Two stations have taken very different approaches to the makeover craze.
ABC affiliate WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach, Fla., will air a one-hour makeover special Dec. 4 that has eight sponsors and more than seven subjects.
“It is a perfect opportunity to hit a popular trend and have a very profitable extension of local programming,” said Viki Regan, VP and general manager of the Hearst-Argyle station.
“Keeping it out of news allows us more flexibility and creativity and time … and I consider it a significant separation of church and state,” Ms. Regan said. “The most significant downside is it is very production-intensive.”
The station began selling the program at the beginning of third quarter and immediately picked up many nontraditional advertisers. A month later it started production.
“Living in West Palm Beach, where it is quite common to have hair restoration surgery and cosmetic surgery, makes this a perfect opportunity for us, the sponsors and the advertisers,” she said.
KIMO-TV in Anchorage, Alaska, an ABC affiliate owned by owned by Smith Broadcast Group of Alaska, allowed only four sponsors and one viewer to participate in its “Extreme Makeover,” which is airing in its “Health Watch” segment over an 18-week period from Aug. 25 through Dec. 22.
Two sponsors are allowed per week, alternating every other week with two others. Each received one 30-second commercial message every other Wednesday and five 15-second shared sponsor mentions during their sponsorship week.
The viewer participant, selected from among many video entrants, received a one-year gym membership, a day at a spa and a dental makeover from the dentist sponsor.
“The hardest part of this was watching the videos of people saying why they needed an extreme makeover,” Sales Manager Jeff Glaser said. “They would tell their life story as to why, and by the time they were done you would cry.”