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“They approached us,” Principal Paul Allen said. “We’ll see where it goes.”
Local production company Venture Studios plans to film 13 live episodes in the NLHS auditorium within the next three months. Venture is an affiliate of Legacy Television, a nationwide network based in Florida with access to 234 stations and other outlets reaching 46.07 million homes. It also streams media online to computers and portable devices.
“We have to produce 13 episodes to get the network to take it,” Venture President James Wyatt said. “Television production is broken up into multiples of 13.”
Each 30-minute episode should take about an hour to actually film. NLHS is on a block schedule, which has 90-minute classes. Wyatt said one idea is to turn the show production into a class under North Lamar High School’s theater department. Students will help with the show with roles such as stage direction, camera direction, lighting and the like.
“We will provide all the equipment, and we will build the set,” he said. “It’s a learning experience for them.”
Zone 32 Television will be a 30-minute, faith-oriented program in a talk/magazine format that is aimed at high school students. Professional counselors and facilitators will address problems such as drugs, alcohol, peer pressure and sexual promiscuity. It will offer strategies for teens to overcome such problems, as well as show the consequences and side effects.
“You will be the live studio audience for the TV show,” Allen told students at an assembly Monday. “Where is Zone 32 headed? It doesn’t really matter where it’s headed because the most important thing is you.”
Venture Studios is currently looking for sponsorships. They will be seen on the local station — Channel 99 — which reaches about 24,000 people. Venture is also looking for air time on 10 or 12, which reach about 700,000 to 1 million. Then there’s the opportunity for national exposure for those that could benefit from it.
Corporate sponsors are also being sought to help pay for production of individual DVDs that could be distributed to students on individual topics. DVDs could also be given to students when a new school implements the Zone 32 program.
The idea is still early in the planning stage. However it works out, Allen said, it should be beneficial as students will get to help make the episodes a reality.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” he said. “Our fine arts program will be included in the production of those shows.”
Zone 32 largely owes this opportunity to Hurricane Isaac, which struck the Gulf Coast in late August. Wyatt was talking to Legacy’s affiliate relations director, who told him network President Jim West was there because of Isaac. As West and Wyatt talked about Zone 32 and the idea he had been kicking around, the president expressed interest and said he could help.
Legacy TV is a “lower tier” cable network. Companies like USA and TNT form the upper tier while networks like RFD are in the middle.
“There’s a real opportunity to develop programing for these lower-tiered networks,” Wyatt said. “There’s a real need right now for teen-oriented programming that is not just iCarly or Victorious.”