Monday, October 18, 2010

The November 2010 sweeps ideas are in!

Yes, back by popular demand (or at least the hit count the last time I did this), the great sweeps list is ready for distribution.

While many of you have already been assigned pieces or series for November, some managers wait till the last minute and then demand ideas. With that in mind, here are some sure fire winners if you're tapped out in the enterprise story department.

-Trick or Treat, it's Lady Gaga: Okay, this is a pre-sweeps package, as it must air in late October, but it's a great consumer piece for these troubled economic times and will get viewers pumped up for November. Cash strapped parents no longer have to spend a small fortune to dress up their daughters on Halloween; simply combine anything that falls out of the back of the closet and poof! You've got a Lady Gaga costume. Since the singer doesn't wear the same thing twice, you've got an unlimited supply of options. Platform shoes, chest waders and a pith helmet? You're Lady Gaga! 3-D glasses, a leisure suit and bowling shoes? Lady Gaga again!

-New stuff that can kill you: The classic sweeps favorite is back! You think viewers are scared of infected eggs or worried about disinfecting shopping cart handles? Please. That is so five minutes ago. Time to take them to a new level of fear and send them cowering under the bed for the entire month. This year's series focuses on a business traveler who hits the trifecta of death when he deals with an unsanitized steering wheel in a rental car, leans back on a bacteria laden headrest on an airplane and caps off his day when he arrives home and unpacks his checked suitcase which was sneezed on by a airport baggage handler not wearing a mask. Feeling ill, he crawls into bed, but a surprise awaits as bed bugs have hitched a ride on his suitcase and jumped into the mattress when he unpacked. He later develops a fatal case of restless leg syndrome when the bed bugs bite him, forcing him to jerk awake and thrust out his leg, thereby knocking over a lamp on his end table which hits him in the head and sends him into a permanent dirt nap.

-Will my teenage daughter ever talk again?: A two-parter focusing on teen girls obsession with text messaging. In part one, parents lament that their 16 year old daughter has not actually spoken in three years. After spending two thousand dollars consulting with a psychologist, they contact their cell phone provider to turn off the text messaging plan on the daughter's phone. In part two we see the daughter's reaction as she tries to scream but is unsuccessful, as her vocal chords have atrophied due to lack of use.

-Make your own Snuggie for Christmas: Viewers are taken through a step by step process as they are shown how they can wear a bathrobe backwards and pretend it is a Snuggie.

-The Eliot Spitzer career advancement program: In this series a frustrated anchor who has been trapped in Palookaville for ten years puts together a horrible resume tape and sends out 100 copies with no response. In part two he cheats on his wife with an escort, leaves his job in shame, and is offered a network gig as a talk show host.

-Thanksgiving without Tiger Woods: Reporter goes in search of the most high profile local celebrity with the most mistresses in order to fill the holiday void created by the golfer's divorce.

-Thanksgiving with Brett Favre: In this piece a middle-aged male reporter shows people who are bored spending time with family over the holidays how to have fun with a cell phone. The reporter sends text messages to Brett Favre, pretending to be an attractive woman, then waits to see what he gets in reply.

-"It's a teenager's worst nightmare!": Time to retire the all-time most overused story intro, "It's a parent's worst nightmare!" since it now applies to about a dozen scenarios. In this series we turn the tables on the kids as we strive to find out what is truly the most horrifying incident to teenagers. In part one parents show up at the senior prom to watch their children, then take to the dance floor themselves. In part two moms open twitter accounts and sent tweets to the close friends of their children with messages like, "Make sure my son wears his hat on the way home, it's cold outside!" Finally, in part three, helicopter parents tail their sons on a date, then show up at the same movie theater and start making out in the front row.

-Convert your social networking to the real world and save at least ten hours per week: Reporters should find an agoraphobe living in his mother's basement who is obsessed with Facebook and Twitter and force the person to apply the principles in the outside world. Cameras must follow the subject as he is forced to take a photo out into a crowd and ask every person, "Do you like this?" Once this task is completed, the person will be required to speak in very short non sequiturs to complete strangers. "I just fed the cat." "My coffee is cold and I'm out of milk." "The new Star Trek movie rocks." In part two of this series, the agoraphobe is shown the folly of his ways, acquires a rocket science PhD with all his new found free time and gets a telecommuting job with NASA, albeit while still wearing a set of Spock ears in his mother's basement.

-"You may find our next story disturbing...": In this social experiment, every single story aired during the first three weeks of sweeps month is begun with this phrase even if the story is not remotely disturbing. For instance, a script might read, "You may find this next story disturbing... city officials have scheduled a special zoning board meeting," or, "You may find this next story disturbing... drinking orange juice every day may lower your cholesterol." During the final week of sweeps we show the station's ratings have skyrocketed during the experiment, necessitating the name change of the station newscast from "Eyemissed It News" to "Disturbing News Live."

-Hurricane Roulette: In this one-parter the Chief Meteorologist tries to explain why the National Hurricane Center has been so far off in predictions the past few years, focusing on the fact that the storms are being predicted by people living in Colorado.

-The vampire next door: A clever ruse designed to capitalize on the recent vampire craze and hopefully attract young female viewers who never watch local news. The key to this series success is a promo featuring a shirtless hunk detailing the fact that vampires exist; and trick is to run the promo every day as if the series is coming up in the next newscast. Then, after running teases throughout the newscast, the anchor will apologize at the end of the newscast and say, "Sorry, but we've run out of time. Our series on vampires will air tomorrow at 6." Then, simply continue the pattern of running promos all day, teases throughout the newscast, and a run-out-of-time apology. The vampire obsessed with continue to watch day after day in the hopes of seeing a piece on bloodsuckers which, in reality, has never even been produced.


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