Teases and Promos

Promos and teases entice viewers to watch by creatively showcasing specific nuggets of interesting information. Promos air during commercial breaks and are produced by the promotions department aka creative services. Teases air during a newscast before the commercial break and are produced by the producers. Reporters may also be required to shoot standup teases that producers will add to their newscast to promote a reporter’s story.

Teases

Promoting a story within a newscast is called a tease. A tease is usually two sentences.

  1. First sentence = context.
  2. Second sentence = a promise.

Write your promise first, then write your first sentence. Promise a specific component of a story, not the overview. Never promise something in a tease that you won’t or can’t answer in the story.

A tease airs immediately before a commercial break, during a newscast. Most traditional teases are read live by anchors (either as readers, VO’s or SOTVOs). But some are pre-produced like in my 8 p.m. show on WTTA.

Here are some examples of pre-produced teases that I wrote and produced:

Reporter Standup Teases

Here are some examples of reporter standup teases.

How to write a tease

Don’t give the viewer the impression that you’re actively withholding information. If you can answer in a few words, you’re probably withholding. For example: Will it rain? Or, who won the game?

  • Give the impression that there’s too much to tell in one tease. Promise the more interesting details. Avoid obvious components.
  • Prove to your viewers you don’t have a tired story.
  • Pay special attention to lame “tip” teases. Lay out the specifics of an unexpected tip.
  • Instead of “We’ll give you five ways to save on your water bill”, try “how a simple device can save you $20 on your water bill.”

Don’t use questions. Turn them into promises.

  • Question: “Where did a teacher’s aide take them?”
    Promise: “Where a teacher’s aide took them.”
  • Question: “Where can you find the best prices on school supplies?”
    Promise: “Where you can find the best prices on school supplies.”
  • Question: “How did the suspect get away?”
    Promise: “How the suspect got away.”

Pick the teasable stories. Death is never easy to tease. Get to the point and hit them with best sound, best fact or best benefit. Avoid “we’ll show you,” “we’ll tell you” and “you’ll see.”

Here are more examples of traditional tease scripts:

SOME OF SOCCER’S MOST ELITE WOMEN ARE FILING A FORMAL COMPLAINT CHARGING U-S SOCCER WITH WAGE DISCRIMINATION.
HOW LITTLE THEY MAKE, COMPARED TO MEN SOCCER PLAYERS.

WILLIAM SHATNER IS FACING A ONE- HUNDRED- SEVENTY- MILLION DOLLAR LAWSUIT.
THE FLORIDA RADIO HOST WHO CLAIMS SHATNER’S HIS FATHER.

WHOOPI’S SELLING WEED.
HER NEW VENTURE INTO MARIJUANA FOR WOMEN.

JENNY FROM THE BLOCK’S STILL GOT IT.
HOW MANY MILLIONS OF TIMES J- LO’S CARPOOL KARAOKE VIDEO WAS WATCHED IN TWO DAYS.

BEYONCE FANS ARE CRAZY IN LOVE WITH HER NEW CLOTHING LINE.
THE PERSONAL STORY BEHIND HER NEW BUSINESS.

IT’S BEING CALLED THE *WORST ALLERGY SEASON EVER… BUT LOCKING OURSELVES *INDOORS MAY NOT BE THE ANSWER!
HOW TO LOOK OUT FOR POLLEN INSIDE YOUR HOUSE.

A WIDOW CLAIMS HER HUSBAND WAS A VICTIM OF ONE OF THE LARGEST CASES OF CONTAMINATION IN U.S. HISTORY.
HOW SHE’S TAKING ON THE V-A.

MARIAH CAREY’S DOING WHAT’S BEST FOR HER AND SHAKING OFF HER COMMITMENTS TO HER FANS.
WHY SHE’S CANCELLING HER CONCERTS.

ICE CUBE’S PICKING UP ANOTHER SOURCE OF CASH FLOW.
THE NEW MUSICAL HE’S STARING IN.

SHE DEVELOPED A LIFE-THREATENING HEART CONDITION AND MADE A MIRACULOUS RECOVERY.
THE DEVICE THAT SAVED HER LIFE.

A DISTRACTED SCHOOL BUS DRIVER’S IN A LOT OF TROUBLE THIS MORNING.
COMING UP… WHAT SHE WAS CAUGHT ON CAMERA DOING WHEN HER BUS ALMOST SIDE-SWIPED A TRUCK.

NEW CHIP CARDS ARE MEANT TO KEEP YOUR PRIVATE INFO SAFE FROM THIEVES.
COMING UP AFTER THE BREAK… THE NEW PROBLEM THE CARDS COULD CREATE WHEN YOU GO SHOPPING ONLINE.

A PRESCRIPTION FOR OLIVE OIL?
HOW MUCH ONE DOCTOR SUGGESTS CONSUMING EVERY DAY TO LOSE WEIGHT AND LOWER YOUR RISK OF CANCER.

A MAYOR IS BEING SUED FOR PAYING A FINE IN NICKLES AND DIMES.
STILL AHEAD… HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN COINS HE FIT IN THIS VAN.

Sports

  • Don’t tease the results of the game. Instead, tease the best moment from that game.
  • Clever is no substitute for solid coverage promises.
  • Make specific promises of specific coverage.

Weather

Teases should contain solid promises of unique coverage. Most weather teases promise blatantly obvious coverage I can get on any station.

Weather should give time specifics, geographic specifics, effects on everyday life, causes behind a weather change, graphic specifics, or hardware specifics.

Examples:

  • WILL THE HURRICANE IN THE GULF MAKE IT’S WAY TO THE BAY AREA THIS WEEKEND
  • HOW MUCH RAIN YOU CAN EXPECT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
  • WHAT PLANTS IN YOUR YARD DO YOU NEED TO PROTECT FROM TONIGHT’S FROST
  • WHEN YOU’RE GOING TO NEED YOUR UMBRELLA THIS WEEK

Promos

Promos promote a story on an upcoming newscast (called a topical) or a promo will promote an image or a talent (called an image promo).

Here’s an example of an image promo that focuses on the look and personality of an anchor:

Here’s a fun promo for WFLA’s Bucs Bonus show. It features the sports anchors Dan Lucas and Paul Ryan dressed as referees.

Published by JeanetteAbrahamsen

I am an instructional designer and TV news instructor at the University of South Florida. My passion for innovating learning led me to pursue my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Instructional Technology. I love creating media to enhance eLearning and foster online engagement. I teach students to create multimedia stories for broadcast, web and social media platforms. I lead the Florida Focus class where students produce daily news shows that air on Tampa's PBS station. My reporting classes collaborated with Tampa's NPR station to produce award-winning stories. I am an Emmy Award-winning journalist. I produced thousands of hours of TV news in some of America's largest media markets at Tampa's NBC station, San Diego's ABC station and the San Diego Union-Tribune. I also produced immersive 360-degree virtual tours at the University of South Florida and reported for Hashtag Our Stories.

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