Sunday, April 15, 2007

Oprah Lets Us Feel Good While Watching Reality TV

Oprah Winfrey is seeking to cash in on the popularity of reality television by creating two new reality shows designed to make us feel good about ourselves.
Now she is developing two primetime reality series for ABC. The first one, "Oprah Winfrey's The Big Give," is a lightly competitive show in which contestants vie for the chance to do something really big for others. Sort of "Survivor" meets "Touched by an Angel." In the second series, tentatively titled "Your Money or Your Life," a family in trouble is swarmed with help--therapy help, decorator help, skin-care help, money help, you name it help--in a crash course of positive, do-gooder meddling that will result, it is hoped, in a happier, healthier family and a 22 share. It's sort of "Dr. Phil" meets "Extreme Makeover," with a little bit of the Iraq surge mentality mixed in. When Oprah does something, she does it big.

Only a fool would bet against the success of these shows. Oprah did not get immensely rich by accident. She knows what people like to watch. More important, she knows what people like to feel when they watch. We want to feel good, about ourselves and our neighbors.

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