America loves nothing better than a hero story, and make it about an unnoticed hero doing his or her best every day to help others completely off the radar, then throw in a millionaire who nobody knows is a millionaire, who gives up luxury just to lend a helping hand before deciding how much money to give away, and you just might have a midseason marvel! ABC execs likely looked at the ratings sag in their beloved feel-good go-to show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”, and thought, why not bring in a new feel-good friend for a stay on Sundays? What better hope for easing these unending winter doldrums, than finding a little hope and fresh beginning for Spring? “Secret Millionaire” takes the 8 PM ET timeslot on ABC beginning March 6.
We all remember Paris Hilton pretending to live like a real person a few years back, but that was hardly for the good of society. Robbing from other TV shows from other countries and in other formats is something the major networks love to do, and “Secret Millionaire” is no exception. The show has been done in England and Australia, and had a 2008 Fox TV version. While the show outlines are similar, the Fox version aimed more for hard-hitting shock value in showing the depravity and degradation within some of its neighborhoods presented. The 2011 edition will still keep its focus on the most needy, impoverished, and sometimes dangerous, communities, but producers want to make a truly genuine and financial impact. Giving is much more pronounced in the newest offering, and the pace of episodes moves along faster. The undercover millionaires must immerse themselves into the lives of their surrounding communities, completely removed from all contact and attachment to their privileged lives, all the while seeking out the most deserving unheralded heroes. On the last day, as each reveals his or her identity, they will choose to give away at least $100,000 of their fortune. For some, that may not be a sacrificial sum, but these days, it is one that matters and one that can make a difference in many communities in the country.
Maybe it’s not as showy as a brand-new home, but its emotion could at least equal the feel of the “Move that bus!” moment, and if real relationships are forged, and a seed of giving is planted in a willing heart, the difference in lives, including for viewers, could be far greater than a deed to a home. It’s bound to be a refresher amidst the pseudo crises of the Real Housewives set!
“Secret Millionaire” debuts Sunday, March 6, on ABC.
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