Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Prods. has recruited “The Amazing Race” creators Bert Van Munster and Elise Doganieri to serve as showrunners for the talkshow queen’s upcoming foray into reality TV.
Van Munster and Doganieri will exec produce “Oprah Winfrey’s The Big Give,” one of two unscripted projects Harpo set up at the Alphabet late last year (Daily Variety
, Dec. 15). Deal reps the first competition-based reality show Van Munster and Doganieri have produced since launching “Race” on CBS in 2001.
While the reality genre doesn’t have the best rep in TV circles, “Race” has emerged as one of the genre’s more critic-friendly skeins. It’s also an industry fave, snagging the competition reality show Emmy for each of the past four years.
Lisa Halliday, VP of communications for Harpo, said the company was “delighted to be teaming up with” Van Munster and Doganieri.
ABC has given an eight-episode order to “The Big Give.” Skein follows a group of 10 people who will be handed money and resources — and then challenged to find dramatic and emotional ways to use the coin to help others.
Contestant field will be winnowed down each week, with the winner getting his or her wildest wish granted.
ABC and Harpo are keeping a tight lid on details surrounding the production timetable for “Big Give,” though the skein is expected to air sometime this year.
Both “Big Give” and another reality project are being developed with Harpo’s Chi-based TV development group, which Winfrey launched in September.
Van Munster has worked with the Alphabet before. He exec produced the documentary-style “Tales from the Front Line” for the net a few years back. Like “Race,” that project was produced with Jerry Bruckheimer.
Both Van Munster and Doganieri are repped by CAA.