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Mark Cuban to give away $1,000,000 in ABC's new 'The Benefactor' series


By Reality TV World staff, 02/25/2004 

Who needs Donald Trump and his measly $250,000 one year Apprentice employment contract when there's someone like maverick Internet billionaire Mark Cuban around? ABC has announced plans for a six-episode The Benefactor series, during which Cuban has agreed to give away $1,000,000 to a lucky person of his choosing -- simply because he can.

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Beyond the apparent explanation that Cuban is bored and looking for some complete strangers to amuse him and answer the age-old question of "what would you do for a million dollars?", ABC and Cuban provided little immediate details on the particulars of the program in their announcement

Stated Cuban: "I want every U.S. Resident 21 and older to apply. Everyone has dreamed of getting rich, and I want to help one lucky person get there. This isn't a traditional contest. You don't need special talents. I'm not looking to find out who is the grossest, funniest, prettiest, smartest or able to go without food or water the longest. The right person is going to get on my good side at the right time, and whoever that is is going to walk away with a check from me for one million dollars."

Added Cuban, "From the millions of applicants we expect, I will then invite approximately 30 finalists to visit with me and begin the journey to win my money. And I can promise you it will be a journey... with some of the rules made up along the way. So if you are ready to take a voyage to a one million dollar check, go to ABC.com keyword: casting."

"The Benefactor is a show without boundaries," said Andrea Wong, senior vice president, alternative series and specials. "It can take infinite twists and turns, and Mark's sense of fun and adventure is going to make this a great ride."

"Mark Cuban is the ordinary guy who has done extraordinary things," said Benefactor executive producer David Young. "That's why I wanted him to be the Benefactor. It will be fascinating to see just what America must do to win Mark's million."

A self-made billionaire, Cuban co-founded Broadcast.com, which he and his partner sold to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion at the high of the Internet boom in 1999. Not knowing what else to do with his money, in January 2000 Cuban purchased the NBA's Dallas Mavericks franchise and quickly changed the face of the organization, bringing a party atmosphere to home games and leading the team to the playoffs. In his short tenure in the NBA, he has earned a reputation of being articulately outspoken, and has developed quite a following in the media across the country.

In 2001, Cuban also launched HDNet, an all high-definition television network (www.hd.net) and a leading broadcaster of high-definition programming.

The Benefactor was created by and will be executive produced by David Young for 12 Yard Productions, a UK company. Clay Newbill and Todd Wagner, CEO of 29 29 Productions, will also serve as executive producers. The Endeavor Agency brokered all deals on the project.

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