The Philanthropist (TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Philanthropist
The Philanthropist (TV series).png
The Philanthropist intertitle
Created byTom Fontana
Charlie Corwin
Jim Juvonen
StarringJames Purefoy
Jesse L. Martin
Neve Campbell
Krista Allen
Lindy Booth
James Albrecht
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Charlie Corwin
Tom Fontana
Barry Levinson
Running timeapprox. 45 minutes
Production company(s)Levinson/Fontana Company
Original Media
Carnival Films
Universal Media Studios
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Original releaseJune 24 –
August 12, 2009 (2009-08-12)

The Philanthropist was an American action drama series that premiered on NBC on Wednesday, June 24, 2009. The program was a limited summer series, principally filmed in South Africa. It opened to strong ratings, but saw a drop in viewers in subsequent weeks.[1] The Philanthropist is a Carnival Films production in association with The Levinson/Fontana Company and Original Media. Tom Fontana, Barry Levinson, Peter Horton, Charlie Corwin, Gareth Neame, and Teri Weinberg served as executive producers.

On October 21, 2009, the series was canceled by NBC.[2] Fans attempts to keep the show on the air using Facebook and a charitable cause called "Save The Philanthropist through Charity"[3] were unsuccessful.


The title character, Teddy Rist (portrayed by James Purefoy), is a billionaire playboy haunted by the death of his only child. His life changes when he rescues a young boy during a hurricane in Nigeria. As a result, Rist begins using his fortune to personally change the lives of others.[4] The Philanthropist is based loosely on the life of Bobby Sager.[5]

Cast and characters[edit]

Cast Character Notes
James Purefoy Teddy Rist A British-American billionaire, driven to do good works after the death of his son
Jesse L. Martin Philip Maidstone Co-CEO of Rist's company and best friend to Teddy
Neve Campbell Olivia Maidstone Philip's wife, runs the company's charitable foundation
Michael Kenneth Williams Dax Iraq war veteran, Teddy's body guard
Lindy Booth A.J. Butterfield Director of Special Projects at Maidstone-Rist
Krista Allen Julia Carson Rist Teddy's ex-wife
James Albrecht Gerard Kim Teddy's personal assistant


# Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Nigeria (Part 1)"
Peter HortonTom Fontana, Charlie Corwin & Jim JuvonenJune 24, 2009 (2009-06-24)
A successful tycoon, Teddy Rist, decides to use his money and power to help those in need. First, he has to deliver a vaccine to a Nigerian town with sick children.
2"Myanmar"Ed FraimanBrant Englestein & Lukas ReiterJuly 1, 2009 (2009-07-01)
The Maidstone-Rist Company is outed by a human rights organization as having ties to businesses in Myanmar, also known as Burma, where there is oil and gas exploration using forced labor. Teddy decides the only way to conclude whether to continue their business activities in the country is to get advice from Daw May Lin Wai, a revered Burmese democratic leader who has been under house arrest in the country for nearly two decades, with obvious parallels to the real-life Aung San Suu Kyi. During his search for Lin Wai, Teddy meets a young girl (Lucy Brown), desperately in need of a kidney transplant. The girl's father is a suitable donor but he's being kept at a forced labor camp and it is feared that he won't get to his daughter in time to save her life. Back in New York, Philip and Olivia desperately try to explain Teddy's behavior to an irate board of directors.
3"Paris"Duane ClarkHannah ShakespeareJuly 8, 2009 (2009-07-08)
On a business trip to Paris with Teddy and her husband, Philip, Olivia runs into an old friend, Isabelle. Reminiscing is short lived however, as Isabelle soon admits to being in debt to Bejan, a high powered Parisian man running a sex trafficking ring out of her hotel. Olivia is devastated when Bejan callously kills Isabelle and she is determined to help the other women caught up in the ring. As Teddy investigates, he is horrified to learn the extent of the trafficking that goes on. As he concocts a plan to free the victims, his findings lead him to a house full of abused young girls and Teddy, determined to see justice, will stop at nothing to rescue them.
4"Nigeria (Part 2)"Jonas PateTom FontanaJuly 15, 2009 (2009-07-15)
Teddy heads back to Kujama, Nigeria, the scene of his philanthropic epiphany. He has opened an oil refinery that will help bring commerce to the small village. However, Teddy's business and philanthropic plans are thrown aside when his respected friend, Doctor Chima Balo, is kidnapped by a local rebel leader, Jonathan Bankole, who disapproves of Teddy's interference in the village. Teddy vows to get Chima back safely but Bankole will only release her if the government pays a huge ransom, forcing Teddy to begin negotiations with a self-righteous General. Meanwhile, in New York, Philip is reflecting on Teddy's newfound charitable character and is keen to indulge in serving others too, by helping an unemployed acquaintance stay afloat while also motivating the man's son to take his schoolwork more seriously.
5"Kosovo"John StricklandJohn McNamaraJuly 22, 2009 (2009-07-22)
Teddy takes his ex-wife, Julia Rist (Krista Allen), on a journey as he tells her about his business venture to Kosovo, a country full of depression and poverty since the 1990s when the Serbian army attacked the Albanian Muslims, who make up the majority of the population. In a series of flashbacks, Teddy addresses the locals in Kosovo, explaining that his company would like to invest money in a bauxite halloysite mine which will not only be profitable for Maidstone-Rist but will ensure them a better future. Teddy wants the Serbians and Albanians to work together at the mine and start a business that will better the lives of all those who populate Kosovo. As the Serbians and Albanians refuse to pull together, it's clear their hatred runs deeper than Teddy first thought. AJ and Philip worry Teddy has bitten off more than he can chew.
6"San Diego"Charles BeesonKyle Bradstreet & Brant EnglesteinJuly 29, 2009 (2009-07-29)

When charitable donations in San Diego are fraudulently charged to Teddy Rist's credit card, Teddy and Dax go on a manhunt to search for the identity thief, following a trail of receipts through fancy hotels, tattoo parlors and strip clubs. Meanwhile, in New York, Olivia and Philip are devastated to find out that the man with whom they've been investing all of the Foundation's money has actually been running a Ponzi scheme – the Maidstone-Rist charitable arm is now in financial jeopardy.

At the end of the episode, Rist looks at a wall in his office (that once used to display his expensive painting by Fredrik Oma) that showcases four framed pictures. The pictures are of people he has helped through his philanthropy, supposedly all of which were present in previous episodes. Three of the photographs are of people recognizable to consistent viewers of the show. However, the fourth is of two people, most likely Middle-Eastern or Southeast Asian, in a mountainous region. This leads the viewer to wonder if they missed an episode, which is correct. NBC advertised the previous week that they would air an episode about water delivery between Pakistan and India, but apparently aired the "San Diego" episode before "Kashmir," thereby creating a story inconsistency.
7"Kashmir"Andy WilsonJim JuvonenAugust 5, 2009 (2009-08-05)
Teddy and Philip's college friend, Rhada Shivpuri (Sarita Choudhury), asks for their help to delicately negotiate with both the Indian and Pakistani governments in an attempt to rebuild the region's water system and reopen 'The Line of Control' which divides the ancient land of Kashmir in two. The border restricts trade between India and Pakistan and Rhada hopes, with Teddy and Philip's help, water will be transported to put an end to the severe drought suffered by both countries in the Kashmiri region. Their mission spirals out of control when militants wage an attack on Mumbai, halting their business plan. In an effort to get their operation back on track, Teddy heads into Kashmir on his own but in the process, lands himself in mortal danger. With Teddy missing, Philip and Dax lead the manhunt to find their friend while Olivia and AJ sit anxiously by the phone in New York, praying Teddy will be found in one piece.
8"Haiti"Jonas PateJohn McNamaraAugust 12, 2009 (2009-08-12)
Teddy has come to the impoverished Haiti with his partner, Philip to try and solve an almost-hopeless food shortage. Philip, who was born in Haiti but left at the age of six, is locking horns with a powerful island senator named Jean Beauvais who also happens to be Philip's estranged brother. Philip wants to help Haiti; but Jean wants Haiti to help itself. Common ground between the brothers is marred by years of resentment and mistrust.


U.S. ratings[edit]

Order Episode Rating Share Rating/share
1 "Pilot" 4.8 9 2.0/6 7.41 4 16
2 "Myanmar" 3.7 7 1.5/4 5.72 2 8 28
3 "Paris"[6] 3.7 7 1.4/4 5.14 3 9 18
4 "Nigeria (Part 2)" 2.8 5 1.1/4 4.35 3 10 24
5 "Kosovo" 3.1 6 1.1/3 4.74 3 9 20
6 "San Diego" 3.1 6 1.4/4 4.95 3 8 15
7 "Kashmir" 2.8 5 1.2/4 4.35 3 8 24
8 "Haiti" 3.2 6 1.2/4 4.68 3 8 25

Non-US showings and re-airings[edit]

In December 2010 and January 2011, the show was aired in Australia on 7Two, a Seven Network digital channel. In August 2013 started on polish TVP1.

Home media releases[edit]

The complete series was released on January 5, 2010 on DVD in Region 1. It was released as a two-disc set, with a total running time of 300 minutes.[7]


The Philanthropist is inspired by the hands-on philanthropy of Bobby Sager.


  1. ^ The Philanthropist: Sinking Ratings; Keep It or Cancel It? TV Series Finale
  2. ^ "The Philanthropist: NBC Drama Officially Cancelled". TV Series October 21, 2009.
  3. ^ DeborahB2 (October 29, 2009). "The Philanthropist Has Been Officially Cancelled But A Group Of Fans Are Trying To Save It". News. Sidereel.
  4. ^ Listings – PHILANTHROPIST, THE on NBC Listings - Philanthropist, The on NBC
  5. ^ "From a rich life, a rich plot: Malden native's globe-trotting philanthropy inspires new NBC drama" by Joanna Weiss, Boston Globe, June 24, 2009. Retrieved 8/21/09.
  6. ^ "Shows A-Z – philanthropist, the on nbc".
  7. ^ "The Philanthropist: The Complete Series (2009)". Retrieved February 19, 2010.

External links[edit]