre Dame as a freshman, Andert said. She has cameras following her through her adjustment to the campus life, documenting the realization of her dream to attend Notre Dame – and the contrast between what she expected and what she receives.

“On Campus” will air a new episode weekly, starting next week, on Thursday nights. Writing, producing, and taping an entirely NDTV-produced sitcom was always an idea floating around the studio, Andert said, but it was difficult to accomplish logistically for years.

“We shoot whenever the cast is available,” he said. “It can be anytime during the week. We’ve even shot on Sunday mornings before.”

The show’s producer, sophomore John Minser, said developing and filming “On Campus” is a challenge financially and in time-wise, but he said the cast and crew is excited about the upcoming season.

“It’s a pretty ambitious project,” he said. “We have an extensive cast and crew and have been able to pull in the biggest budget yet. We’re hoping to be able to have a new half hour episode every week.”

That goal is key to one of the main purposes of “On Campus,” which is to create a show with an ongoing plot to hook viewers and keep them tuning in every week, Andert said.

“We hope that On Campus draws a steady audience and that it draws people to our other shows as well,” he said.

Some of the other shows that will premiere on NDTV this season include “Talk it Out,” a debate show. The show will feature two groups debating a hot issue before a moderator – sophomore Dan Rotar.

In addition to the new shows, all of the station’s old programs will return with new episodes, bringing NDTV’s original-show-count up to seven.

NDTV News and NDTV Sports were merged into one hour-long program, Andert said.

“Final Cut,” a movie review show, will return to the lineup this year, and new episodes of “Humor Artists,” a live taping of the campus improvisational comedy group of the same name, will be airing as well.

The interview show “Office Hours” is also back with a season opener that will feature an interview with the band Plain White T’s, who played at Legends on Sept. 14. It will also include a interview with members of local band Umphrey’s McGee.

NDTV’s signature late show, however, has a new host and a new name. “The Mike Peterson Show” has been replaced by “Late Night ND,” which premiered Tuesday with new host junior Joe Kwaczala.

Anderst said the NDTV staff is also working on a new Web site for the station that will have a new streaming video section. The date for the site’s launch is still unknown, but he said it could be as early as later this week.

And while many of the shows and the initiatives he has in mind are still in the developing stages, Andert said, he is proud of what has accomplished at NDTV so far and what is in store.

“It’s our biggest lineup yet. We are expanding quickly, and have a lot of members,” he said. “We are trying to expand and improve our programming. We hope to improve the production values as well, so our shows look and sound better.”