Now that the Super Bowl's out of the way, local television newscasts can focus on the Really Big Game: Sweeps, that all-or-nothing effort to lure members of the elusive Nielsen family into watching their stations so they can up their ratings. The February sweeps period doesn't officially begin until Thursday, February 4, but Westword was able to sneak a peek at what the stations have in store for us over the next few days. It isn't pretty.
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"I Was a Road Rager"
Follow the news leader. In an attempt to prove that anyone can succumb to road rage, 9 Wants to Know's Paula Woodward cruises up and down I-25 during rush hour, filming other drivers until Woodward herself snaps and starts shooting people. Or they start shooting her--a much more likely occurrence, particularly if any of those cars are being driven by Denver Department of Public Works employees caught loafing during previous Woodward sweeps stunts.
"The Santa Bear Did It!"
Reporter Julie Hayden took a closer look and learned that Boulder investigators are prepared to advance a shocking new theory: The Santa Claus teddy bear that appeared in JonBenet Ramsey's bedroom on the night of her murder was actually an animatronic robot--and JonBenet's killer! Among the experts who support this possibility: the director of Bride of Chucky. In a related report, John "The Ferrugia Files" Ferrugia goes undercover at Toys "R" Us.
"Profiles in Cuteness: The New Polar Bear Cubs"
Eager to regain some of its ratings from the heyday of Klondike and Snow, News4 devotes all of its news time not related to weather, sports or flaccid "Spirit of Colorado" promotions (about two minutes total) to the Denver Zoo's new polar bear cubs. In a "A Woman Wronged?" Katie Keifer offers an exclusive interview with Ulu, the mother bear previously accused of neglecting Klondike and Snow; Brian Maass investigates the zoo's attempts to keep the current cubs cuddly and adorable forever rather than letting them grow up to become fat, foul-tempered and unmarketable.
"Colorado's Sexiest Interns"
In a bid to capture the all-important youth market that had previously been turned off by such old fogies as former weather guy Al Fogleman, KWGN profiles the interns most likely to entice happily married Colorado legislators into betraying their family values. As one particularly fidgety government official tells reporter/anchor Wendy Brockman: "They're like bombs just waiting to explode." Highlight: A fashion show in which several of the young women model blue dresses from the Gap.