I know this post's title reads like an oxymoron, but Fox's new "Secret Millionaire" is good reality TV (crikey, another oxymoron!)
So what do Trading Spaces, The Office and Secret Millionaire have in common? They were all hits in Great Britain before coming to US TV and being big hits here.
Here's the premise: Take take away all their expensive stuff, clothes and money. Give them a week's minimum wage and leave them in a financially oppressed area for a week. They must not divulge who they are until the last day. That's when they must give at least $100,000 of their own money away to someone or some people they've met.
What I like about the show is there's no host. You just follow around the millionaires in their week. In that way, it feels less forced, less contrived and less manipulated than say Extreme Home Makeover.
The only thing I didn't like in the two episodes I watched was the cheesy overly dramatic music and freeze frames as the millionaires came clean and told the people who they really were.
The other thing I liked is the authentic eye-opening experiences the rich folk had coupled with the response of the recipients of the large checks. Again, no hosts--just someone being generous with someone in need whom they really got to know.
A lot of these people had given money to charity before, but it's clear it was given from a distance. Here, the close proximity, immersion in the culture and relational connection make a profound difference.
Give it a look.