TLC Orders New Pilot: "High Stakes Sweepers"



TLC – the network that revealed the extreme side of couponing – introduces viewers to the most passionate sweepstakes participants on the planet in the new one-hour pilot HIGH STAKES SWEEPERS (working title). Production on the special began this week and it will premiere later this summer.

“With HIGH STAKES SWEEPERS, TLC continues to tap into our viewers fascination with and desire for highly entertaining ‘found money’ programming. The special showcases the strategy and surprising winnings of these everyday people who do everything they can to win big,” said Amy Winter, GM, TLC.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, 55 million Americans per year enter sweepstakes, and around 15 million enter 4 or more a year. HIGH STAKES SWEEPERS tells the stories die-hard “sweepers,” who spend up to 60 hours per week searching for forms, buying products, and testing their luck in thousands of contests in the hopes of winning anything from a tube of toothpaste to a trip to Italy. They’re raiding the supermarkets, taking the kids dumpster-diving for bottle caps, and relying on both strategies and superstitions to improve their chances. Viewers will enter their world to see how sweeping has affected their lives, check out the thousands of things they’ve won, and be there when the doorbell rings for the next big prize.

The five sweepers profiled in the special include Ron, who will stop at nothing to save money on his daughter’s upcoming nuptials, and is trying to win everything for the wedding – from the honeymoon to the garter. Carolyn has lost her job and is convinced she can win enough through sweepstakes to earn a living. Sweeping Sisters Barbara and Patricia have won everything from a year’s supply of beer to a case of tampons, and they’re hungry for more! Robert has brought the entire family into his obsession, using his two young kids to help decorate envelopes in the hopes of improving their chances. Ret has won over 1.2 million dollars of prizes and will show us how she does it!


I am passionate about sweepstakes.  Not only do I enter on a daily basis, I love teaching others how to win along with helping companies create and manage better sweepstakes.  That’s why; I wrote You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter, wrote The Winning EDGE for seven years, aired With The Contest Queen for 2 years, continue to blog, tweet, teach and consult.  If I wasn’t so passionate, I wouldn’t put my heart, time or energy into something I didn’t believe in.  I know I have changed peoples lives which is why I continue to do what I do each day.

The Contest Queen Has Taught Others How to Win Over $1 Million in Prizes!

Sadly, the media release put out by TLC today doesn’t reflect the joy, excitement, adventures and friends that can be created by participating in such a unique hobby.  They took facts and sensationalized them to garner viewers.  As a marketer, I understand the process and the end result they are looking for (heaps of viewers resulting in the pilot becoming a hit series).  However, I am afraid the end result I am seeking and the one that will be aired, won’t match.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

2011-06-08T21:33:08+00:00 June 8th, 2011|Sweepstaking|14 Comments

About the Author:

Carolyn Wilman (aka @ContestQueen) is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Sweepstakes Specialist. Carolyn teaches others how to Find, Organize, Enter and Win giveaways along with working with companies to create, and viral market, winning promotions maximizing ROI and loyal customers.


  1. Kathy June 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    That is what I was afraid of, too. We’ll see.

  2. spamgirl June 9, 2011 at 11:28 am - Reply

    So that IS you? I hope they edit you well… I’ve been involved in reality TV for over a decade and have spoken to many participants. I really hope it goes better for you than it has for them 🙁

  3. Terry Young June 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Uh-oh…..well, I imagine that many of the people who try sweeping as a result of the show won’t have the stamina to stick with it that the rest of us do. And if someone does find our hobby and enjoys it, welcome!

  4. carolyn
    carolyn June 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    There is nothing like a relaxing energy balancing massage and a good night’s sleep to lift up one’s outlook and attitude. I feel much better and I am sure the show will reflect all the fun, excitement and adventures one can have if they become a “high stakes sweeper”.

  5. Lily @Militaryfamof8 June 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Great post, and I completely agree with it, what was told to me at the beginning was not what was at the end, what they are looking for is mass viewers, not portraying how I see and love sweeps lol You’re right, I have met great friends from sweeping, you being one of them, 😉

  6. Mary Kelly July 11, 2011 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    I refused when they called me to be a part of this as I knew that was what would happen. That has happened to me before.

  7. Rob Campbell July 12, 2011 at 6:57 am - Reply

    Hey Carolyn great blog post – could use some pictures – but this is a start of your TV career. When this gets picked up your own resume of TV credits will grow alongside your winners – you can host your own show in five years, about being Canada’s best contest blogger.

  8. PATSY July 12, 2011 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Lots of work goes into being a sweeper. I really got started about 10 years ago, when you had to mail in your forms. I won a car and I was on my way to lots of contests, have not won much since. A lot of people enter now because of e-mail. Not just 24,000 for a whole contest, but maybe 10,000 a day for a month!!!!! I still keep trying. A free contest with nice gifts is worth the time.

  9. Valerie D July 12, 2011 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Carolyn – If I can – I’ll check out the show. Since I’ve met you at so many conventions, I know the “real you”, so I’ll keep an open mind when they show the program. Many of us were reluctant to get involved. So we’ll of course be watching, as many of us know YOU! :-}

  10. Sarah July 18, 2011 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Don’t worry Carolyn, all us sweepers know the truth and love
    I’ve won tons of great prizes including $10,000 cash and I’ve made many friends from sweepstaking?
    I look forward to watching the show and I hope it goes well for you.

  11. Sarah July 18, 2011 at 6:09 am - Reply

    I meant to say we love sweepstaking!

  12. Laurel Jentgen September 4, 2011 at 11:48 am - Reply

    I loved the show pilot and will watch every chance I get. TV loves to sensationalize and show mostly the downside to positive things as if good things like winning don’t come easy or that there is always a negative price to pay. I will ignore that part of the show and watch for only the positive.

  13. Sarah September 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    I have watched the show with the 2 sisters and I thought it was great. I would love to start sweepstaking, but have looked it up on the internet and have NO clue where to start. I dont want to get involved with any scams. Is there a certain good reliable website that some people use all the time? thank you!

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