By Barb Oates
Yesterday TLC began filming a pilot that focuses on the extreme side of sweepstakes, introducing viewers to the most passionate sweepstakes participants in their presently titled High Stakes Sweepers. The one-hour pilot special, scheduled to debut in August, hopes to follow the lead of TLC’s current hit Extreme Couponing and viewers fascination with “found money” programming.
The special showcases the strategy and surprising winnings of five everyday people who do everything they can to win big. And, they are not alone. According to the Direct Marketing Association, 55 million Americans per year enter sweepstakes, and around 15 million enter four or more a year.
The pilot introduces viewers to a select group of die-hard “sweepers,” who spend up to 60 hours per week (yep, that’s more hours than you currently work!) 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. These sweepers are raiding the supermarkets, taking their kids dumpster-diving for bottle caps, and relying on both strategies and superstitions to improve their chances — and it appears to be working. These people have won anything from a year’s supply of beer to $1.2 million in prizes. You’ll be able to check out their world to see how sweeping has affected their lives, see the thousands of things they’ve won, and be there when the doorbell rings for the next big prize.
Find more extensive coverage of the show in Channel Guide Magazine‘s August edition.