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ABC reveals 'Oprah's Big Give' host, judges and additional details


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/04/2008 

ABC and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions have announced the host, judges and additional format details for Oprah's Big Give, a new reality competition series that will follow 10 people who are given money and challenged to find "dramatic and emotional" ways to spend it on others.

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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 -- will serve as the host for Oprah's Big Give, which is scheduled to premiere Sunday, March 2 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC.

"Who wouldn't want to be a part of a show whose entire premise is what you can do for other people?" said Berkus.  "I think it's fantastic."

Oprah's Big Give will begin with 10 people who hail from across the country and have diverse backgrounds as they receive the challenge to change the lives of complete strangers by giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars to unsuspecting people.  Each one-hour Oprah's Big Give episode takes place in a different U.S. city 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.

Each Oprah's Big Give 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.

At the conclusion of its eight-episode run, the contestant left standing will receive the title of "The Biggest Giver" as well as a yet-to-be-revealed "major prize."  The identities of Oprah's Big Give's 10 participants are also scheduled to be revealed at a later date.  In addition, other celebrities -- including Winfrey herself -- will make appearances throughout the season.

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

Oprah's Big Give represents the first competition-based reality show van Munster and Doganieri have produced since launching The Amazing Race for CBS in 2001 and is also the first primetime series from Harpo. 

Ellen Rakieten, Harriet Seitler, Jonathan Sinclair will serve as executive producers along with Winfrey, van Munster and Doganieri.

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