Television host Oprah Winfrey had a surprise for the 276 members of her studio audience when she opened the latest season of her daytime talk show on Monday — she gave them all new cars. The $7 million giveaway came courtesy of General Motors, which provided the free Pontiac G6 sports sedans, a new line of cars, as part of a promotional deal with Winfrey’s Chicago-based show, a spokeswoman for her Harpo Productions said. The automotive handout introduced a “Wildest Dreams Come True” theme for the 19th season of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which has reigned as the top daytime talk programs in U.S. syndication since its debut in 1986. “No dream is too wild, no surprise too impossible to pull off,” Winfrey said during the telecast.
The show opened with Winfrey calling 11 members of the audience to the stage and surprising them with the new car. She then handed out gift boxes to the rest of the audience, saying one of them contained the keys to a 12th free car. At the count of three, the boxes were opened all at once, revealing to shrieks of delight that everyone had won a set of keys.
Winfrey then led the ecstatic crowd outside the studio to a parking lot filled with G6s topped with big red bows. Each member of the audience was instructed to contact a Pontiac representative to personally customize the actual cars they will receive, allowing them to choose the color and features that come with a fully loaded model.
“We’ve never done a giveaway like this before,” Harpo spokeswoman Carly Ubersox told Reuters.
She said most members of the audience had been specially selected from letters sent in advance by viewers on behalf of themselves, friends or family who were in need of a new car. But the audience members were kept in the dark about the nature of the show until it was taped.
Winfrey also gave away a four-year college scholarship, $10,000 wardrobe and make-over to a young woman who spent her teen years in foster care and homeless shelters. And a family with eight foster children was presented with a new houseful of furniture and electronics plus a $130,000 check to cover their mortgage and home repairs.