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NDtv airs revamped programs

Elizabeth Kelly | Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Students can look forward to seeing all of their favorite shows return to NDtv for another season, with a few tweaks and the possibility of added programming.

NDtv, the student-run TV station that airs 24 hours on channel 53 on Notre Dame’s on-campus cable system, launched its 2007-08 lineup – featuring seven original shows – in September. Returning from the winter break hiatus, all of NDtv’s fall programs will air new episodes this spring, said the station’s executive director, sophomore Nick Andert.

Fans of some shows, however, will notice certain changes.

NDtv’s late night variety show, “Late Night ND,” aired its semester premiere Monday night with a new host and head writer, junior Elise Yahner. As the first female host in the station’s history, Yahner says that the jokes and overall tone of the show might be a little different from previous seasons.

But fans of “Late Night ND” shouldn’t expect female-centric humor.

“It’s not going to be ‘The Girlie Show,'” she said with a laugh.

Yahner said she intends to take the show in the same direction it was headed last semester under host Joe Kwaczala.

“My only worry is that people don’t think girls are funny,” Yahner said.

She will have a chance to disprove that theory with the new comedy segment – similar to skit portion of “Saturday Night Live” – that she plans to add to the program. In one such skit, one of last season’s recurring characters, the flamboyant and opinionated hairdresser André, appeared on Monday’s premier episode to offer Yahner some makeover advice for a new on-air look.

Yahner is also looking to have more musical and performance guests.

Beside the changes at “Late Night ND,” some of the station’s other shows are also being updated and improved, Andert said.

“On Campus,” NDtv’s first sitcom, which chronicles the fictitious adventures of Sarah, a freshman at Notre Dame, premiered in September and quickly became one of the station’s most popular shows.

In the fall, the series had a new plotline in each episode, but this semester the show will incorporate a season-long storyline to keep viewers engaged, he said.

Andert attributed some of the sitcom’s success to NDtv’s Web site, which features an “On Demand” section that allows viewers to watch full episodes of some of the station’s shows at any time. For many viewers, he said, watching videos online is “the easiest way to catch a new show.”

He said he hopes to put as many of the station’s shows as possible on the Web site in order to generate more student interest online.

NDtv’s studio, located in the basement of Washington Hall, is undergoing renovations that will be completed by mid-semester. The plans include updated lighting and other technical equipment as well as new furniture and backdrops that will improve the look of various sets, especially those of “Late Night ND” and “NDTV News,” the station’s hour-long news program, Andert said.

And he also hopes to add a new show to the station’s current lineup by mid-semester. While the new program is under development, NDtv will continue to focus on its current shows, which include debate show “Talk it Out,” movie review program “Final Cut,” improvisational comedy “Humor Artists” and interview show “Office Hours.”

And Yahner said the station’s staff is excited and optimistic about it hopes what will be a fun season with lots of new talent.

“We’re a fun bunch,” she said. “We make each other laugh.”