Discover more from I am Not Human
The Ratings Game — HBO Series Pitch
The Ratings Game — HBO Series Pitch
With the recent “shocking” news that Tucker Carlson disdains his audience, it reminded me of the quote often attributed to Edward Gibbon about Napoleon, “He despises the nation whose applause he seeks.”
To paraphrase it for Carlson, “He despises the audience whose ratings, he seeks.”
With Succession announcing this will be their final season, I thought there are opportunities for spinoff shows in the same vein.
NOTE: I did no editing on this one other than change Tucker Carlson’s name.
The Ratings Game HBO Series Pitch
Title: The Ratings Game
Logline: A controversial cable news host’s rise to fame is fuelled by a deep-seated contempt for his audience, but as he climbs higher, the cost of his deception becomes increasingly steep.
Synopsis: Carl Tucker is a rising star in the world of cable news. With his sharp wit and fiery rhetoric, he’s built a loyal following among conservative viewers who tune in each night to hear his take on the latest political news. But what his fans don’t know is that Tucker despises them.
To Tucker, his viewers are nothing more than mindless drones, easily manipulated by the power of television. He sees their adoration as a means to an end, a stepping stone to greater success and influence. He tells himself that it’s all a game, that he’s simply giving the people what they want, but deep down, he knows the truth: he hates them.
As Tucker’s fame grows, so does his contempt for his audience. He becomes increasingly reckless, pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable on television and courting controversy at every turn. But when a scandal threatens to bring his career crashing down, Tucker realizes that he can no longer hide behind his on-air persona. He must confront the truth about himself and the price he’s paid for his ambition.
In the end, Tucker must decide what matters most to him: his career, his audience, or his own sense of integrity. The Ratings Game is a gripping drama that explores the dark side of cable news and the cost of chasing fame at any cost.
Carl Tucker: The charismatic and controversial cable news host who despises his audience but seeks their ratings and adoration. He is driven by a deep-seated ambition and a desire for power and influence.
Julia Sanders: Carl Tucker’s executive producer and confidante. She is fiercely loyal to Carl Tucker and will stop at nothing to keep him on top. She is also aware of Tucker’s disdain for his audience, but chooses to look the other way.
Sam Thompson: Carl Tucker’s top rival at a competing cable news network. Sam is equally ambitious and will do whatever it takes to beat Carl Tucker in the ratings.
Marcus Rodriguez: A young, idealistic journalist who idolizes Carl and dreams of becoming a cable news star. He is initially thrilled to work for Carl but begins to question his own beliefs as he becomes more aware of Tucker’s true character.
Karen Taylor: A former Carl Tucker fan who becomes disillusioned with him after he makes a controversial statement on air. Karen becomes an outspoken critic of Carl and his brand of journalism and starts a grassroots campaign to get him off the air.
Jack Tucker: Carl Tucker’s father and mentor, who has a successful career in politics. Jack disapproves of Carl’s tactics and attempts to steer him onto a more ethical path, but Carl resents his father’s interference and chooses to ignore his advice.
These are just a few ideas for characters that could appear in the series, but there are many other possibilities depending on the direction of the story.
Title: “The Rise of Carl Tucker”
Logline: Carl Tucker, a rising star in the world of cable news, faces a crisis of conscience when he realizes that his ambition has come at a steep cost.
Synopsis: In the pilot episode of “The Ratings Game,” we are introduced to Carl Tucker, a charismatic and controversial cable news host who despises his audience but seeks their adoration and ratings.
As Tucker prepares for his nightly show, we see him engage in a series of manipulative tactics to keep his audience hooked, from cherry-picking facts to stoking outrage.
As the show progresses, we also meet Tucker’s executive producer, Julia Sanders, who is fiercely loyal to him and will stop at nothing to keep him on top. She encourages Tucker to take increasingly extreme positions on the issues, knowing that controversy will drive ratings.
However, Tucker’s world is shaken when he meets a young journalist named Marcus Rodriguez, who is hired as his new researcher. Marcus is initially thrilled to work for Tucker, whom he admires as a fearless truth-teller. But as he begins to dive deeper into the stories Tucker covers, he becomes increasingly disillusioned with the tactics Tucker uses to manipulate the truth.
The episode culminates in a tense confrontation between Tucker and Marcus, in which Marcus challenges Tucker’s approach to journalism and accuses him of exploiting his audience. Tucker is forced to confront the truth about himself and the cost of his ambition, as he realizes that he has lost sight of his own values in his quest for fame and fortune.
“The Rise of Carl Tucker” is a gripping pilot episode that sets up the conflict and tension that will drive the rest of the series. It introduces us to a complex and flawed protagonist and raises important questions about the ethics of journalism and the role of the media in shaping public opinion.