ANOTHER GREAT SOURCE OF SHOW PREP
by Dan O'Day
This is the second in a series of articles
designed to break through the the barrier of the "DJ mentality"
with the message that there is no shortage of original show prep material...if
you just know where to look for it.
And where do you look for it?
Everywhere. Anywhere. It's all around
For example, TV GUIDE.
I have in front of me a recent issue
of this weekly publication. Let's see what ideas it contains. (I do NOT
expect you to love each one. But can you find ANY ideas that you could
turn into something interesting for on-air use?)
The cover story is entitled
"The Best Show You're Not Watching."
at this stage all we do is list ideas. We do not judge or edit while we
compile our list.)
1. What is the worst TV show you ever
2. What was the one best moment you
ever saw on TV?
3. What's the first thing you ever
saw on TV?
4. What TV show are you embarrassed
to admit you enjoy?
5. What TV character does your spouse
6. Which TV show most closely resembles
7. Who remembers "WINKY DINK &
Also on the cover: "Martha
Stewart's Prime-Time Celebration (With Miss Piggy!)"
8. (Dumb Morning Show Character)'s
Tips for Stylish Entertaining
9. Real-life embarrassing moments at
public events (start with your own, air others from callers)
Advertisement for Ford: "A
lot of people are surprised by car prices, but how many are pleasantly
10. If other professions operated the
way car dealers do.
(Example: A doctor quotes you a price
for taking out your appendix. You agree, and then he returns to tell you,
"Gee, I'm really sorry, but my Sales Manager just won't go along with
that deal. But he did say if you'd also get your gall bladder removed,
he's sure we can work out a great price for you....")
The ad features a photo of a man, alongside
a photo of a car. The man is black. This reminds me of the mid-to-late
1960s, when black people finally started appearing in "mainstream"
print ads and TV commercials:
11. Okay, we've got a long way to go.
But in what ways are things better among the races than they were when
you were growing up?
12. Okay, we're facing a lot of problems.
But in what ways are things better today than when we were growing up.
13. What was your favorite TV dinner
when you were a kid?
14. What was the one food that you
hated but that your parents made you eat?
15. What is your favorite, dumb personal
recipe? (Example: spaghetti with canned chili instead of sauce)
16. What is your spouse's weird eating
17. What was your High School Cafeteria
Meal From Hell?
18. What's the one thing you learned
in high school that you still use today?
19. Humorous list of classes they should
teach in high school
20. Idiosyncrasies of various parts
of the country. (Example: In Cincinnati, instead of saying, "What?"
people say, "Please?")
21. Different food names in different
parts of the country (or world). (Example: What most people call a "milkshake,"
people in Massachusetts call a "frappe.")
22. Describe your absolutely perfect,
ideal meal (money no object).
An advertisement for a women's
razor features a man pulling off his t-shirt, with the caption: "His
razor has never even seen an underarm. And you're going to let it shave
23. What did people use before there
24. Is there anyone in the audience
who shares a razor with his or her spouse?
25. True or False: Women think it's
sexy for men to shave in the shower.
26. The most embarrassing thing to
happen to you on a date. (This was suggested by #25, which reminded me
of the time, many years ago, when I was so excited about my date that evening
that I nicked myself while shaving. I still bear the tiny scar.)
A Message from the Editor talks
about TV Guide's "fresh new look and exciting new features. Thought-Starters:
27. Fake commercial for the new, improved
Mafia...with a greater emphasis on "Customer Service"
28. Fake commercial for U.S. Post Office,
boasting about how much better their service is
29. Fake commercial for TV network,
boasting about the "fresh new look of their new TV shows." (Examples:
"A widowed father of eight marries a widowed mother of six...and the
"He's a hard-boiled detective
who plays by his own rules."
"An attractive young couple with
virtually nothing in common try to make their romance work...and the laughs
30. News feature comparing current
political candidates promises with the ones they made the last time they
ran for re-election.
31. Translating political doubletalk
A) A Political Dictionary
B) Simultaneous "translation"
of politician's speech
An article about BAYWATCH'S Pamela
Lee (aka Pamela Anderson)....
32. If people really acted like the
stars of BAYWATCH
(Example: Pamela Lee attends a funeral
wearing a black string bikini.)
Example: David Hasselhoff goes
to a job interview with an executive recruitment firm...and spends the
interview time oiling his pecs & biceps.)
33. "Where Are They Now"
feature on older TV, movie or music stars. (Could be a weekly segment.)
34. "Where Are They Now"
feature on local celebrities of the past (mayors, star athletes, etc.)
In "Ask TV GUIDE,"
a reader asks, "Daniel Davis steals the show as the butler
on THE NANNY. Is his English accent real?" Answer: He's from Little
35. Comedic "little known facts"
36. Deliberately dumb trivia contest
in which all the answers are incredibly obvious
Advertisement for a "one-cup
37. Other inventions that are needed
for single people
38. Humorous things that could be sold
via vending machines (e.g., rent a lawyer)
39. The weirdest thing a listener (or
listener's spouse) eats for breakfast
Review of show, "HIGH SOCIETY"....
40. Have Shakespearean scholar (contact
university) review dumb sitcom or action series a though it were high drama
41. Have the mayor review tv shows
42. Have entertaining, real old codger
review youth-oriented films
43. Send intern, producer or listener
out to report on the cost of popcorn & soda at all local theaters
44. Morning show host movie premiere
at 4:00AM on the day the big movie opens
45. Have your sales manager (real or
fictitious) review movies, always from a mercenary point of view (e.g.,
"Those kids in E.T. should have charged a fee for getting that alien
back to the spaceship....")
Advertisement for automobile:
"Why walk on the wild side when you can drive it?"
46. Dumb commercials parodying real
ones (e.g., a spot that gives you bad breath, for use when you just don't
want to kiss that guy)
"Claudia's First Kiss"
- (article about a character on "PARTY OF FIVE")
47. Listeners share stories about their
48. Most romantic thing your spouse
49. Bad date stories
50. Ideas for romantic dates
51. Unusual places for honeymoons
52. Listeners' favorite movies
53. Listeners' least favorite movies
54. Survey local bigwigs (mayor, police
chief, etc.) to ask about their all-time favorite movies... BUT you've
set them up with bogus answers. (Should be funny to hear, and it lets them
poke gentle fun at themselves.)
Ad for "New Frosted Cheerios"....
55. New Sugar-Coated Chocolate Fudge
56. Kellogg's All-New Children's Cavity-Starters
Article on Diedre Hall, about
her tv movie: "NEVER SAY NEVER: THE DIERDRE HALL STORY." This
is the story of how she overcame...infertility. (I'm not making that up.)
57. "I Want My Waist Back: The
True Story of Sally Struthers And Her Fight Against Cellulite"
58. Tabloid headline: "Wendy's
Founder Dave Thomas' Startling Confession: 'I'm Really A Vegetarian!'"
But Dan, what is your point?
If you only look at the front page
of the newspaper every day, your ideas tend to be very similar to everyone
else's. If you look in unusual places, you're more likely to find original