De Grote Donorshow (The Big Donor Show) was a hoax reality television program which was broadcast in the Netherlands on Friday, June 1, 2007 by BNN. The program involved a supposedly terminally ill 37-year-old woman donating a kidney to one of three people requiring a kidney transplantation. Viewers were be able to send advice on who they think she should choose to give her kidney to via text messages. The profit made by the text messages was given to the Dutch Kidney Foundation. The program, due to its controversial nature, had received heavy international criticism in the run up to the broadcast. In the end, it was revealed during the course of the show that the terminally ill woman was, in reality, an actress, although the three candidates were, in fact, real kidney patients; they were aware of the fact that Lisa was an actress, and participated because they were supportive of BNN's cause to give awareness to the limited number of organ donors in the Netherlands.
In a press statement after the show, Paul Römer, the director of the program's creator Endemol, stated that the show was necessary in order to get the shortage of donors back on the political agenda.
Laurens Drillich, the chairman of BNN at the time, defended the program and argued that the network deliberately wants to shock people and draw attention to the shortage of organ donors. "We very much agree that it's bad taste but we also believe that reality is even worse taste. I mean, it's going very, very bad with organ donorship in the Netherlands. We as a broadcaster, BNN, had someone who started our TV station who needed kidneys and was on a waiting list and died eventually at the age of 35. That happened five years ago and in the last five years the situation has only gotten worse in the Netherlands.
Minister of Education, Culture, and Science Ronald Plasterk told the press he now thought that "the show had been a fantastic idea, and a great stunt". Joop Atsma, MP for the Christian Democrats, who had previously attempted to prohibit the show, has called it a "tasteless show", and claimed that he feels it didn't contribute to the solving of the problem.
In the few hours after the show BNN received SMS messages from over 12,000 viewers who told the network that they would fill in a donor form. After a day 30,000 donor forms were requested, and two days after the show the official Dutch TV news broadcast "NOS News" announced that 50,000 people had requested a donor form to be send to them, a figure that is expected to still rise. In July, a month after the show aired, 7,300 new donors were registered by the dutch donor registration.
Laurens Drillich, BNN's chairman, told the press "It was very hard to keep this a secret, and to tell this lie time after time, but I did it because of the good cause."