Zions Bank on the lookout for reality show stars

Want to win $10,000 for being cheap? Zions Bank is looking for 13 college students in Idaho and Utah who will compete to find the most value for their money. The bank plans to discover this person with their reality show, Cheapster, slated for its second season this fall.

As if more incentive for students to get involved is needed, the winner not only receives $10,000, but the winner’s school does as well.

“We’re excited and hoping that entire schools will rally around their contestants this year,” said Heidi Prokop, communications manager at Zions Bank. “It should be more interesting now that $10,000 will be given to the winner’s Student Association as well.”

Dumpster diving, finding a formal outfit at Deseret Industries, and making a cheap yet healthy meal were all challenges on the show last season. At the end of each challenge, contestants are judged by a representative from Zions Bank and by someone with related experience to the challenge, and one by one, are eliminated.

Zions Bank started the show after conducting research from late 2010 through early 2011. After reviewing online surveys, focus groups, and interviews, the bank found that the current generation isn’t as afraid of penny pinching as past ones.  The reality show Cheapster was created to play on that fact.

To choose the contestants that compete on the show, Zions Bank goes through 3 phases. The first phase is a registration questionnaire. After looking at the answers of the contestants, thirty students are invited to create a 1-minute video to explain why they should be on the show.

“We want to get a diverse group, representing several schools,” said Prokop. “We are looking for someone with good TV presence, someone who is articulate, funny and outgoing. We are also looking for more extreme cheapsters.”

Prokop said that last year, one contestant avoided paying rent by living in a tent.

Video applications to be on the show will be accepted through Sept. 14. Narrowing the thirty contestants down to the final thirteen will be determined by online voting. Starting in late September, anyone can go to cheapstertv.com to vote for their favorites.

 

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