Do you watch your favorite talk shows to be entertained and informed or to win prizes? Recently our most popular American talk shows have started looking like game shows with more gifts and deals than Drew Carey’s The Price is Right on CBS.
All over the television landscape, talk shows work hard to make us watch. However they’re not luring us to tune in with more fascinating topics or by bringing on better guests, they’re using free giveaways of products, prizes, trips and even brand new cars to win our loyalty.
Oprah gave away new cars to a lucky studio audience a few years ago. Did she start the ball rolling with her big car extravaganza? Although Oprah Winfrey may have topped most other talk shows with such a generous prize, her wildly elated automobile gifted audience wasn’t the first to benefit from prizes on talk shows. Rosie O’Donell made prize giveaways a regular part of The Rosie O’Donnell Show.
Once viewers gasped in shocked joy at a gift from a talk show, now it’s almost an expected element to daily chat fests. Let’s examine popular talk shows and their gift giving.
Regis & Kelly
Way back in the Regis & Kathie Lee Gifford days, this talk show had a regular prize contest and it still does. Callers ring into the show to answer trivia questions. If correct, they win a prize, then select a number which corresponds to a seat in the live studio audience so that person also gets a prize. TV talk show tickets may be free, but with this kind of profitable inducement, audiences line up around the block to participate.
When Rosie O’Donnell joined the girl gabfest in 2006, she brought her love of theater along with live performances of NYC Broadway theater musical casts. She also brought her love of giving things away to the audience. Sponsor Staples has gotten into the act using their marketing gimmick of the “Easy Button” – photos are flashed quickly on a video screen and then one of The View girls press a prop easy button which selects a lucky person for a gift
The always energetic and feisty Food Network star and now daytime talk and variety show host, gives away everything from cookbooks to DVDs. What’s perhaps most fun for viewers is seeing her cook up dishes and then seeing if she’ll give away something related to the meal
Oprah’s psychiatric discovery has now carved a truly popular career of his own appearing on his own daily advice show and practically anywhere else that will bring him on as a guest. Dr. Phil McGraw gives away advice and also has an after care type of program to help troubled guests with their problems. His trademark is giving away gifts of advice, not prizes.
Montel’s show has morphed into The Sylvia Browne Show by showcasing professional psychic advisor Sylvia Browne. Here, Montel sits by as Sylvia gives her unique brand of cosmic inspired advice to an often stunned audience. Say what you will about Sylvia Browne, she’s never boring.