Chris Harrison Is Part-Therapist, Part-Host on ABC’s ‘You Deserve It’

The Bachelor’sChris Harrison has a brand new gig hosting ABC’s game show “You Deserve It,” debuting tonight at 9 p.m. after “Dancing With the Stars.” And while most game shows feature contestants trying to win money for themselves, this one has an altruistic spin fit for the network that brought us “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition“—here, the players seek to win money for a loved one who truly needs it.

“The contestants are trying to win as much money as possible, just like any other [game] show,” Chris explained to “The catch is, they don’t get a dime of that money. Every penny they earn goes to somebody in their life who they think deserves it. The other beautiful thing is that they’re playing for someone who has no idea that they’re on the show. Whoever they’re playing for is in a secret, hidden camera location. The whole show ends with this Publisher’s Clearinghouse, hidden camera moment where we bust in and change this person’s life.”

In the six-episode series, contestants start out with $10,000 a round and buy sets of clues to help them solve puzzles and win money for their worthy friend or relative. Eventually, the puzzle-solving rounds go up to $250,000. “They answer five who, what, or where questions and along the way, to answer these questions, they get clues and I lead them through these puzzles to answer these questions,” Chris said. “There’s so much on the line. When you’re playing for yourself, that’s one thing, but when you’re playing for someone who means so much to you, it completely changes the dynamic. It adds to the pressure, the guilt, the excitement and everything along the way.”

Chris co-hosts with Brooke Burns, and of his own role in the proceedings, he said, “It’s kind of ‘The Bachelor,’ really—I’m part therapist and part host. It’s very much not a game show host’s role, which is why I wanted to do this show so bad. It really is [like I’m] the ‘Women Tell All: After the Final Rose’ therapist and I’m a fan and a friend. I really want them to win so my job is to be there for them and help them as much as possible. I’m there to give them a hug if they get emotional. It’s a beautiful show and great entertainment—you get to know the contestants and the people they’re playing for. To me, it’s what’s television is all about.”

There won’t be any celebrities appearing on “You Deserve It,” Chris said, because it’s all about the regular people who need the money. During the show’s first episode on Monday night, a friend plays for a soccer mom who has lost her husband and has been having financial trouble. Future episodes will introduce viewers to a mother and community organizer from south central Los Angeles and a war veteran who suffered an amputation due to a Humvee accident.

“When you look at where our country is, it’s perfect timing for this show because these contestants are not victims,” Chris noted. “They don’t sit there with their hand out. It’s someone else deciding, these people deserve it, they’ve earned it. And it’s going to air over the holidays, which makes it even better.”

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