TV Show Follows Obama's Lead on Volunteerism

A new show supports philanthropy.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

It's something that Michelle Obama touted just today—Americans should help others and volunteer—as she and hubby Barack helped stuff 15,000 backpacks for children whose parents are in the armed services. This message of volunteerism is certainly being pushed in Washington, but has the Obama effect spilled over to TV, too? That's what actor James Purefoy would have you believe. "Absolutely. It's a very zeitgeisty time," says Purefoy, in town to debut his new TV show, The Philanthropist. "If there is an Obama drama, The Philanthropist will be it."

Purefoy's character, Teddy Rist, is a rich playboy of sorts who changes his ways after saving a young boy's life during a catastrophic Nigerian flood. Think Bruce Wayne with a twist of Bill Gates. After his experience in Nigeria, he decides to dedicate his time and money to traveling the world and helping people out, but, as it is TV, not without bullets flying at his head, getting arrested (twice), and being bitten by a snake, and that's just in the first episode. The show is based on the real-life story of entrepreneur turned full-time philanthropist Bobby Sager whom Purefoy easily quotes. "Be selfish. Go help someone," he says, sounding a whole lot like Michelle Obama.

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