It started off as a final project for their TV Studio Production class in the fall semester, but Ryan Schnurr, sophomore film studies and broadcasting double major, and Dirk Walker, senior broadcasting major, decided to do something different. They came up with the idea to do a late-night talk show.
“That Show!” got its name from Walker, co-producer, who did an assignment for the class that required him to create logos.
Walker said he thought it was kind of corny when he came up with it at first but that it had the feel of a show from the 60s. Eventually the name grew on him, and he found it catchy.
“We started progressing with our ideas and thought this could be possible,” said Schnurr, the director, about the live audience production. “We knew we couldn’t do it in the HTV studio because there would not be enough space.”
Schnurr approached the theatre department to see about using the Studio Theatre. The theater had an available three-day gap that worked for filming the show.
“We didn’t realize how much work it was going to be in those three days,” said Schnurr. “We went in Sunday, and I was there for 12 hours. Monday night we had a run-through, and Tuesday morning we shot.”
The pilot episode of “That Show!” is 15 minutes long and consists of a monologue by host Jon Huffman, an interview with Nick Colgrove and musical guest Manniequin Angels.
Compared to “The Jay Leno Show,” that has 18.4 million viewers, according to latimes.com, “That Show!” has a pretty realistic format. “The Jay Leno Show” consists of an opening monologue, one or two celebrity guests, comedy segments, and a musical guest twice a week.
Walker said they aren’t trying to imitate any specific late show, but they do ask themselves, “What does Conan’s staff do?” “What does the Late Night Show do?”
The show is hosted by Jon Huffman, fifth-year senior theatre performance and English literature major, who was approached by Schnurr when they came up with the idea for the late night talk show.
“We’ve captured the idea well,” said Huffman. “We’ve got the feel of it. I’m not by any means Conan or Jay Leno, but maybe I’m self-critical. We made it look pretty real for what we had to work with.”
Huffman will not be able to return as host in future episodes due to conflicts with the shows he will be performing in for the theatre department, but he will still be on the writing staff, said Walker.
“That Show!” is planning to hold open auditions Thursday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. in the HTV studio to find a replacement host.
The show has had its share of small obstacles along the way. The musical guests scheduled to perform in the second episode became ill, and a segment fell through the night before the taping of the third episode.
“We have really had to learn to work on our toes,” said co-producer Katrina Helmer, junior broadcasting major.
“That Show!” was filmed with a live audience. The first show had an audience of about ten people, but during the second taping, over 50 people showed up.
Walker said that the audience was fantastic and that they are just as important as Jon or the guests.
There has been some speculation that “That Show!” could replace HTV, the university’s student-led news program.
“That is not going to happen,” said Lance Clark, Ph.D., associate professor of communication. “I want to let it be a student-driven show.”
As of now, Clark said there are no plans to incorporate the show in a class or even make it a practicum class, but that talk about the possibility of the replacement of HTV was only a rumor.
“We’re not trying to replace HTV,” said Walker. “We are just doing something we enjoy.”
Schnurr said that “That Show!” and HTV are two very different shows, and they are supposed to be.
If HU were to implement “That Show!” as part of the broadcasting major, they would separate themselves from Bethel College, Indiana Wesleyan University and Goshen College, which all have broadcasting majors and student-led news programs, according to their Web sites. None of these colleges’ Web sites featured a late night talk show as a way for students to explore the broadcasting field.
“That Show!” is looking to film more episodes, but it is currently faced with the problem of having nowhere to tape because the Studio Theatre is currently in use.
Helmer said they might not be able to shoot again until April.
While the show’s team waits for a space to open up, they are going to develop content for the show, line up possible guests, and create monologues so they have a file of ideas ready to go for multiple shows.
“Our goal with it is to have fun,” said Helmer. “It is a creative outlet. It’s still in the broadcasting realm for all of us, but it’s a different avenue that no one has traveled down quite yet, so we are having fun and testing the waters.”