CBS Opens Briefcase, Twisty Series That Could Change Families' Lives

CBS The Briefcase Premiere

CBS this summer will invite a dozen families to open The Briefcase and then decide what to do with its contents — $101,000.

The six-week series, debuting Wednesday, May 27 at 8/7c, presents hard-working American families experiencing financial setbacks with a briefcase containing not just the aforementioned sum but with it a potentially life-altering decision: they can keep all of the money for themselves, or give all or part of it to another family in need.

The twist: Unbeknownst to either party, the “other family in need” has also received a briefcase loaded with $101K, and has 72 hours to assess the other brood’s burden and decide how much if any of their windfall they will part with.

It’s kinda like the ferry boat conundrum in The Dark Knight. At least, that’s how I’m picturing it.

The Briefcase is an eye-opening look into what matters most in people’s lives, taking the audience on an emotional roller coaster ride with a shocking ending each week,” series creator Dave Broome said in a statement. “I’ve been incredibly impressed by just how generous Americans are, even with shrinking paychecks and rising debt, when there’s little left to give.”

The families and their stories are as follows:
The Bergins of Matthews, N.C.: After Joe was laid off from his corporate job 10 years ago, he and his wife, Kim, started an ice cream truck business which is struggling.
The Bronsons of Manchester, N.H.: Dave is an American hero whose Humvee exploded when he was in Iraq and he lost his leg. He and his wife, Cara, are expecting their second child this summer. Living on one income with a growing family has put a significant amount of stress on the Bronsons.
The Wylies of Rio Vista, Texas: After suffering a bad back injury almost 20 years ago and losing his well-paying job in the steel industry, Matt now works as the local constable. Becky and Matt admit that their financial situation has made life difficult, but they believe strongly in community service and rely heavily on their Christian faith to guide them.
The Baileys of Dorchester, Mass.: Three years ago, Tonya and Leila took in Leila’s nephews, Milton and Jaden, and today the children are thriving. Taking on the responsibility of two children comes with added costs and they have put their dream of having a child of their own on hold.
The Scotts of Mechanicsville, Md.: Josh and Susan hope to expand their family and adopt a child, but living paycheck to paycheck has made it difficult to make their dream come true. With their large amount of debt and the hefty price of adoption, they fear that it may never become reality.
The Musolinos of Fuqua Varina, N.C.: John and Amanda were living the American dream until they lost their business and were forced to sell their house. With the family based in North Carolina and John’s fishing job in Florida, the family spends more than half the year apart, straining their relationship.
The Matas of Boyle Heights, Calif.: The Matas are extremely passionate about their Mexican heritage, and they all perform together in a Mariachi band on the weekends. In addition to playing, they run a Mariachi conservatory to teach youth the art in hopes of keeping them off the streets of Los Angeles. Their value of education has driven them into large debt with student loans, and as teachers they often find themselves spending their own money on supplies.
The Melansons of Hingham, Mass.: Living on one income with four children is a challenge financially for Mark and Cara, but over the past six years they’ve managed to foster multiple children. Their eldest son started the charity “Guys with Pies” that has raised more than $30,000, and Cara is going back to school to become a lawyer so she can help advocate for foster children.
The Moyas of Albuquerque: Gabe and Krystal Moya are high school sweethearts whose lives revolve around faith and family. The Moya’s finances hit rock bottom in 2009, but through all the hard times, they remain positive, feel blessed, and are determined to raise their children with strong faith.
The Vendely/Salgado family of Miami: Amari and Natalie’s financial situation hit a rough patch when Natalie was laid off from her position as a medical assistant. She has since found another job, but the time unemployed in-between jobs took a toll on the family. In addition there will be extra expenses for Amari’s transition. He was born female, but after giving birth to two children and living as a woman for most of her adult life, he now lives as a man.
The Aponte/Kassimatis family of Union Beach, N.J.: Mike and Andrea have been together for nine years. In 2009, they invested in a house, but shortly after completing the renovations, Hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey coast and destroyed what they had built.
The Owenses of Dayton, Ohio: Robert and Lucy place high importance on education within their family. Robert is an educational consultant with a master’s degree from Wright University and working on his doctorate. Lucy is a special programs coordinator at Wright University. With large student loans and trying to pay for their children’s education, they have a hard time staying afloat financially.

What do you think of The Briefcase‘s premise, and might you tune in?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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117 Comments
  1. This sounds like an incredibly boring way to fill an hour.

  2. Cody says:

    Interesting series concept, though you would think it would be easy to go 50/50 so half helps your family and the other half helps the other family.

    Though, personally, I would hope a larger portion is given away to the military family as our government does so little for the brave men and women that protect and serve our nation. They make such great sacrifices for our country and in return we barely help cover the medical bills that pile up as a result of injuries (both physical and physiological) sustained in combat.

  3. Mr. Tran K says:

    This should be CBS’ biggest failure and the premise is horrible.

  4. Boiler says:

    Why don’t they pick up a Perception to show for the summer. This looks horrible

  5. herman1959 says:

    No, I can’t stand stuff like this…too manipulative.

  6. Abbey Kaul says:

    that’s a big fat NO

  7. SPAMMER says:

    SPAM DELETED #TVLineCares

  8. Weezy says:

    Lol how did I just know the first comment would be some clown who isn’t smart enough to realize how interesting of a concept this is. Game theory, strategy, etc. If people could use logic and rational thought, then we wouldn’t be on the verge of destruction. I’ll be interested to watch this show. I just hope it doesn’t become more “reality TV” where the whole stupid thing is rigged anyway. This will be a much better show the more organic it is.

    • Angela Mills says:

      I agree

    • Diane Reno says:

      all shows are scripted that’s why some of the reality shows are just complete mindless and only mindless people watch other people being beat up disrespected no moral values I hope this show is different the concepts good I think developing it along the way to really benefit those who really need it. I wrote to Oprah she started a show on my suggestion but it went crazy with the wrong kind of promise. It didn’t really help people in need

  9. Kari Knowles says:

    All I can think of is Kenneth’s “Gold Case” show from 30 Rock.

  10. EJ says:

    Awful, awful and more awful. I’d rather see The Kalinda/Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

  11. Geo says:

    Yes, because nothing’s more entertaining than watching desperate families in need having to play some stupid televised game to get money. How much will they give up? Who’s more greedy? Who’s more generous? Oh, how vastly entertaining that will be. If the 1% watched tv, I’m sure they’d eat that up. Oh, ho, they’d say, look at them struggle. How droll. Maybe they should have the families pick a couple of their kids and have them fight to the death over who’ll get cash and food. No, wait, I think there’s already some kind of book and movie series about that…

  12. kelsey says:

    Most of these families may be struggling, but wouldn’t it be better to have families that desperately need the money. Helping someone adopt or foster is great, but a sex change? Really? CBS should use the money to put food in children’s bellies. This show would be amazing if it truly changed lives for the better.

    • Linda says:

      I totally agree WHY? give too somebody who wants a sex change REALLY. While my brother’s home needs major repairs

    • Diane Reno says:

      I hope its not another show with people like on Jerry Springer Show that’s awful is really sad that people are so desperate that they have to go on TV but it’s our only hope sometimes if the show is done right then people in need will get what they need but it’s kind of a Jerry Springer premise bring people and who are desperate and they’ll let you do anything and that’s wrong. its an insult to the integrity of everyone. I hope it’s different

  13. Angela Mills says:

    Me and my daughter, Angela Shannon Stamper, would live to be on this show. My daughter Shannon is a single Mom. She has 2 daughters. Katelynn is 3 years old and MaKenzie is 1 year old. Katelynn is a special needs child who has been diagnosed with Autism. She is a wonderful Mom to these 2 sweet girls and she deserves to have something great happen to her.

  14. Olivia Banks says:

    I would love to be a contestant on that show for my family. Helping my family and anybody else that really needs help like us. I wouldn’t get a lot of money and don’t help out other people and that’s why I pray and hope that my door is where you walking to. It would change my and anybody else’s life.

  15. Melanie Sendejo says:

    i am going to watch because I know if I would have gotten picked for the show I would only need $30,000 to fix my house before the city comes again to board it up the other family could keep the rest

  16. Danni Eikanger says:

    I think shows like this gives people hope. The only thing that bothers me is. There are never people from Wyoming. Most of time the people are from California, New York or Texas. There are people struggling in other parts of the Country.

  17. Pam Inman says:

    This is an awesome idea, it will be a help to families who are struggling to keep their heads above water and their family together under the same roof. I know this because we are a family like that. And having The Briefcase knock at the place we are currently staying would be the blessing we’ve been waiting for. It will allow and keep us from ever worrying about being homeless ever again. So, please knock on our door and answer our prayers.

  18. Sam says:

    I want to know how people can get so lucky to be on a show that could change their lives. My husband and I have struggled more than those I read about and where is our break??? Just makes a person feel even more desperate than they already do.

  19. Sam says:

    I don’t mean to take anything away from these people. But I just don’t see a light at the end of my tunnel.

  20. Pamela white says:

    I would like to be come a contest for the show I have hardship

    • i would love a chance to be on this show. I have worked hard all my life. I raised 3 children on my own. I can no longer work due a major health issue. I have no money and I am selling my posessions to pay my bills. I have faith and hope everything will get better. I don’t want much. I just want to keep my home that that I grew up in and my parents worked so hard for and pay my bills.

      • Tim Vick says:

        My wife and I would love to be on the show with you.You do have a house to stay in, we stay in a motel in Wilson NC. We been there 2yrs now. My wife gets disability now, an now,i”m not able to work now. I have a muscle disease and there’s no cure for it. It’s like the saying go’s they don’t know, don’t show, or care about what goes on in the hood. Tim Vick:😋😐😕😟😥😪

  21. Pamela white says:

    It’s a good show I like to become a contestant

  22. laurie mcelroy says:

    I would love to have this winning. so I can buy car.so I can take my mom places.shes 72 years old in a wheelchair.can walk and is hearing inpaired. And I’m a beast cancer patient

  23. laurie mcelroy says:

    Yes I will check it out.wish it was me

  24. I like the show i believe its a going to be a good show it teaches you to appreciate what you do have and u may have a situation but someone elses might be worser than yours.I understand cause Ive been homeless for two years but i would give all the money to someone who is in a worser situation than mines .

  25. I believe its very good some pepole are worser off than others and im homeless and would give all the money away to someone who is worse off than myself .

  26. Cetawayo family/illinois says:

    My wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009and going down every since we believe that a stem cell transplant will give her a life back she was an engineer and became so bad she had to close her business down she really needs this operation but she can’t afford it

  27. redman743 says:

    Thing like this don’t happen to people like us. Just for ones I would like for thing to go my way. Let my family get the briefcase , I will do something good with it.

  28. Fay B says:

    How can my husband and I get on the Briefcase show?

  29. Michelle Kuhns says:

    I hate to say this but I know people who are worse off than these people.For example my sister was diagnosed with cancer and it caused her to lose her job and put her in financial debt.I too think this show is manipulative. You should be able to give your money to who you feel needs it, not someone they pick.

  30. latrice says:

    I’m going to watch the show but what I don’t understand. How is it that everything happens in texas and in other states but no one seems to want to come to shreveport louisiana as if we don’t exist Shreveport Louisiana also has families that are in need and would love to have a chance to be on that show

  31. latrice says:

    I’m probably not going to watch it because all shows just go to one place Texas or upstate no one ever wants to come to the south. So No I Will Not Watch It…there are families in need in the south to

  32. Diane Reno says:

    I would like information on becoming a contestant for the show

  33. Jean bullock says:

    I thinkit is a good concept paying it forward is a wonderful idea for a show I hope that it hits as high marks as it can I wish I could have been a contestant I truly believe and paying it forward and with that much money so many families could benefit.

  34. Jean bullock says:

    I think it is a wonderful concept for a show paying it forward is a wonderful thing look how many families it could help that is in so much need really wish I could have been a contestant I hope it makes 100% good ratings

  35. ted pullin says:

    i think this show could change a lot of lives, if they do the right thing and give back, I myself would love the opportunity to do something like this for someone else but dont know how to go about doing is if you can help me make someones life better please email me @pullinted@yahoo.com thanks.

  36. Lynda says:

    I would love nothing more to be a contestant on the show !! You might be surprised to see what you would do once the money in your hands.

  37. Mildred Newton says:

    I would love to be on the show

  38. I want to be on the show soooooo bad

  39. I want to be on the show

  40. linda saunders says:

    Hi i need someone to help me i was taking care of all my kids and there kids now im behind in all my bills i need to move i don’t have no money or no one to help me please help me

  41. How can i become a candidate for the show The Brief Case

  42. Diane Reno says:

    I forgot to mention to my recent post I think the show is an excellent idea we need more kind of spirit like that in the world kindness pay it forward like the movie with Kevin Spacey and give back.

  43. debi lentz says:

    How do you pick families or person or stories cause id like. To submit mine

  44. Maritza Fernandez says:

    Im a mothef of two, who works as a ccashied. My fiance works in construction. We struggle economically, but we try to move forward, but there is always something blocking the way. especially with my Illness of FIbromalgya but i stay working even with pain so i can be a role model to my kids.

  45. Rosemary says:

    I wish I was one of the lucky one.

  46. Gary White says:

    I have to watch this at least once .. If someone GIVES you money > what do you do > it is a gift > you keep it. You must of found people from another planet because this a ” no brainer ” on earth.

  47. I would love the opportunity to be on this new show brief case

  48. How do I reach these people to see about getting help a family of 2 adults an 4 kids in a 3 bedroom trailor in bush louisiana that needs a bigger living area an there house has mold an needs a new roof an could really use a blessing like this just to see if we can be a family to be chosen or blessed this is my family an we are struggling with finances wife works at walmart we are a praying family an I stay at home as baby sitter I pray someone sees this an a change in our life is possible for help 84242 press sharp rd bush louisiana the Cunningham family

  49. Billy Riemer says:

    This Show seems Like a Good Life Lesson. It Teaches People, that No Matter what you do with Money, It is There for One Minute and Gone The Next. So, Use The Money Wisely!