American TV chat show queen Oprah Winfrey is ditching the high life to star in a poverty-stricken reality TV series.

The 51-year-old media mogul, who is one of the world's richest women with an annual income of over $300 million (GBP158 million), has agreed to live a life of poverty in the hard-hitting documentary.

Winfrey will reside in a high-rise apartment on a notoriously tough Chicago, Illinois, estate for a month. The series plans to highlight America's inner-city housing crisis.

A spokesperson for her HARPO PRODUCTIONS company says, "She has interviewed just about every major celebrity and done shows on almost every subject imaginable.

"But now she intends to tackle really tough, serious issues, putting herself right in the front line."

However, to ensure Winfrey's safety she will shadowed by security guards during her stay.

But the spokesperson adds, "In every other respect she will have to fend for herself, just like the many people who have to live in these sub-standard conditions."

20/03/2005 21:35