Oprah Throws Money at the Lindsay Lohan Problem

What Women Really Think
July 16 2013 1:19 PM

Oprah Throws Money at the Lindsay Lohan Problem

167944374
Lindsay Lohan, through the years. Obviously what this woman needs is a reality show.

Photo by Santa Monica Police Department via Getty Images

Lindsay Lohan has lined up her first post-rehab gig: After she finishes her latest court-mandated stint of drug and alcohol rehabilitation this month, she’ll sit down for an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey, then star in an eight-part documentary series for Winfrey’s OWN network. Lohan will reportedly earn a $2 million paycheck—plus the aid of two assistants and a stylist—for the work.

“It’s fantastic,” Lohan’s mother, Dina, said about the deal. “If there’s any mentor you could choose, there’s nobody better than Oprah. This is a great opportunity for Lindsay. We are all very excited about it.”

Advertisement

The deal looks less good for Oprah. This is the “You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!” of celebrity interventions. Oprah has been throwing money at problems for decades, from the time she pledged $10 million to house displaced families in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to the time she awarded a lifelong housekeeper with a year of free maid service (and a tiara!). Oprah’s giveaways drum up publicity for her media properties while cementing her reputation as a selfless humanitarian. But cash flow is the least of Lohan’s problems. Wealth fueled Lohan’s propensity for crashing fancy cars under the influence of expensive drugs; it’s not going to help her kick the habit.

The OWN series will reportedly follow Lohan “as she works to rebuild her career and stay healthy.” If Lohan manages to follow that script, it will be the performance of a lifetime. When she exits rehab to film the show, she’ll do so against the advice of her facility’s counselors, who have urged her to commit to the program past her required 90-day stay.

Every time Oprah awards new cars to her studio audience or whisks her viewers away to a Disney park, she's only required to keep her recipients smiling for the length of the episode. She films a couple of joyrides then moves on to her next project while her gift recipients deal with the consequences of her generosity: In the case of the car giveaway, each audience member walked off set and into a $7,000 tax bill over the "gift."

The eight-episode Lohan series may bring Oprah big ratings, but it also carries a reputational risk: This time, it will be more difficult to hide the fallout of her deep-pocketed enabling. Luckily for Oprah, that might actually make the show worth watching. And if Lohan fails to shape up under Oprah's tutelage, she can always schedule another live confrontation a la James Frey to shame Lohan for wasting her generous opportunity.

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company

Science

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 18 2014 10:42 AM Scalia’s Liberal Streak The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 11:25 AM Gays on TV: From National Freakout to Modern Family Fun
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 12:03 PM The NFL Opines on “the Role of the Female”
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 11:48 AM Watch the Hilarious First Sketch From Season 4 of Key & Peele
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 10:07 AM “The Day It All Ended” A short story from Hieroglyph, a new science fiction anthology.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.