From the first “CU: Remix” evening of orientation, every Columbia student is conditioned to swoon over the discounted offerings of CU Arts’ Ticket and Information Center. One glaring omission from that list, however, are the cultural opportunities in the realm of television.
The service boasts reduced-price admission to an array of entertainment venues: shows (on and off-Broadway), dance performances, concerts, museum exhibits, and movie showings.
New York City is the home of at least one talk show from every network channel, not to mention a considerable amount of cable programming as well. If TIC can provide tickets to limited-availability events, why does it not offer students the opportunity to obtain tickets to cheap daily talk shows actively seeking large numbers of audience members?
Gregory Mosher, director of the Arts Initiative at Columbia, acknowledges the absence of TV offerings as mainly an oversight. “The TIC Inventory is made up of available, affordable events that occur to us and/or students request,” he said. Regarding the negligence of TV, he admitted, “I must say, it never occurred to me personally.”
Another explanation Mosher gives is a well-known fact among TV-hungry students: there is rarely any reason to seek discounts for episode tapings, since they rarely involve a cost. “TV screenings are almost always free, so it’s not like CU Arts can offer a discount for them“ said Sadaf Shahid, BC ’12. “It’s just a matter of timing and/or knowing the right people.”
Mosher agrees, but realizes that, while “shows won’t give the TIC a bunch of tickets … [since] they like to know exactly who is coming” to tapings, there are other ways for the initiative to incorporate TV into their repertoire. “If nothing else, we can explain how the tickets to Letterman and other shows are distributed,” providing average students with awareness of tapings that may otherwise require extensive independent contacts.
As Shahid said, “People on my floor last year—and the people I live with now—are really into the shows as well, and we all regularly check the respective Web sites for openings.” Maybe TIC could centralize information about television tapings.
Rudolph Scala, manager of TIC, echoed Mosher’s sense of the issue saying, “Most shows which would appeal to the student body either do not offer group tickets or do not treat full groups kindly.” He regrets that the shows he’s found most willing to provide access to tickets “seem to be shows that ... the student body would not be very interested in seeing,” including The Early Show and The Martha Stewart Show.
Gigi Clark, BC ’12, said that any type of broadcasted information would increase her chances to attend viewings without requiring personal connections. TV show tapings, she explained, “aren’t very publicized. You seem to have to know about them in some sort of underground network.” When asked if she would appreciate CU Arts making an effort to include television in their repertoire, Clark eagerly responded, “Yes! I’d love an easy way to see TV tapings. I would be more likely to go that way.”
“Sounds like a great idea,” Mosher said. “If there’s interest and we can get them we will, and we’ll figure out how to list on the Web site.”
Scala agreed: “As the TIC is a resource for students to create their own events, as well as simply selling inventory, it would be my pleasure to make all of this information available through our Web site so that students may apply for individual tickets to their favorite TV shows and organize their own group outings.”