Monday, April 1, 2019

Happy Days: Drew Carey’s April Fools

The Drew Carey Show was known for its various stunts. The show staged elaborate dance numbers, broadcast live and even had special improvised sequences. In 1998, the show’s regular broadcast fell on April first, which provided Drew Carey and the producers with an idea- what if the show worked in intentional mistakes for viewers to find?

ABC loved the idea and decided to make it a contest. Viewers could keep track of the mistakes during the show, then enter them into a special website. The contest would especially reward frequent viewers who had an obvious advantage because they would know what was and wasn’t normal. By announcing the contest several weeks in advance, the show’s ratings could benefit from new viewers doing “research” into what was normal.

ABC took advantage of audience interest by having “Mimi” from The Drew Carey Show host segments on TGIF to give hints and show viewers what the various sets normally looked like. The episode was hugely successful. Subsequent airings of the show revealed- in “Pop-Up Video” style- where the official mistakes existed.