Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Molly Shattuck Stars In Secret Millionaire

Molly Shattuck Stars In Secret Millionaire

“I despise the name Secret Millionaire,” Molly Shattuck says. “ I think it’s so obnoxious. But I absolutely am in love with the concept and in love with the show. I think it’s so important.”Baltimore and the rest of the nation will finally get to see Shattuck, the former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader and wife of Constellation Energy CEO Mayo Shattuck, Wednesday night in the Fox reality series about rich people who go undercover among the disadvantaged for a week – ultimately giving $100,000 of their own money to someone whom they find deserving.

In Wednesday's episode, Shattuck and her mother, Joan, travel to a small coal-mining town in eastern Pennsylvania where they take jobs waitressing, working in a grocery store and a beauty salon. Shattuck says she was raised from “very humble beginnings” in a similarly small Pennsylvania where her mother operated a beauty salon for 40 years before selling the business in 2001.

Shattuck talked to me about the show last week in an interview that ranged from her crying at the memory of the friends she made on her “journey” during the production of the show, to her putdown of blogs like this one that carry comments from readers who are critical of her.The most successful reality shows are those that connect with deeper tensions in the larger society. Secret Millionaire, which is drawing an audience of about 7.6 million a week, appears to be resonating with anxieties, anger, fear and hope connected to the nation’s economic meltdown.

The complicating factor in Shattuck’s case is that while she sees her involvement in the show strictly in terms of what she thinks of as philanthropy and helping others, she is married to the very kind of CEO that some Americans blame for the meltdown and the suffering felt by workers and share holders.


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