With Big Give, Oprah Shows Smaller Side

Reality charity show provokes sniffles, but writer calls it vain
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2008 6:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – The new ABC show Oprah’s Big Give might be exactly what it claims—an epically scaled, nurturing-obsessed cult of personality—but the format is old and unsuitable, Nancy Franklin writes in the New Yorker, and the star is self-obsessed. The competition charity program sometimes reduced to her tears, Franklin allows, but mastery of manipulation is no great shakes in and of itself.

The writer is turned off that the show has losers, uncomfortable with the winner's million-dollar prize (“So much for virtue being its own reward."), angry that commercial tie-ins are on blatant display, and frustrated that the Queen of All Media insists on making “all the largesse on display” associated with herself. Big Give simply isn’t “Winfrey-worthy.”