By Tim Saunders on
Oprah Winfrey is the brains behind a highly anticipated new series premiering next week on US television. Oprah’s Big Give is a reality show with a difference – contestants will compete to give and not receive.
In the eight one-hour episodes, a group of 10 people are given the challenge of a lifetime – to change the lives of complete strangers in the most creative and dramatic ways possible. The contestants must criss-cross the country, and find ways to impact the fates and fortunes of unsuspecting people who are in for the surprise of their lives.
The series will begin in Los Angeles, where Oprah will hand the contestants sealed envelopes with only a picture and the name of a complete stranger. Under intense pressure, they must give big to change this person’s life in just five days. The contestants must use their creativity and resources to generate the most powerful and sensational ways to make a real difference to their “charges’” lives.
The contestant deemed to be the biggest giver at the end of the series will win $1 million.
“Big Give is fun, entertaining, emotional, inspiring, and intense,” Winfrey told TV Guide. “It’s always fun for me to be able to give and to watch people’s reactions. I love a great surprise. There are many moments that will leave you in tears of joy. I wouldn’t be involved with anything that was going to humiliate or dehumanize or make anybody feel bad. When we decided to do a series, we knew that we had to create something that was different, a new kind of television, a new kind of idea.”
And she has roped in an impressive array of her celebrity stars to help her. The series will be hosted by Nate Berkus, and a panel of judges will be made up of “Naked Chef” Jamie Oliver, NFL player Tony Gonzalez, and Malaak Compton-Rock, wife of comedian Chris Rock. There will also be appearances by Donald Trump, John Travolta, skateboard legend Tony Hawk, Andre Agassi, and Jennifer Aniston.
“[Aniston] comes on one of the shows and delivers a really big surprise, something nobody expected,” Winfrey told OK! Magazine. “I always say that she’s everybody’s favorite Friend, and that’s absolutely what she’s like in real life.”
Oprah’s Big Give premieres on ABC on March 2 at 9pm.
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