A unique new game show aiming to raise awareness about American Sign Language and the deaf community is being filmed in Pittsburgh.
Each episode of the show, dubbed “SignTasTic!,” features two contestants who have to learn 50 sign language words before the show. The show then tests how well they’ve learned those words through activities such as trivia games and charades that all revolve around American Sign Language.
The host, Dan Cook, and the performers who are involved in the show are all deaf. The contestants aren’t deaf but learn sign language words through the game.
“It’s focusing on deaf and hearing people. It’s bringing the two worlds together,” Cook said via an interpreter.
Cook said he hopes the show will encourage people to learn some sign language so they can better communicate with individuals in the deaf community, breaking down the “invisible barrier between hearing and deaf worlds.”
Cook, a Pittsburgh native, has a master’s degree in American Sign Language and teaches as an American Sign Language professor at CCAC.
He developed the idea for the show with Silent Visual Media owners David S. Keinath and Heather Gray. Gray also serves as the show’s executive director and co-host.
Cook said he believes the show is the first in television history to revolve around sign language.
We’re really in uncharted territory,” he said.
The budget on the initial production was about $1.2 million.
Details about when and where the show will air have not been announced. The show has not yet been sold and is not in distribution.