Several Princeton students will be launching a student-produced television show, titled‘Princeton Tonight,’ in late February.
The show will feature guests in a talk show style format and will be programmed forthe University’s local cable channels, available in New Jersey on Comcast and Verizon networks.
“Princeton Tonight is Princeton University’s first completely student-run broadcast television program,” showrunnerJordan Salama’19said. “That means that we are all students –we have a production department, a writing department and a business department.”
Salama explained that he came up for the concept for the project after having visited the studio at the University’s Broadcast Center.
“During the first week of school, I saw an advertisement for an open house in the Princeton University Broadcast Center. We, the students, had not yet been able to use the Broadcast Center, a fully functional TV studio. So, I said, well, there was some potential here.”
Salama explained that he and Ryan Ozminkowski ’19, the show’s producer, met at a screening event for Princeton Film Productions.
Ozminkowski noted that the two of them were both inspired by the broadcast center, and started the project from there by assembling a team and filming a pilot of the show.
The project eventually would become very much a collaborative effort among many students, Salama explained. He noted the show's extensive network of student workers.
“I really want to emphasize that we are an open organization. We are open to anybody who wants to get real-world experience in this television and video production industry to get involved,” he said, “We have over 25 students right now that are working on it. Everybody has a very important role. If anything, we are all in this together.”
Salama also noted the talk show premise of Princeton Tonight, adding that he plans to bring guests in the entertainment industry and other fields for on-air interviews.
According to Salama, the University itself has given a big help to the show byproviding key funding through Princeton Film Productions and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
“That is how we are getting all our funding right now,” Salama said.
Dan Kearns, a Broadcast Engineer for the University Broadcast Center Studio and the Technical Director for Princeton Tonight, said that there was an earlier attempt at a television broadcast about four years ago.
“We made a show called ‘That’s Debatable.’ It involved students who were working at WPRB, the radio channel, but then they all graduated so that didn’t continue,” he said, “What I’m very happy about Princeton Tonight is that there are mostly freshmen involved and they are very enthusiastic.”
Ozminkowski furtherexplained his hopes for expanding the project.
“We’re hoping to branch out in the future. We’re going to be adding sketch comedy, a “stock-talk,” which would be a comedic take on the stock market –everything from reviews to hopefully eventually branching out to a little mini-series.”
Ozminkowski added another vision for the series in which Princeton Tonight actually serves the students.
“I want this to be a production where students can get a job in the industry not because we’ve made connections but because the work we’ve done is so good," he said.