CBS announces the new reality show THE BRIEFCASE, featuring hard-working American families experiencing financial setbacks who are presented with a briefcase containing a large sum of money and 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 series premieres Wednesday, May 27 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: The Musolino Family from Fuqua Varina, NC. Best Possible Screen Grab/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved

Amanda and John Musolino have Keys connection

Imagine this: a TV producer hands you a briefcase with $100,000 in it. After a day’s worth of celebrating comes the catch. The needy family learns there is another needy family that will receive the remainder — or perhaps, all — of the briefcase contents. What follows is an emotional rollercoaster where the families learn tidbits about the others’ lives, go on a “reconnaissance” mission where they secretly observe the other, and finally meet face to face.

“America is going to see me as a cry baby,” said Amanda Musolino, laughing. “You want to do so much for other people, but you have to remember your own family, too.” Longtime locals might remember Amanda’s grandfather, Richard “Porky” Petticrew, a commercial fisherman. Her husband, John, carries on the tradition aboard the WhipperSnapper in the Lower Keys, fishing for snapper and grouper. That means he spends most of the year apart from Amanda and their three children — the oldest has autism — who live in North Carolina. Their dream is to be able to live together year round.

The Musolino’s counterpart on the show is the Scott family of Maryland. They are both little people with the dream of adopting a child, and saving for the expensive addition to the family.

Both families waver on how much to give the other. Initially, the Musolino family was only going to keep $3,500. In the end, they elected to give the Scott family $40,000. The Scott family was going to keep it all to pay for the foreign adoption of a young little person, but after learning of the Musolino’s plight — which includes bankruptcy and medical bills — they decide to give the Keys family $20,000.

The show aired on CBS on June 3. And, of course, the finale included one more complicated catch. BOTH families received a briefcase with $100,000 in it. And they had to reveal their decision to one another in a face-to-face conversation recorded for the posterity of the television audience. The Musolino family walked away from the show $80,000 richer for the experience and the Scott family netted $120,000.

According to a press release from the producers of the show, it is a “social experiment.”

When the Musolino family is in the Keys, their favorite spot is Looe Key and surrounding waters where the kids free dive, tube, snorkel and go lobster hunting. The family also has a special fondness for the fries at Burdine’s.

The show includes footage of Faro Blanco Resort and Bahia Honda Bridge and other locales.

Amanda and John met in the Keys as youngsters at Sunshine Key Resort and were married years later at sunrise on Sombrero Beach. Keys Weekly readers may remember a photo of John with his lobster art, his parttime hobby.

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