Students Get On-Air Exposure on Local TV Program

jeremy-casabella
el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">JEREMY CASABELLA
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Since it first aired six months ago, “World Entertainment Connections,” with a staff that includes GCC students, has developed into a distinct entertainment TV show, focuses not only on traditional Hollywood hubbub, but also on Glendale’s entertainment scene and the international industry.

The program is distinguishable from more mainstream shows like “Access Hollywood,” not only in its diverse take on the entertainment world, but also through its connective element with the Glendale community. “The difference is… you can reach us,” said executive producer Vahik “Vic” Pirhamzei, who regularly receives interview suggestions and music video requests from local viewers. Pirhamzei says he is happy to do what he can to make those requests happen.

GCC students are an active element in every episode of the show. El Vaquero’s Michelle Mack hosts a segment of entertainment news for the program, and GCC student Arin Mikailian reviews movies and DVD releases. This link between Glendale College and “W.E. Connections” provides the show with a perspective that students can connect with. It also allows Mack and Mikailian to receive direct feedback from classmates and peers. “I go to Glendale College… all of my friends are at Glendale College,” said Mikailian, 20, who also said his age might play a part in his ability to meet the needs of student viewers.

“W.E. Connections'” cast and crew feel that the program has undergone a number of noticeable changes since it first aired in October. “The editing is crisper, the interviews are more entertaining and the talent is more widely known,” said Kurt Sinclair, who hosts a segment titled “Act Up!” aimed at connecting aspiring actors with established coaches, schools and other resources in the area.

“The show has changed so much,” said UCLA alumna Jill Simonian, who hosts for the show. “When we started we were still trying to find our niche… now we’ve expanded to Hollywood premieres and large scale events.” Simonian’s red carpet coverage at last years Academy Awards ceremonies was virtually indistinguishable in it’s professionalism from that of shows like “E! Entertainment.”

With its cast made up almost entirely of Glendale residents, “W.E. Connections,” maintains a distinct point of view not found in other programs. “We’re… going to the exact same events as ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and ‘Access Hollywood,’ said Simonian, “but we’re putting our own stamp on it.”

Still, “W.E. Connections” does not just address the entertainment and events of Glendale or Hollywood, “[it] combines the American industry and the international industry,” said Simonian. “We will also play music videos from the Middle East… and Europe,” said Mikailian. This is something most entertainment T.V. shows rarely do.

Accenting the more developed techniques of more tenured hosts like Mikailian and Simonian are a regular influx of new talent. Pirhamzei says viewers can expect to see at least two new members added to the cast over the coming weeks.

It will be apparent to those who watch “W.E. Connections” that, regardless of how long they have been with the program, everyone involved is having a good time making the show. Sinclair says the audience can tell it’s not just a job to the cast, and that they’re “doing it for the love of creating.”

“W.E. Connections” airs hour-long episodes in the Glendale/Burbank area on Channel 26 at 9 p.m. on Sundays and 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, on Channel 30 at 6 p.m. on Fridays and 11 a.m. on Saturdays and is available to residents of Tujunga, Sun Valley and Sylmar on Channel 27 at 9 p.m. on Mondays and 10 p.m. on Thursdays. The next new episode airs on Channel 26 at 9 p.m. on Sunday.