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ABC reveals identities of 'Oprah's Big Give' reality show contestants


By Christopher Rocchio, 02/12/2008 

ABC has revealed the identities of the 10 people competing on Oprah's Big Give, a new reality competition series that will challenge its contestants to find "dramatic and emotional" ways to spend show-supplied money on others.

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Each one-hour Oprah's Big Give episode takes place in a different U.S. city -- including Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, New York and Chicago -- where the contestants are met by a "mystery challenge" that will test how well they can use their cash, time and imagination to help others.

Oprah's Big Give will begin with the 10 contestants -- who hail from across the country and have diverse backgrounds -- as they converge on Los Angeles for their first challenge, where Winfrey will hand them sealed envelopes with only a picture and the name of a complete stranger.  Then, in only five days, each contestant must "give big" to "change this person's life" by using their creativity and resources to "make a real difference."

Each episode will end with the show's three judges -- chef Jamie Oliver; NFL star Tony Gonzalez; and philanthropist Malaak Compton-Rock, who is comedian Chris Rock's wife -- determining which of the contestants will be eliminated based on their creativity, leadership, presentation and accomplishments during that city's task.

The "gives" get even bigger throughout Oprah's Big Give's eight-episode run, and at its conclusion, the contestant left standing will receive the title of "The Biggest Giver" and -- unbeknownst to them -- a $1 million prize.

"This show is fun, entertaining, and powerful television with a real heart," said Winfrey.  "America will just love the heart of this show."

Throughout the contestants' travels, they will run into various celebrities -- including actors Jennifer Aniston, John Travolta and Jada Pinkett-Smith; singer Natalie Cole; The Apprentice star Donald Trump; and athletes Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Tony Hawk and Danica Patrick, among others.

In addition, Winfrey will make multiple appearances throughout the season in various locations to "surprise the contestants with dramatic new twists and turns."

Hosted by interior designer and decorator Nate Berkus -- who frequently appears on Winfrey's The Oprah Winfrey Show and is also a survivor of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami -- Oprah's Big Give is scheduled to premiere Sunday, March 2 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC.

Oprah's Big Give will serve as the lead in for Here Come the Newlyweds, a new reality series that follows recently married pairs as they face-off for the opportunity to claim an ever-escalating cash prize, which will premiere Sunday, March 2 at 10PM ET/PT.

ABC ordered the previously titled Oprah Winfrey's The Big Give last March, and Winfrey's Harpo Productions tapped The Amazing Race co-creators Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri to executive produce the series. 

The 10 contestants competing on Oprah's Big Give -- as well as their ABC-supplied bios -- are:

- Angelo Adams, a 30-year-old West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran from Ann Arbor, MI

- Olusegun "Sheg" Aranmolate, a 23-year-old pre-med student from Nashville, TN

- Rachael Hollingsworth, a 31-year-old singer and actress from Los Angeles, CA

- Cameron Johnson, a 22-year-old entrepreneur and dot-com millionaire from Roanoke, VA

- Eric Klein, a 37-year-old former model who currently works as a disaster relief worker from Boston, MA

- Brandi Milloy, a 23-year-old pageant queen from Chicago, IL

- Stephen Paletta, a 43-year-old real-estate developer from Bedford, NY

- Kim Prentiss, a 39-year-old NFL marketing specialist from Brentwood, TN

- Marlene Snipes, a 37-year-old train attendant from Chicago, IL

- Carlana Stone, a paraplegic 38-year-old author and media executive from Glendale, CA


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