Jolette Law hosts own TV program

Erica Magda

Erica Magda

By Wesley Deberry

Some dream of being president of the United States. Some dream of being an astronaut. Jolette Law was among the many kids who dreamed of being an Olympic athlete.

Her dream of participating in the Olympics would never come true, but her admiration for the Olympic athletes never diminished. In the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, U.S. sprinter Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith-Joyner’s had dominating performances in the 100- and 200-meters. For those 10 seconds or so, it was the Flo-Jo show. All the cameras were focused on her, capturing her every motion.

“I would love to do that one day,” Law said she often thought to herself.

Little did Law know that 20 years later she, too, would have cameras focused on her on the set of her own TV show: The Jolette Law Show. Long-time Illini radio personality Dave Loane shares the spotlight with Law. The show debuted at 11 p.m. on Jan. 6 on WCIA channel 3. It re-aired on Jan. 8 at 1 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

Before the beginning of the season Law met with Andy Young, Jason Marry and Eric Frey of the Video Services Department at the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, also known as Illini Productions. Operating out of a former storage space in the Bielfeldt Administration Building, the video services department is responsible for producing the Ron Zook Show, Bruce Weber Show, former Illini women’s basketball coach Theresa Grentz’s show and all video feeds inside Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall. Marry and Frey were assigned to work specifically on the Jolette Law Show.

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At the preseason meeting, Illini Productions and Law discussed different aspects of the show and filming procedures. From a recruiting standpoint, Law immediately saw the show could be a good tool to develop relationships.

“It gives kids from all across the country an opportunity to see our players, our facilities and to get a feel for me and what we are all about,” Law said.

Behind the Scenes

At both home and away games the video services members may go unnoticed. From collecting game film to mapping out the time line of the show, members of this department are the driving force behind the scenes.

Unlike Oprah Winfrey or Larry King, Law is not as involved in the actual production of the show. Instead, Law concentrates on winning during the week, while Assistant Sports Information Director Derek Neal meets with Director of Video Services Andy Young to discuss story ideas and make plans for the show.

A feature on Illini rising star Jenna Smith and an interview with Illini forward Danyel Crutcher were in the game plan for last Sunday’s show. With their task set, Young and his staff worked four days to prepare the Smith feature.

“Some features can take longer than that,” Young said. “It just kind of depends on the story.”

The Illini’s night game last Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, and a scheduled Friday morning shoot for the Jolette Law Show put Young and his staff in a slight time crunch to create the Ohio State highlights early Friday morning.

Frey came in at 6 a.m. to make the highlight tape for the morning shooting of the Jolette Law Show.

Young said the highlight tape is an integral part to the show, as some portions consisted of Law and Loane commentating while watching Illini highlights.

Setting up cameras, connecting cables and making a mock set for the show inside the women’s basketball team locker room at Ubben Basketball Facility took about 30 minutes.


After everything is finalized and the cameras are ready to role, the star of the show appears on scene. At around 10:30 a.m. last Friday, Law entered the Illini women’s basketball team’s locker room at Ubben Basketball Facility. She was given game notes and statistics from the Illini’s most recent loss to Ohio State.

As if suddenly going back to her college days as a member of Iowa’s women’s basketball team, Law found her self being coached by host Dave Loane as they watched the Illinois-Ohio State game highlights. He let Law know what questions she was going to be asked and about how long a response she should give.

Law quietly listened. As the cameras were set to role she searched for a smile beneath a deep sea of disappointment from the previous night’s loss.

“Ten … nine … eight … seven … ,” Law said, as instructed by the camera man to ensure sound levels were correct.

Without much difficulty, Law and Loane breeze through her portion of the show. After a few brief conversations and saying thank you to Illini Productions, Law leaves the locker room.

The members of Illini Productions pack up their equipment and head back to tight storage closet inside Bielfeldt Administration Building. With all the filming done, they spend the rest of the day turning segments of tape into a finished product.

“You can spend all week doing everything else but most of the time is spent in post production,” Young said. “Hopefully, we will have it done by early evening.”

By then, Law is preparing for the next game. Like an athlete at the end of the game, her time in the limelight is over for now.

Following the blueprint laid by other Big Ten schools, the University is in the process of building a film studio. Room 1006 inside the Bielfeldt Administration Building will be the multi-million dollar home of the Jolette Law Show, the Ron Zook Show and the Bruce Weber Show, as well as the nucleus of all visual action in Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall.

“Everything kind of came together at the same time,” Director of Video Services for Illini Productions Andy Young said, mentioning the needs for the Big Ten Network to shoot live interviews and the Video Services Department to shoot coaches shows.

In May of 2007, Young teamed up with engineers and architects to design the new studio. Though working with limited space, they designed a studio including a separate control room and editing suits.

“It’s obviously not the largest studio in the world, but in terms of what we are using it for its going to be perfect,” Young said.

For Young and his staff, the studio will make production more straight forward. Currently they must tape different segments of shows or programming and piece them together at a later time. Upon the studio completion, Illini Production will be able to shoot a show from beginning to end with minimal editing.

Aside from having a new studio, Illini Productions will also be updating their video equipment. All the equipment purchased for the new studio is high definition compatible.

“The goal is probably within the next five years to become completely high definition,” Young said.

The Illini women’s basketball game at 1 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Assembly Hall against Indiana will be the last game Illini Productions coordinates before entering into their new studio.