Posts Tagged ‘High Stakes Sweepers’

Watching Paint Dry

Posted on: July 25th, 2012 by carolyn

Last night, after a long day, we were all hanging out in the family room watching TLC’s What Not To Wear.  As we watched commercial after commercial for Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, it became very clear why the show High Stakes Sweepers was not picked up as a series.  (You may remember I was part of the Authentic Entertainment show pilot last summer.)  Sweepers and contestors are just not weird enough.

Honey Boo Boo is a little girl who is a break out personality from the show Toddlers in Tiaras. They are now running a series following her, her entire family and all their crazy adventures. Compared to her, watching us attempt to win big is like watching paint dry!

Speedbump 06/07/11

Reality TV vs. Unscripted Television

Posted on: September 7th, 2011 by carolyn

I wanted to touch on a few more points regarding the television show I participated in; High Stakes Sweepers.

High Stakes Sweepers is marketed as a reality TV show.  Since I have been through the process, I discovered, there is nothing real about it.  I would label the show, along with many others on television today; unscripted television.

What’s the difference?

Wikipedia states: Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded. [sic] Shows such as Survivor or The Amazing Race.  (Tim Goodson wrote a good article on the difference in 2008: The Difference Between Reality, Unscripted TV.)

My definition is: unscripted television is where the entire show is outlined, no different than a sitcom or TV movie except no script is written for the “actors” involved.

It was very obvious by the questions asked the producers at Authentic Entertainment had an agenda and knew what they wanted to capture on film so they could air the show they envisioned in their planning meetings.  What they didn’t take into account was the unpredictability of the hobby when they got the green light from TLC to produce the series.

When they arrived to film my segment, the director had a schedule of what they were going to film, and when, along with a series of questions.  Most of what I stated in the show was in response to a question the director asked me.  Most were very leading.  Many were plain wrong about how the hobby worked and I had to correct her.  Obviously, none of that footage made it to air.  (I wish I could remember some exact examples of questions asked, but it’s been three months since they were here.)

Since I have now been through the process of filming one of their shows, when I watch other programs on TLC, I can now tell what segments they have just let the camera roll and which segments have been staged and or guided betting the segment aired was take 3, 5 or 10.

Let’s face it.  They had to guide the process because they couldn’t make a show about what I or any other contestor does on a daily basis to enter.  No one would watch me click my mouse or tap on a keyboard for two hours.  Not much different than what Mark Zuckerberg stated regarding the reality of The Social Network, “I mean, the real story is actually probably pretty boring, right? I mean, we just sat at our computers for six years and coded.”  Zzzzzzzzzz………


TLC Orders New Pilot: "High Stakes Sweepers"

Posted on: June 8th, 2011 by carolyn



TLC – the network that revealed the extreme side of couponing – introduces viewers to the most passionate sweepstakes participants on the planet in the new one-hour pilot HIGH STAKES SWEEPERS (working title). Production on the special began this week and it will premiere later this summer.

“With HIGH STAKES SWEEPERS, TLC continues to tap into our viewers fascination with and desire for highly entertaining ‘found money’ programming. The special showcases the strategy and surprising winnings of these everyday people who do everything they can to win big,” said Amy Winter, GM, TLC.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, 55 million Americans per year enter sweepstakes, and around 15 million enter 4 or more a year. HIGH STAKES SWEEPERS tells the stories die-hard “sweepers,” who spend up to 60 hours per week searching for forms, buying products, and testing their luck in thousands of contests in the hopes of winning anything from a tube of toothpaste to a trip to Italy. They’re raiding the supermarkets, taking the kids dumpster-diving for bottle caps, and relying on both strategies and superstitions to improve their chances. Viewers will enter their world to see how sweeping has affected their lives, check out the thousands of things they’ve won, and be there when the doorbell rings for the next big prize.

The five sweepers profiled in the special include Ron, who will stop at nothing to save money on his daughter’s upcoming nuptials, and is trying to win everything for the wedding – from the honeymoon to the garter. Carolyn has lost her job and is convinced she can win enough through sweepstakes to earn a living. Sweeping Sisters Barbara and Patricia have won everything from a year’s supply of beer to a case of tampons, and they’re hungry for more! Robert has brought the entire family into his obsession, using his two young kids to help decorate envelopes in the hopes of improving their chances. Ret has won over 1.2 million dollars of prizes and will show us how she does it!


I am passionate about sweepstakes.  Not only do I enter on a daily basis, I love teaching others how to win along with helping companies create and manage better sweepstakes.  That’s why; I wrote You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter, wrote The Winning EDGE for seven years, aired With The Contest Queen for 2 years, continue to blog, tweet, teach and consult.  If I wasn’t so passionate, I wouldn’t put my heart, time or energy into something I didn’t believe in.  I know I have changed peoples lives which is why I continue to do what I do each day.

The Contest Queen Has Taught Others How to Win Over $1 Million in Prizes!

Sadly, the media release put out by TLC today doesn’t reflect the joy, excitement, adventures and friends that can be created by participating in such a unique hobby.  They took facts and sensationalized them to garner viewers.  As a marketer, I understand the process and the end result they are looking for (heaps of viewers resulting in the pilot becoming a hit series).  However, I am afraid the end result I am seeking and the one that will be aired, won’t match.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

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