Queen for a Day was a show that began on radio in 1945, and jumped to TV from 1956 to 1964. It was revived in 1969-70, and had a couple of specials and a movie in between. The idea was heartwarming: to give a down-and-out woman her dream come true. But the reality was that several women competed for the worst hardship story, and the audience selected a winner, who received gifts from sponsors, such as modern appliances, money for medical care, or a vacation. It was essentially the beginning of "poverty porn."
So debasing yourself for a chance at a better life is nothing new. This show asked women, working housewives, what they would wish for in order to make their lives and those of their families better. Women would break down sobbing and go so far as to beg just to procure amenities for their family that were desperately needed while being viewed by a studio audience. Mothers and wives are usually willing to do what it takes to keep their family safe and secure, but banking on human misery seems to be pushing it too far.