Oprah Makes Giving Competitive

New show's contestants will compete to be the best philanthropist
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2008 12:42 PM CST

(Newser) – Heavyweight philanthropist Oprah Winfrey will outsource giving to a whole new level tonight: Her new ABC reality show, “Oprah’s Big Give,” makes charity a competition. Contestants compete to raise money for needy folks and causes, and each week the lowest-earner is given the boot, reports the New York Times. But warm fuzzies aside, even a blogger for Oprah’s hometown Chicago Tribune notices “something off-putting” about competitive giving.

The show appears to be a mish-mash of “Survivor” type free-for-alls and “Extreme Makeover” altruism, and could provide “the welcome delusion that one person” can make a difference, even if you are bankrolled by Oprah. Maureen Ryan, writing for the Tribune, is more skeptical: “Not everything can or should be turned into a contest.” The kicker? Whoever wins gets a million bucks.