ABC AND HARPO PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCE HOST AND JUDGES FOR "OPRAH'S BIG GIVE," A NEW DRAMATIC AND EMOTIONAL PRIMETIME SERIES
Oprah Winfrey, an Executive Producer of the Series, Makes Multiple Special Appearances Throughout the Eight Episodes
Popular Designer Nate Berkus is Show Host; Panel of Expert Judges Includes Renowned Chef Jamie Oliver, NFL Superstar Tony Gonzalez and Wife of Chris Rock and Charity Founder Malaak Compton-Rock
ABC and Harpo Productions today announced details about the much-anticipated new primetime series "Oprah's Big Give," scheduled to premiere SUNDAY, MARCH 2 (9:00-10:00 p.m.) on the ABC Television Network. In eight one-hour episodes, the series defies television convention with a bold idea What if people could compete to give to others rather than get for themselves?
Cast members for this dramatic new series include host Nate Berkus and expert judges including world-renowned chef and philanthropist Jamie Oliver, NFL star and Boys & Girls Club Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, and wife of Chris Rock and charity founder Malaak Compton-Rock.
In "Oprah's Big Give," a diverse group of ten people from all walks of life receive the challenge of a lifetime -- to change the lives of complete strangers. In an intense eight-week competition, the contestants criss-cross the country, giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars to unsuspecting people who are in for the surprise of their lives.
What will the contestants do to make dreams come true for people in need? Who will outgive the others? How will they use their cash, time, imagination and tenacity to try to win the title of "Biggest Giver?"
Each episode takes place in a different city where a mystery challenge is revealed. With the clock ticking, the competition, drama and emotion mount, as the contestants' stamina, creativity and drive are tested.
Throughout the episodes, some of the biggest names in Hollywood join " Oprah's Big Give," bringing their own passion for giving big and delivering surprising twists that raise the stakes at every turn. At the end of each hour, Oliver, Gonzalez and Compton-Rock make the tough call of who has given big and who is going home. Ultimately the biggest giver will become the biggest winner, with a major prize on the line for the contestant who has made the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Thousands auditioned across the U.S. to be a part of "Oprah's Big Give," and did so without knowledge of a prize. The ten individuals competing in the series will be announced at a later date.
The show will be hosted by Nate Berkus, a popular television personality, frequent contributor to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and O, The Oprah Magazine, and one of the world's most recognized interior designers. Berkus said, "Who wouldn't want to be a part of a show whose entire premise is what you can do for other people? I think it's fantastic." As a survivor of the devastating 2004 tsunami, Berkus knows what it's like to need help and get it.
The contestants will be judged by a panel of individuals who are respected and well-known for their "give big" spirit. The expert judges who will review the contestants on their creativity, leadership, presentation and accomplishments include:
Jamie Oliver -- Known for his TV series "The Naked Chef," this best-selling author and popular personality is credited with getting the British government to increase funding for healthy school meals. Through his charity, Fifteen Foundation, Oliver also trains and mentors disadvantaged young people.
NFL star Tony Gonzalez -- An All-Pro Tight End for the Kansas City Chiefs, in 2006 Gonzalez was inducted into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Alumni Hall of Fame. He has established a foundation that focuses on giving emotional and educational support to the medically-challenged and contributes to programs and services that enhance the development of disadvantaged youth. Recently Sporting News named him the NFL's #1 "Good Guy."
Malaak Compton-Rock -- Wife of Chris Rock and mother of their two daughters, Compton-Rock is known for her philanthropic work, turning her passion for helping others into styleWORKS, a nonprofit organization that helps women on welfare and in shelters get back on their feet and enter the workforce. A Howard University graduate, she began her career in public relations within the entertainment industry and created styleWORKS when she realized that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping others.
"Oprah's Big Give" was created by Ellen Rakieten, Harriet Seitler and Jonathan Sinclair and is produced by Harpo Productions in conjunction with Profiles Television Productions, LLC. Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Rakieten, Harriet Seitler, Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri are executive producers. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20080103abc01