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Quietly tapping on digital coupons and snapping a photo of your receipt to send to a cash-back app doesn’t provide quite the same checkout drama as the beep, beep, beep of scanning hundreds of coupons and watching your total tick down toward zero.

Nevertheless, a reality show production company is betting that modern-day couponing can still make for must-watch TV.

It’s been about a decade since the last original episode of Extreme Couponing aired on the cable network TLC. Tune into a rerun of the show today, and you’ll quickly notice that a whole lot has changed about couponing since then. Who can find that many high-value paper coupons anymore, much less find a store willing to accept them all?

So the time just might be right for what may turn out to be something of an Extreme Couponing 2.0.

Casting directors working with an as-yet unidentified production company are seeking people “who are taking couponing to a whole new level” for a show scheduled to air on “a major cable network.”

Casting calls for the show first began appearing online last year. Now, the casting team tells Coupons in the News that, after “waiting for some things to fall into place,” casting has started back up again. “We are closer to being in production, and are looking for additional people to add to our cast.”

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The casting call asks, “Do you pride yourself on thinking outside the box when it comes to saving with coupons? Have you successfully adapted your skills to fit the new technology of 2022? If you get a thrill by watching the numbers on a cash register go down, please email couponercasting2021@gmail.com for more information.”

Potential participants who reach out will receive an application with “questions about their couponing experience and what they usually shop for,” to be followed by a phone interview if the applicant has piqued the casting team’s interest. “We are always looking for unique, diverse, and outgoing people!” the team told Coupons in the News. “Ideally, we would be able to watch them in couponing action, so if they have an event coming up that they are looking to shop for, that is amazing.”

Exactly what it is that people will be applying for, isn’t known just yet. Will it be a show like Extreme Couponing? A show trying not to be like Extreme Couponing? Or the return of Extreme Couponing itself? “We cannot divulge many details per the network’s request,” the casting team explained. A spokesman for Sharp Entertainment, the production company responsible for Extreme Couponing, did not deny that they were involved in this production as well. But the spokesman didn’t confirm anything, either. “At this time, there is nothing to report,” he told Coupons in the News in response to an inquiry about the new show. “If and when there is, we will circle back.”

Whatever the show turns out to be, it’s a fair bet that it will look very different from the original Extreme Couponing. That show, to many, not only put couponers in a bad light, but it ended up changing couponing as we know it. Coupon misuse, coupon policy abuse and even outright coupon fraud seen on the show prompted stores and manufacturers to crack down, imposing stricter limits to discourage would-be copycats. As a result, “Extreme Couponing, the way it was shot before, could not happen,” show participant Joanie Demer told Coupons in the News for an Extreme Couponing retrospective in 2020. “A show where people go in and buy heaping cartloads and dozens and dozens of the identical product at the same time, if not hundreds – that’s no longer possible.”

The Coupon Information Corporation, which represents manufacturers in combatting coupon misredemption and fraud, has expressed concern about the new show and the possibility it may resemble the old one, which “portrayed individuals using counterfeit coupons, decoding coupons (theft by deception) and using allegedly stolen coupons,” and “created unrealistic expectations that harmed consumers, retailers, and other industry participants,” the CIC wrote in an email to the casting team. “The CIC and its members hope that such harmful situations can be avoided in the new series and would like to offer our expertise, free of any charge, to help vet the materials as early as possible within the production process for the sole purpose of preventing any illegal acts from being aired.”

The crackdown on coupon misuse and overuse isn’t the only thing that’s changed over the past decade or so. During Extreme Couponing’s original run, digital coupons were barely a thing and most savings apps didn’t exist. Today, in contrast, “think of all of the ways that you can save,” said Demer, the co-founder of The Krazy Coupon Lady website. “Target Circle offers and everything that you can do digitally, and then using an Ibotta offer after the fact. That’s pretty crazy.” So saving a lot of money with coupons today isn’t impossible – it’s just different.

The challenge will be how to turn someone tapping away on their phone into riveting TV for a new decade, and for a whole new generation of viewers who may never even have seen the original Extreme Couponing. Successful applicants to this new show will be among the first to know whether the producers manage to pull it off. And very soon, it appears, the rest of us will be finding out as well.

7 Comments

  1. anonymous2 says:

    How about a new show Extreme Couponing the Aftermath some of the original couponers on Extreme Couponing how staff at stores and other people treated them after the show and if they are still couponing today and how much are they couponing.

    • that’s a great idea, too!

    • Gretchen C. says:

      I looked up most of those couponers and they have clearly moved on from couponing. But the damage is done! This show ruined it for all us honest couponers.

      • anonymous2 says:

        What you said is so true this show ruined couponing.I have two coupons for when I have 10 items to purchase and I get extreme couponing comments in Canada and there are no inserts anymore except the ones occasionally for medicine..

  2. hopefully this one will be a lot more LEGIT than the original – original EC made all of us veteran couponers look really bad!

  3. The comment in their ad about the thrill of the register amount go down shows that the producers don’t have a clue about the new way of saving on groceries. It’s as much about what you get by submitting your receipt in rebate apps after the purchase as seeing the total go down at the register (although that is still nice). And no, I am not interested in appearing on the show.

    I do still wonder about that foolish person on one of the first episodes of Extreme Couponing who paid 19c each for their hundred bottles of mustard. I wonder if they ever used them all? I never would have bought that many if they weren’t totally free.

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