Last fall, Fox’s Talkshow With Spike Feresten hit online pay dirt with a spoof of a PSA about the coming DTV transition. The clip, which featured nonagenarian actress Mae Laborde attempting to install a digital-to-analog converter box in hopes that it will “make Jack Benny come back,” remains Hulu’s most popular video of all time.So when Executive Producer Mike Gibbons learned that the Feb. 17 analog shutoff may be postponed, he decided to put Laborde, a frequent Feresten bit player, through the paces once again.
Still tangled in the wires of her converter box (”I haven’t had TV for three weeks!”), Laborde attempts to follow the voiceover instructions for uninstalling the box and ends up at a garbage dump looking for the antenna she threw away.
Gibbons says the first DTV spot came after he “earnestly tried to learn what to do” about the transition. He attributes at least part of the clip’s online success to the “mom-forwarded-e-mail circuit, which cannot be underestimated.” And he adds that his sister-in-law, who works for another broadcast network, told him its affiliate marketing group used it to illustrate the need to reach vulnerable audiences like seniors and rural viewers.
And at 99 years old, Mae Laborde certainly fits the profile of a viewer at risk of losing her reception. Is she ready?
“Actually, that’s a great question,” Gibbons says. “We should make sure.”
VIDEO: Talkshow with Spike Feresten - TV PSA Update: