The following is purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laugh while reading this, while framing this, or while burning this. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?
On the one hand you could call these 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs a success. On the other hand you could be OLN. While the succulent unpredictability of this post-season continues, coverage on the OLN is floundering badly. Television ratings for the first two rounds have them garnering a 0.3 share. To put that in perspective that means only one in every five hundred American households is tuned to their coverage, and that guy thinks he's watching a gameshow.
It only promises to get better for the rookie network as they prepare for the Final Four from Hell, trying to sell an obscure sport to a disinterested public with about as much popularity as polio. Can it be done? Certainly, but they have to be ready and willing to think outside the box a little. For instanceÂ…
Play up the nature angle. The next time you re-run that boring Exxon Valdez documentary for the umpteenth time, try getting creative:
(Voiceover): You think Oil is bad for Arctic terns? Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. to see the havoc it can reek on ducks. You'd be surprised the five or six viewers you could keep instead of losing them every week to Crocheting with the Stars.
Change Announcers. No offense to the lame talking heads you have now, but who wants to hear hockey experts talk about hockey? Certainly not the viewers you're trying to attract. They want flashy, shallow, preferably inebriated broadcasters that will enlighten, entertain and baffle this picky demographic. Imagine Paris Hilton (Â“...how do they get so many ice cubes on the floor like that?Â” ), Steve Irwin ( Â“by crikey, that feller took one heckuva wallop, didn't he lads?Â” ) or Ozzy Osbourne ( Â“Â…gaaaaawwwwwÂ…I'm not talking till I find me otherÂ…gaaawwwwÂ…slipperÂ” ). Now who would you rather watch?
Drinking Games. College kids are the hardest to attract and the most desirable to advertisers. Want to increase your frat share? Try talking in their language.
(Announcer): Remember everybody, you can only chug when your team goes offside. If you accidentally chug for the wrong team, you must do another shot and hold your breath until the next commercial. If the next commercial is a beer ad you must keep doing shots until your team goes offside again, in which case you will chug twice as a penalty. Speaking of penaltiesÂ…You get the picture.
Embellish a little. Truth is for losers. Sure, Â“factsÂ” are important but a lot of times, but they're not exactly interesting. Who says the Stanley Cup isn't R2D2's first cousin? Or that the penalty box doesn't fill with water during the penalty, pitting the violator against the clock in a race for survival? Or that a goalie's equipment isn't bulletproof? Promote the sizzle and the steak will sell. Think of the B.S. buzz you'll create.
Alpacas. You're OLN. People expect a few monkeys in the machinery or, in this case, alpacas in the broadcast center, the control room, and following the Zamboni. Alpacas are known to be very spontaneous animals. Turn a couple dozen loose during telecasts and watch the fun meter go batty. You think they'd have the cajones to try that on ESPN?
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Tuesday and Thursday, only on thehockeynews.com.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org