The new ABC-TV Sunday night program Secret Millionaire clocked in March 27th with an LA Skid Row themed episode. Thirty-six-year-old Advertising.com co-founder John Ferber (who sold to AOL in 2004 for $435 million) came to town last year and posed as a down-on-his-luck businessman forced to stay at a cheap downtown hotel and survive on a weekly allowance of less than $60.
Producers also had Ferber present himself as a documentary filmmaker chronicling volunteer work. The episode easily won its 8 p.m. time slot (10.5 million viewers) and marked the fourth consecutive time since the program’s March 6th debut that the series has claimed the female 18-to-49 demo. Post-airing, Ferber tells the Baltimore Business Journal he has been heartened by the response:
“The producer had said to me, and she was a very sweet woman, she was driving me to the airport in LA and she told me her goal through the whole objective was that it stimulated people to do more in the community and to help other people. I’ve received hundreds of correspondence from people who say basically that; they’re doing more.
Meanwhile, the operator of one of the LA recipients of Ferber’s charity, Alexandria House, has said that the Good Samaritan’s donation allowed them to stay open through recent tough times. All in all, a reminder of the positive side of reality TV.