Oprah may be the queen of television and have the ability to move a mountain of books, but her new reality show is being panned in the reviews. "Oprah's Big Give" debuts Sunday March 2 and not every reviewer loves it. Some elaborately dislike it.
The Hollywood Reporter was scathing:
The first irony (but certainly not the last) that strikes one about the eight-week Oprah Winfrey infomercial "Oprah's Big Give" is that there is nary a single genuine giving moment to be found during the opening hour.
It is instead a profoundly hyperkinetic and unwieldy adventure in product placement, in Oprah-as-Messiah hype and, ultimately, in what's so utterly fake and insidious about "reality" television itself.
Because the ABC series operates under the high-minded guise of bringing life rescue and joy to people in need, it's actually even more disturbing than those shows claiming no similarly socially redeeming purpose.
Variety was not as mean, but still wasn't convinced:
On the plus side for ABC, Winfrey's fingerprints are all over the "Big Give," providing the series an enormous leg up. The concept, however -- hatched with "Amazing Race's" Bertram van Munster -- lurches forward like a reality-TV Frankenstein, birthed from parts of other programs.
Even a more positive review in the Boston Herald still couldn't ignore the overt product placement:
With Target and Ford among the major sponsors, "Big Give" is weighted with product placement. In that, it's no worse than "Survivor" or "Big Brother."
More reviews are coming out the next few days.