By Tim Saunders on
Stephen Paletta has won the grand finale of Oprah’s Big Give.
The show, which picked up 10 million viewers, featured a special appearance by Jennifer Aniston, who thanked each of the seven contestants for their work and awarded them their cash gifts of $10,000. But what followed took everyone by surprise.
“That just felt too good,” said the 38-year-old. “I personally would like to triple it. So we’re going to go $30,000. Guys, thank you for doing this and inspiring everybody.”
During the final show, the three finalists – Paletta, Cameron Johnson, and Brandi Milloy – worked as a team to pull off a final act of giving in Chicago. Stephen focused on the children of the Chicago Hope Academy, and organized a private performance by the Blue Man Group which raised $100,000 for the school. Meanwhile, Milloy put together a cooking class for children at the Shriners Hospital for Children, and Johnson followed suit and spent money he raised on books, toys, and DVDs for the hospital.
The eight 1-hour episodes of the show, conceived by Oprah Winfrey, featured 10 contestants using their good deeds to change lives and win cash. Paletta took home the $1 million prize for completing a giveaway challenge with zero funds, and will keep half the money and donate the rest to charity.
“I’m in shock,” said Paletta after his victory. “It was such an incredible honor and privilege to be part of this show and to be chosen as the biggest giver with all of these wonderful people.”
The series has seen a number of stars take part, including John Travolta, Jada Pinkett Smith, Andre Agassi, and Tony Hawk, although it was a $1 million donation by Drew Barrymore in the first episode that gained the most attention.
It is unknown whether there will be a second series of Oprah’s Big Give.
Copyright © 2008 Look to the Stars