Move over, Tina Fey: Front and Centre brings comedy to campus
RELEASED: December 10, 2009
By Leigh Ivey
DANVILLE, KY—If ever a group of people believed that laughter is the best medicine, it's the members of Front and Centre.
Knowing that community members at Centre College have access to campus news through a variety of traditional media, the student team made an unprecedented decision this fall: to transform the College's television news program into a comical satire like the skits of Saturday Night Live.
"In the past, Front and Centre had largely been a short, informational show about the goings-on on campus," co-anchor and co-writer Jane Marie Lewis '10 says. "Nick Gowen '10 came up with the idea to make the show a comical one, similar to 'Weekend Update' on SNL. The hope was that an entertaining, satirical news show would be better received by students, not to mention more fun for us."
The members of the Centre community eagerly welcomed the decision. Hundreds of students now tune in each month to watch the news program, which discusses happenings both on campus and off.
After co-anchors Lewis and Gowen cover the "important" news in each show, Front and Centre "interns" Alex Birmingham '13 and Ansley Bredar '13 perform comical skits and special interest features.
"Alex and Ansley have been giving viewers H1N1 tips, including ways to decorate their flu masks," Gowen says. "And 'How-To Correspondent' Sarah Hargis '10 has been teaching viewers some very unconventional ways to utilize Sutcliffe Hall and the new Campus Center."
Gowen himself serves not only as co-anchor but also president and producer of the show. "I'm there for every part of production, from writing to filming to editing to getting the show on-air," he says.
Because he hopes to "grow up and be the male version of SNL's Tina Fey," Gowen is grateful that Front and Centre gives him the chance to work with video production and script work "in a way that even big schools couldn't offer."
The dedication he and the other members of the Front and Centre team show is outstanding. Spending time not only in the studio but also in the field, the students devote countless hours to producing two quality, entertaining shows each month.
"Writing and filming in the studio takes around four hours—or more, depending on how quickly we can come up with jokes!" Lewis says. "Filming out in the field takes additional time, and, of course, editing takes hours and hours."
One of the more daunting tasks the team faces is writing scripts that will appeal to most viewers.
"Without a doubt, writing the script is the most challenging part of production," Gowen says. "Even though each show is less than 10 minutes long, it takes us hours to write the script. It's really difficult to write jokes that appeal to a lot of people without offending anyone too much—a tough thing to do with you're dealing with satire."
Despite the challenges, though, every member of the Front and Centre team is thrilled to be part of the show—and the Centre students are thrilled with the comedy they bring to campus.
"Receiving positive feedback from the campus community is always gratifying," Lewis says. "We like to hear that people are watching and enjoying our show."
On select weekends, Front and Centre airs on Channel 12 every hour on the hour. For laughs anytime, viewers can watch all of this year's episodes online at the Front and Centre Web site.
Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422