Daniel Tosh special, ‘Secret Millionaire’ highlight week on TV - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

TV Outlook Daniel Tosh special, ‘Secret Millionaire’ highlight week on TV

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Posted: Sunday, March 6, 2011 12:00 am

When Dani Johnson was sent to Knoxville, Tenn., for a week to do an episode of the feel-good reality show "Secret Millionaire," she was given $40 to live on, a beat-up car and a dirty apartment, and told to go find some good to do.

She lived in a high-crime area during her stay. "Going anywhere without my husband is always a safety issue for me," she said. "Being in that neighborhood is not foreign to me ... I have worked with the homeless before. I have cut their hair. I have trimmed their nails. I have washed their feet."

Her mission was to find unsung heroes in the community and help them out - first as a volunteer, and then, at the end of the week, with her own money. A best-selling author, radio-show host, motivator and philanthropist, Johnson, who grew up poor, neglected, abused and was once homeless, is now worth millions. To explain why she had cameras on her while shooting "Secret Millionaire," Johnson told everyone she was working on a documentary about volunteering.

"Secret Millionaire" (premiering 8 p.m. EST Sunday, ABC) dispatches the rich into a community where they've never been and are told to help the needy. The wealthy keep their true identities a secret until near the end of filming.

Johnson went to work at the Love Kitchen, which feeds the poor; Special Spaces, helping to renovate bedrooms for terminally ill children; and the Joy of Music, a school encouraging inner-city child musicians. Johnson also befriended a down-on-its-luck family, whose daughter has leukemia.

She wandered through neighborhoods and talked to strangers about the community. By networking, she came upon the nonprofit organizations she worked for.

Not knowing her at all, the organizations were happy just to have an extra pair of hands. When she revealed herself later, they were shocked.

"Little Dani would do anything we asked her to do," says Helen Ashe, 82, who co-founded the Love Kitchen 25 years ago with twin sister Ellen Turner. "She was over there mashing potatoes. She'd cook. She'd clean. She did anything.

"We couldn't believe a millionaire would come and work like she did. We didn't know who she was."

It turns out, "she was a blessing," Ashe says.

Johnson donated tens of thousands of dollars to each organization, basing her financial gifts on how much need she saw.

The "Secret Millionaire" experience has stayed with Johnson more than six months after she shot it.

"What has changed in me is the passion for (volunteer) mobilization," she says. "It's gone to a whole other level. It's gone to a passionate, passionate level."

Other highlights for the week of March 6-12:

Sunday

"Ruby: My Naked Truth" (7 p.m., Style Network). A morbidly obese woman confronts her personal demons in this special about weight loss.

"Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts" (9 p.m., Comedy Central). The host of "Tosh.0" is showcased in this snarky standup special.

"Celebrity Apprentice" (9 p.m., NBC). Donald Trump has his hands full with LaToya Jackson, NeNe Leakes, Star Jones and Gary Busey. It's a crazy party all around.

"Coming Home" (10 p.m., Lifetime). This new reality show looks at soldiers being reunited with their families.

"The Real Housewives of Orange County" (10 p.m., Bravo). There's no debate that it takes places in Orange County. But REAL housewives? C'mon!

"Taking On Tyson" (10 p.m., Animal Planet). It's boxer Mike Tyson vs. pigeons in this new reality show. It focuses on how the scandal-ridden sports star has found peace through working with the birds.

"After Lately" (11 p.m., E!). What happens behind the scenes of Chelsea Handler's late-night talk show? It's one hot mess, for sure.

Monday

"The Event" (8 p.m., NBC). New episodes resume, and the aliens aren't holding back anymore. Only Jason Ritter can save us.

"Too Fat For Fifteen" (8 p.m., Style Network). Beginning a second season, real-life obese teens seek to get fit at a weight-loss school in North Carolina.

"He Loves Me" (9 p.m., Lifetime). A woman. A victim. A bad marriage. A psychological thriller. And Heather Locklear stars. Perfection, for a Lifetime movie.

"All About Aubrey" (10 p.m., Oxygen). Singer Aubrey O'Day is trying for redemption on this reality show after being fired from her band - on national TV.

Wednesday

"Hitman Returns: David Foster & Friends" (8 p.m., PBS). The acclaimed producer greets Donna Summer, Kenny Loggins and Ne-Yo in this performance special of his biggest hits.

Thursday

"Ultimate Factories" (10 p.m., National Geographic Channel). You don't know Jack Daniels? This episode looks at how the Southern whiskey is made in a small Tennessee town.

Saturday

"iCarly: Best Player" (8 p.m., Nickelodeon). A virtual showdown is at stake during an online video-game championship in this two-hour movie special.

 

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