What does it take to get someone’s attention? That’s a question my fellow TV producers and I ask each other all the time. A good story just doesn’t cut it anymore for cable TV. You have to add big characters, unique access, and over-the-top behavior to get a show on TV. And if you have all those things, you often don’t even need the “story” part at all…um, Kardashians, anyone?
If attention-getting headlines about restraining orders, overturned tables, and swamp seizures aren’t enough to drive ratings, what is? I’d like to suggest teal Grand Ams, unicorns, and ill-conceived line graphs. At least, that’s what captured my attention when I saw the best Craigslist ad ever.
The ad promises that driving the ’95 Pontiac Grand Am will be “better than your last four romantic encounters…combined.” That’s a helluva car. Despite reducing the price from $199,999 to a mere $700 (“What?!” the ad exclaims in red next to the phrase “Jesus Tap-dancing Christ”), the car hasn’t sold. But it has gotten people’s attention.
Personally, I’d love to watch a show about the best Craigslist ads, complete with SPFX, live animals, and synch-sound recreations of UGLY MEAN CAT, Jedi Needed to Induce Labor, Lifetime supply of hot sauce, and Look at this Crazy Fish!
Until then, I’m watching Downton Abbey.