Thursday, February 28, 2008

Harpo / Oprah to produce philanthropy show called "The Big Give"; looks for contestants

Today, Feb. 28, Nate Berkus appeared on The View at the end of the show and described the upcoming show “The Big Give” on ABC, from Oprah Winfrey and “Harpo Productions”. Nate is one of the hosts. The “object of the game” among the contestants is to give or help people (sometimes but not always it is with money), over an eight-week content. The contestant is given money but must use it to give money or services or betterment away. Oprah's "Big Give" will premier Sunday March 2 at 9 PM EST.

The link for the casting call for the program is on Oprah’s site, here. As of this writing, there are still future casting calls (possibly for future contests) in New York and Chicago. The show looks for “ordinary people” as contestants, and not “angels.” Nevertheless, the show requires a long road and travel commitment.

The link for her Feb. 29 preview is here. The slogan for the show is "Give Big or Go Home."

Also, today on Oprah, Nate Berkus announced a viewer-participation opportunity to load personal "Big Give" ideas local to visitor communities on to Oprah's YouTube link. The best ideas may lead to invitation to appear on the show or to have the video shown on the show. Nate's announcement appears in the link for Oprah's Feb 29 show, above

Nate appeared on Jimmy Kimmel on ABC on Wednesday Feb. 26. Jimmy repeated Oprah’s claim that Nate is “The King of Décor.” There is a YouTube clip of the six-minute interview here. Jimmy gave Nate a portrait of himself (Jimmy), decorated with a red Valentine’s Day bow, and asked Nate not to regift it. Nate talked about introducing Jimmy to the gay world. Nate could answer all the questions cleverly (without WGA), so I think he would make a good Saturday Night Live host. The Kimmel appearance is now on YouTube, link here.

Stay tuned for more announcements about this show.

I haven't followed Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" on NBC because it did look silly. It's too hard to "fire" a proven celebrity! Former 'Nsync singer Lance Bass, in his book "Out of Sync" is described as a philanthropist on the dust jacket. (Note: On March 6, the "boardroom" scene had a crude slur at gay people and a takeoff on "Brokeback Mountain"; Omarosa got fired, for the second time!)

Update: March 2, 2008

Ty Pennington had a spirited show doing an extreme home makeover (in this case, an entire rebuild) for a soldier (on leave from Iraq) in Virginia and his family.

Pennington does a different state each week. Like Berkus, he often works with Oprah.

But the ABC event for the evening was indeed Orpah's The Big Give. Oprah calls each of the ten contestants, surprising them. They come together. There are three judges, and Nate Berkus oversees. They are to be judged on creativity, delivery, and accomplishment. They are split into five two-man teams with $2500, a plane ticket, a rental SUV, and a clue as to how to find the people to be helped. They they set up events, fundraisers, or arrange for corporations to make donations. One task involved a school for kids with Downs Syndrome.

The second week, in Denver, was more challenging. The contestants had to find the customers who needed assistance themselves.

Andre Agazzi appeared in Week 3 (and he looked hairless, completely; remember how he looked in 1989? -- The Advocate has noted this). This time the contestants held a huge Christmas party for an inner-city elementary school in LA. Each kid got a present and had to wait until all the other kids had theirs before opening them.

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