A New Reality TV Show Gives Struggling Families $101,000 — But There’s a Sick Twist

The Briefcase – A new contender has emerged in network television’s race to the bottom, and it’s not on TLC.

On Wednesday, CBS aired the first episode of their new series The Briefcase. The show follows struggling American families who are suddenly given $101,000 and a choice: They can either keep the money or give some or all of it to another needy family.

In a promotional trailer released by the network, a montage of families each explain their personal hardships before shrieking in delight when presented with the cash, only to recoil at the Faustian decision CBS executives have cooked up for them. As Rawstory points out, the entire plot appears inspired by the 1986 Twilight Zone episode “Button Button.”
To further increase the awkward tension, families are given information about the other needy strangers they could be helping and are forced to consider whose lives are more worthy of assistance.

Classy stuff.

CBS’s decision to literally profit off impoverished Americans is more than just a story of corporate greed, but rather something tragically reflective of the times. Income inequality in the United States has soared in recent years, reaching levels not seen since 1928. Meanwhile, with living costs up and median household income now lower than in 1999, more and more people are struggling to get by. As a result, show like The Briefcase become painfully more relevant.

Online reaction was swift and harsh.

In the fiscal year 2014, CBS chief Les Moonves made in excess of $54 million, Vulture reported. In other words, he made more in a day than the entire amount each family is competing for. For him and other CBS executives to take American’s economically vulnerable and force them into a bizarre cage match of faux-selflessness is just sick. Rather than gawking at poverty, CBS, and everyone else should be looking for ways to eliminate it.

What do you think of this?


8 replies on “A New Reality TV Show Gives Struggling Families $101,000 — But There’s a Sick Twist”

watched the second episode and the mental anguish the 2 families went thru I wanted to slap the living shit out of whoever is responsible for this piece of crap

ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY disgusting. Stuff like this makes me hate my own country with such an unbridled passion, the only thing I can manage to think (aside from this) is ‘expatriate’.

What am I missing here?

So…they give a family a bunch of cash. Then they ask if they want to give it away.

Sounds simple. Sorry other family, but we were given cash. Sorry about your luck, but YOU weren’t given the cash.

Why not go to other rich people and ridicule them when they don’t give away their cash? It’s theirs, so they can do what they want.

Is there something else I’m missing here? Sounds like a boring show. “here’s some cash, do you want to give it away? No? Thought so”


Garbage idea for a show.
It’s obviously faked.

If you give somebody money they will take it.
If it were about helping others, the money would have been given to those others. The burden isn’t on the ones given the cash. It was a gift and they can spend it on gold toilets and $100 bill toilet paper if they choose. Can’t put the responsibility on them to help other poor people. They can, of course, but it’s not to be demanded. It was a gift. It’s theirs, blame the network for not giving it to the others.


I do blame the network indeed. Creating such angst among the participants as they arrive at a decision. Might as well just bring back the colosseum.

Why has ‘reality tv’ not died a horrible diarrhea death yet?

Hmm, calculating..

US federal minimum wage is $7.25/h.
252 working days per year.
Assume 8 hours worked per day.

That $101,000 works out at about 7 years of gross salary at minimum wage, before tax and living expenses.

Holy crap, you guys don’t make much money at all!

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