As you all know, I am a reality show junkie. American Idol. So You Think You Can Dance. Survivor. The Amazing Race. I love them all. I was bummed that America’s Next Top Model ended, leaving me with no TV on Wednesday nights.
But my husband just turned me on to a new reality show on FOX called Secret Millionaire. I saw the two-hour premiere this past Wednesday and still can’t shake off the good feelings it provoked.
In Secret Millionaire, millionaires leave their lavish lifestyle to go undercover for a week in a poor neighborhood. They must subside on the minimum wage and befriend people in need. At the end of the show, they give away at least $100,000.
For the first episode, an Irvine-based millionaire lawyer and his spoiled adult son rode their yacht to Imperial Beach, California, which is one of the most polluted and impoverished areas in the state. They rented a room in a roach motel and worked as construction workers. At the end of the week, they gave away $25,000 to one of their co-workers — a previously homeless woman — another $50,000 to a woman operating a homeless shelter out of her home and another $50,000 to the uninsured family of a little girl with cancer. They spotted her mug, and the family’s contact information, on a tin can at a liquor store.
I love the premise, and of course, nothing bad can come from millionaires spreading the wealth. My husband and I would have liked to see the millionaires slum it a bit longer, but our guess is those tycoons had to go back to their businesses. Also, we felt that some of them could have given more, like the Irvine lawyer who had multiple fancy cars, private jets, multiple homes and yachts. The millionaire after him, a founder of a chicken-wings chain in Louisiana, gave away $100,000 each to three Katrina victims in his home state.
Nonetheless, you could tell the experience was eye-opening for all involved, a good thing for the show’s participants and viewers alike.
What are you watching this season?