Lights, Camera and Some Action
Finger Furniture hits the sweepstakes jackpot: Store's the stage for new realityTV show
Finger Furniture on the Gulf Freeway became reality show central Thursday, as Stiletto Television moved in and rearranged the place to shoot the tentatively titled Sweepstakes Superstars. In true television fashion, there was a lot of hurry up and wait, but once the cameras rolled, the audience got a chance for their 15 seconds and the local furniture store got a crack at national exposure.
The production team found Finger after combing the Internet for a family-owned furniture store and was impressed with its community involvement, inventory and Roseann Rogers, the face of Finger. The team flew to Houston to scout the store and within days, sent a contract for the show that involved five women from across the country competing for an entire house of furniture.
A cameraman and Rogers became pinch-hitting makeup artists, adding powder and color to the contestants under the bright lights attached to the ceiling tiles.
From what we gathered, the women fall into the “super shopper” or TLC’s Extreme Couponing set and land huge prizes and cash based on entering sweepstakes.
Because of contractual constraints, the production team didn’t say much about the show, but Rogers says to expect a possible fall air date on a major cable network. The women chosen for the show were also kept off limits from any press, but we do know there is one local contestant, as well as a woman from Alabama. Five blue recliners were set in a row and the women had to throw as many orange and white balls in a glass jar as they could within a certain time. It was very Minute to Win It, which wouldn’t be much of a stretch since Stiletto Television is behind that NBC show as well as Donald Trump's The Apprentice.
“They have amazing credentials,” Rogers says.
“Reality shows are all about timing,” Rogers continues. “There may be another show like this being filmed in the future, so it’s all about being the first to air.” Rogers is also hosting the one-time pilot episode filmed at Finger Furniture.
The behind-the-scenes moments are almost always more interesting than what happens on camera and while there were definite breaks in filming, it was interesting to watch the crew take on various roles. A cameraman and Rogers became pinch-hitting makeup artists, adding powder and color to the contestants under the bright lights attached to the ceiling tiles. Just as the women were about to start popping balls into the glass jars, the game was stopped because the buckets holding the balls needed to be taped down.
The crowd was instructed to clap and cheer on demand while three cameras roamed the small crowd looking for the most enthusiastic audience members. One of the contestant’s little girls kept cheering for her mother, so odds are, she will get lots of TV face time.
Three hours in and filming was only half-finished, so I left my post under the Blue Bunny Ice Cream umbrella and headed out. When Sweepstakes Superstars does air, you can bet it'll be a zippy 22-minute game show, because that’s just the way television works.