This coming Sunday night, one of La Jolla’s own will grace the small screen. ABC’s newest TV show Secret Millionaire will feature Marc Paskin as the titular “millionaire” in its next episode.
ABC premiered its latest reality TV show last Sunday, March 9, to 12.7 million viewers. Modeled after the hit UK show with the same name, Secret Millionaire whisks millionaires away from their wealthy lifestyles and drops them off in some of the poorest parts of the country. Each standalone episode covers their experiences as they go undercover to volunteer at charities and observe people who are trying to make a difference. Oh and one more thing. They are subjected to impoverished conditions in order to better understand the lives of the people they encounter.
The show’s tearjerking debut followed Dani Johnson, an entrepreneur, as she experienced hardship in Knoxville, Tennessee. This week will have Paskin, a local resident, taking his turn at helping the needy.
“They put me in the slums of Detroit. I stayed in a beat-up house. They gave me an old car and $40 to last a week on food. They want you to be immersed in poverty,” says Paskin of the show.
For a week, Paskin bounces from charity to charity under the pretense of shooting a documentary. Organizations like Really Living Corporation and Young Detroit Builders opened their doors to Paskin to come in, lend a hand, and see their efforts in helping people.
Paskin has lived in California for the last 25 years. Being a native of Madison, Wisconsin, however, his stay in Detroit was like going back to his Midwest roots. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin. His humble beginnings began when he put $1,000 down on a $15,000 duplex in Madison—a risky move considering it was his life-savings. He earned a profit, reinvested, and eventually built a large portfolio. He currently runs his business as the president of Paskin Properties, a commercial real estate investment company.
Says Paskin of his life, “I came up poor. It’s sort of a rags to riches story.”
The philanthropy is nothing new for Paskin. He is already involved with organizations like UC San Diego’s Shiley Eye Center and the American Cancer Society. A generous donation led to the Marsha Paskin Clinic at the Shiley Eye Center in honor of his late wife.
“He’s a very generous person,” says Karen Anisko, the director of Development and Communication at Shiley Eye.
By the show’s end, Paskin’s experiences lead him to make a substantial donation. Paskin himself generally dislikes most reality shows. Secret Millionaire, however, has a positive message, which is a big reason why he agreed to do the show. The episode will air this Sunday on the Alphabet network at 8 p.m.