IC student produces reality TV show

ITHACA — Ithaca College senior Peter Berg is proving you don't need to be a big shot producer to bring a reality show to television.

The TV/radio major was inspired last fall to recreate of one of his favorite CBS shows, “The Amazing Race,” for a run on Ithaca College's student-run station ICTV. With tonight's two-hour premier of “The Race,” Berg will see his inspiration become a reality. The scavenger hunt-style competition will run each Monday through the two-hour finale March 5.

Berg said soon after he floated the idea, he found a number of fellow Ithaca College students interested in participating. Working within a tight budget was a major obstacle, Berg said, adding that about $2,300 had to cover the cost of video tapes, gas, food and lodging. There were some sponsors though that helped ease that cost.

“All the locations were donated to us,” Berg said. “We did pretty well for the budget.”

In October, six teams — each made up of two Ithaca College students — and about seven camera crew members used the college's equipment and filmed “The Race,” in various locations across the state, including Syracuse and Rochester. At the end of each day of the race, the team that came in last was eliminated.

Kate Levinson, a senior at Ithaca College and contestant of the show, said the whole experience was enjoyable.

“It was incredible, but I didn't realize how big the challenge was until we started going,” she said. “I was impressed by how it all fell together and how well the planning went.”

The challenges ranged from navigating through a cornfield maze to finding a martial arts school where contestants karate chopped a board, he said.

On the final day, only three of the six teams remained. The final contestants climbed a tree house at Cayuga Nature Center to find their next clue leading to a farmers' market.

“Earlier that day, they got apples in the apple orchard,” Berg said. “They had to ask every one of them (apple vendors) — How about them apples?”

On the show's finale, the winning team will be awarded a host of donated prizes including t-shirts and gift certificates.

“I made hundreds and hundreds of phone calls to get everything lined up for it,” Berg said, when asked about the filming experience. “I didn't sleep much. I went for five days without sleeping ... but it did turn out well and the production went seamlessly.”

“The Race,” will air a 90-minute debut at 9:30 p.m. today on Time Warner Cable Channel 16. The remainder of the one-hour series will run at 10 p.m. Mondays Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and 9-11 p.m. for the show's finale March 5.

For more information about the show or to view an episode preview, visit ICTV Web site at www.ictv.org.


Originally published February 12, 2007