Move over, Extreme Couponers. TLC is going after another quick money subculture: People obsessed with entering sweepstakes.
TLC has ordered the hour-long special High Stakes Sweepers, which follows passionate sweepstakes players as they spend their days and nights filling out contest entries in the hopes of striking it big. The new project comes fresh off the successful run of surprise hit Extreme Couponing, which has averaged nearly 2 million viewers and become a pop culture phenomenon.
Just like Extreme Couponing, which originally premiered as a one-time event last December, TLC will air the High Stakes Sweepers pilot as a special later this summer. The cable network will then decide whether to turn it into a regular series.
"With High Stakes Sweepers, TLC continues to tap into our viewers' fascination with and desire for highly entertaining 'found money' programming," says TLC general manager Amy Winter. "The special showcases the strategy and surprising winnings of these everyday people, who do everything they can to win big."
Production on the special started this week. TLC says High Stakes Sweepers will focus on "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."
The special will profile five sweepers, including a man who's trying to win everything for his daughter's wedding, as well as sisters who have won items such as a year's supply of beer and a case of tampons, and a woman who has won prizes worth more than $1.2 million. TLC cites Direct Marketing Association data, which estimates that 55 million Americans enter sweepstakes annually.
Authentic Entertainment (Toddlers & Tiaras, Flipping Out) is producing the show. As for Extreme Couponing, TLC airs a new episode of the hit series tonight at 9:30 p.m., with the season finale set for next Wednesday, June 15. TLC recently renewed the show for a second season.