The 25 Million Dollar Hoax
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What would happen if you were suddenly given an opportunity to fool your family into thinking that you've won the lottery? That's the conundrum that one woman faces, and if she pulls it off, her family will score a big win... for real.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


George Gray
Announcer/VO: Townsend Coleman
Creator: Maverick Television (based on a British format)
EP: Ben Silverman, Stuart Krasnow, Scott Hallock, Kevin Healey
Packager: Hallock Healey Entertainment, Krasnow Productions, Reveille
Airs: Mondays at 10:00pm ET on NBC

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"The Hook..." - November 8

"A small-town girl from an all-American family, but she's living a lie."

Welcome to "The $25 Million Dollar Hoax", the biggest lie perpetrated by reality TV since "Joe Millionaire." The setup: Chrissy Sanford has just "won" $5 million, but she must spend all of the money on herself, and nothing on her family. She has five days to fool them all, and if she's successful, her family will win $400,000 in cash and prizes.

And refereeing it all, Ed McMahon ("Star Search") and George Gray ("Weakest Link", "I'll Do Anything"). Lo, how the mighty have fallen.

The story begins literally in the middle of nowhere. With a big wheel, and George earning some overtime (hey, a presenter's gotta eat, too). The bad news: you're going to have to lie to your family. The good news: you're going to win $5 million. The WORSE news: it's totally fake.

The mission: to convince the family that she has won $5 million on the internet lottery: The site itself is real, but it was only set up by NBC to further the ruse. On the final day, Chrissy will spin the big wheel for big money, none of which actually exists. The wheel will be rigged to stop at $25 million. Everyone's going to go nuts, but at that time, Chrissy will have to come clean and tell everyone that it's all a big lie.

The rules: You have to spend the money on yourself and yourself ONLY; if anyone finds out about the hoax, she loses; and every member of her family must cheer her on at the end.

Cruel, yes... but she goes through with it. After all, you don't have much of a series unless you do.

Day 1:

And here comes Ed McMahon with a giant novelty check, but where's Chrissy? There's Lois (mom), Guy (dad), ... oh, THERE's Chrissy, still unexpectedly nervous of the whole operation. Also present is Phillip (brother), Eric (other brother), Holly (Eric's girlfriend), Matthew (other brother), Paul (other brother), Andrew (other brother), and David (other brother). All have lofty ambitions for the money and all are expecting to be set for life. If they only knew... Especially given that Chrissy had some instant doubts about the hoax.

Okay, so David isn't here. He's in Sacramento on a business trip, but he took the next plane out to be with his sister. So now the plan is set into motion: the family will be whisked away to a five-star resort in Palm Springs for five days. At the end, Chrissy will spin the big wheel for $25 million out of a possible $50 million. And with that, they agree to be filmed for the next week "for promos for". "Point, click, and win big!"

Jet ride... everyone's not really ready, but will they be ready... for the $25 million hoax? The next stop, their posh resort. And posh, really, is an understatement. We're talking baby grand, mahogany walls, individual rooms for everyone. And, of course, Chrissy's suite is the biggest, with chocolate, flowers, and a mini-bar... Nice. "This is gonna be sick." Got that right. The happier they got, the harder it got for Chrissy to take the secret.

Day 2:

"Well, you know everything's gonna be all right, when we go shopping." -Steven Page, Barenaked Ladies. has given Chrissy a $5,000,000 credit card. The card itself is fake, but don't tell that to the family. The stylist is on hand to make sure that Chrissy makes the change from sweet girl to materialistic snob. It's her job, anyway. She's actually a paid actress. Her job is also to belittle Holly and Lois while she's out with Chrissy. "Holly, bless her heart, said that I'd like to tell her to take those clothes and shove'em up her (^_^)." Success. Among Chrissy's purchases... a dress that is somewhere in J-Lo's closet, some pirate joint, nice tight booty skirt, and leggings? What the hell? Lois, being the proper mother, was supportive all the way. She ends up taking everything... Total: $16,289.65, or what I make in about half a year. That's on herself. On her family... zippo.

And Lois and Holly let their true feelings show on the car ride home. "She had forgotten where she came from. Take your clothes and shove him, I'm going to Wal-Mart."

Next, the boys at the toy store... a car dealership. Imagine a Hummer, a Cadillac convertible, and other high-roller cars. Helping out is Dan, another paid actor. Chrissy tells him about the money she won, and about the Hummer in the corner. She ends up taking the Hummer to a test track... and takes the big boy home... for herself. In the end, Chrissy promises to take Guy out to look at used Cadillacs. The rest of the guys call a Drew Carey. That's right. B. S. Eric: "She looks at me and goes 'You hate me right now.' And I look at her and go... 'Yeah.'"

Chrissy is in the negotiating room adding extras that she doesn't intend on using. "The thing's got 400 horsepower already. You need to add more? For what? Are we towing a building?" In the end, the war machine set Chrissy back over $81,000, giving her a day 2 total of almost $100,000. And it will only get worse. "As fun as it might have sounded... it was sickening."

Back at the resort, the family shares stories of the day. Them comes the millionaire heiress dinner... without Chrissy. She wants to see the producers as she is reaching her breaking point. "It is so unbelievably hard to look your mom and dad in the eye. My dad would not do this to me, and I'm doing this to him! And I shouldn't be doing this to him! I don't know if I can do this! Is my family's trust and love worth it? I honestly don't think I could do this anymore."


"I'm already so deep into this web of lies that if I told them now, they'd be more disappointed in me for not following through. Those reactions are real, but the position is fake! I just need to finish it out and end it the right way. See what tomorrow brings and try to have fun with it."

And the spending has only begun. The good news: only two more episodes to go. The bad news: still two more episodes to go. Why, NBC... WHY?

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