So you think you can produce: Notre Dame graduate grabs spot on reality show

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Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.

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The Notre Dame family came through for Denver resident Gwen Uszuko, a 2006 Notre Dame graduate, in her quest for a spot on the TV Guide Network’s America’s Next Producer reality show. The competition series will offer viewers a behind-the-scenes idea of what television producers actually do.

Uszuko had been working as a web producer at KDVR-TV in Denver for a year when she began researching film schools. “I knew I wanted to move out of the realm of news,” she says. Then she saw a link online about the new reality show and sent a short biographical video. Her video was one of three chosen by the show’s production company to compete in an Internet contest for a slot as one of 10 contestants on the show.

That’s when the ND family connection kicked in. Uszuko, an American Studies major, sent an email about the contest to two teachers in the Film, Television and Theatre program, and her message was posted on the FTT listserve. In it, Uszuko asked FTT grads to check out her video and, if they so desired, to vote for her.

“In the end I got almost twice as many votes as the second person,” she says. Other spots on the show were filled through auditions in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

The 10-episode reality show was taped in May and begins airing July 18. A panel of three judges selected the winner, who receives $100,000, a Hollywood production office and the opportunity to pitch a show to the TV Guide Network.

Uszuko isn’t allowed to say much about the competition and how she did. She can, however, say this: “It’s going to be a good show, so you should watch.”

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