Cop-comedy “Rowan 911!” returns to RTN

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A screenshot from the reboot of student comedy "Rowan 911!"

The beloved student-comedy “Rowan 911!” will return to Rowan Television Network (RTN) on Channel 5 this fall, after three years off the air.

“Rowan 911!” is a parody of police-themed Comedy Central series “Reno 911!” which aired from 2003-09. The student-produced, Rowan Police show was originally created and produced by Josh Hersch and Joe Ponisi in 2012.

Four episodes were released during the 2012 school year. They can be watched on Rowan911RTN’s YouTube. The show was a “Best Comedy” finalist for the 2013 CBI National Student Production Award.

When the members of the original “Rowan 911!” team either graduated or moved on, episodes of the show stopped being made. This semester, however, three radio-TV-film majors are bringing it back. Sophomore Taylor Forte, junior Adriana Alpizar and senior Barry James are writing, editing, directing, producing and starring in the new “Rowan 911!”

The group became inspired to revive “Rowan 911!” because of a class project last year. They worked with a student named Shannon Kagan on a reboot called “Rowan 911! Reloaded.” It had the same police theme, but with different characters.

James wants the reboot to be “fresh,” but still a throwback to the original.

“[‘Reloaded’] was entertaining for different reasons, but it wasn’t what we were passionate about,” James said. “This summer, Adriana and I…would just have days where we would just watch all of our favorite comedies and stuff. Or hours and hours of Reno.”

This inspired them to look into “Rowan 911!,” three years after the series went dark.

James, Forte and Alpizar want to grow an audience so dedicated that they wait with anticipation for new episodes.

“We want people to be excited for the episodes to come out,” said Alpizar. “We want people to be excited to watch it. We want people to be waiting on their computers for us to refresh the page for the new link.”

Forte thinks people should watch “Rowan 911!” because it is different than RTN’s regular programming on Channel 5.

Sophomore Taylor Forte, junior Adriana Alpizar, and senior Barry James are writing, editing, directing, producing and starring in "Rowan 911!" - Staff Photo/Leon Purvis
Sophomore Taylor Forte, junior Adriana Alpizar, and senior Barry James are writing, editing, directing, producing and starring in “Rowan 911!” -Staff Photo/Leon Purvis

“When you think of Channel 5, you think of, like, hockey and On The Couch and Game On, which are great; they do a wonderful job,” Forte said. “But this is something that…you can attach yourself to these characters and watch them evolve. And…laugh with your friends. Not that all of RTN is serious matter all the time, but having this is just something you can really watch every week and become a fan of.”

An episode of “Rowan 911!” runs at 11 minutes long. The production team is planning on releasing eight episodes per semester.

The season premiere and the time slot on RTN have not yet been announced, but, according to the teaser, the show will be released “fall 2016.” Watch the teaser here. Stay up-to-date with “Rowan 911!” announcements on their Facebook.

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