For immediate release
Sept. 17, 2002
The lessons Cristina Terrill learned in her journalism classes at Abilene Christian University have been put into practice even sooner than she imagined - and next week those skills will be showcased to a national television audience.
Terrill, a senior integrated marketing communication major from Sugar Land, spent her summer vacation in Houston taping segments as one of four hosts of a new teenage talk show. "Teen Talk" will air in more than 100 media markets in major cities across the United States on Saturday mornings beginning Sept. 21. In Abilene, the show will air on the WB channel at 11 a.m. (Cox Cable channel 39).
"Two of the hosts had been on sitcoms and other shows," Terrill said. "I had a lot to learn. It was hard work - mornings, nights, weekends - but it was wonderful. I learned so much."
Terrill, who has aspirations of becoming an actress but first wanted to complete her degree, had been working as a summer intern at KTBU-TV. She just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Carolyn Clark, a Houston mother with no prior experience in TV, and her daughter had decided there should be a talk show designed specifically for teens. Clark took her plan to KTBU hoping to borrow their studio. KTBU adopted her idea and partnered with her to film and market the show.
As an intern at the station, Terrill expressed interest in being a host on the show.
"She stopped by my office one day to tell me she was interested in 'Teen Talk,'" Clark said. "She had the looks and the personality, but I knew hundreds of young people were auditioning - including several seasoned actors."
Terrill didn't make the first cut, but she continued to contribute to the show with ideas and research. When she offered to sit in as a guest on the show, she impressed the production company immediately.
"She blew us away," Clark said. "So we asked her to try being one of the hosts. She outshone two of the more experienced people, and she got the job."
Terrill and three other hosts guide discussions of topics of interest to teens, interview guests and talk with audience members. Within the conversations on "Teen Talk," Terrill had an opportunity to provide a Christian values-centered perspective.
"It was kind of hard, not having anyone else think the way I did about things," Terrill said. "But I always felt like someone out in the audience would be able to relate to my point of view. It was a good challenge for me."
At times she was told not to bring God into every discussion, a reality she was not accustomed to at ACU. But Terrill said the producers appreciated her values and honesty and saw that as a key element of the show.
"We're counting on her to be our moral, upstanding, say-the-truth host," Clark said. "The first show is about 'True Love Waits,' and Cristina speaks out about that. We did not cast her because she was a Christian - the camera really likes her - but we like her moral background, and we're glad she's not afraid to say, 'Let's do the right thing.'"
The academic background she received at ACU also aided in Terrill's success.
"Thanks to my announcing class with Larry Bradshaw, I knew how to read from a teleprompter," Terrill said. "I also got to do writing and producing for the show so I was able to use what I learned in my creative writing classes with Cheryl Bacon and Jeff Warr."
Terrill was also able to apply other lessons learned in ACU classes outside her major. She had just finished a Maymester class on leadership with Dr. Gary McCaleb, which she said was immensely applicable during the show.
"As soon as I got back to school, I went straight to Dr. McCaleb's office to thank him," Terrill said.
Terrill will tape more shows later in the semester and will graduate from ACU in December. She plans to pursue her acting career after graduation.
If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, university news coordinator.