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Joe Millionaire
Genre Reality
Directed by Bryan O'Donnell
Brian Smith
Glenn Taylor
Presented by Alex McLeod
Composer(s) David Vanacore
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 6
Production
Executive producer(s) Chris Cowan
Jean-Michel Michenaud
Producer(s) Marcia Garcia
Tim Piniak
Ashton Ramsey
Running time 60 mins.
Broadcast
Original channel Fox
Original run 02010-01-06 January 6 – November 24, 2003 (2003-11-24)
Chronology
Followed by The Next Joe Millionaire

Joe Millionaire is an American reality television show that was broadcast on Fox beginning in January 2003. It was broadcast in the UK that same year. A sequel, The Next Joe Millionaire, followed in October 2003.

The show was wildly successful and became a pop culture phenomenon, with over 40 million viewers in the US tuning in to the season one finale making it the most-watched episode of any reality show since the season finale of the first season and premiere episode of the second season of Survivor.[1]

Contents

Premise

The basic premise is that bachelor Evan Marriott has inherited millions of dollars and is searching for a potential bride. He takes a group of hopeful women on several dates to exotic and luxurious locations, eliminating women at the end of each episode until only one woman remains. The main gimmick of the show is that the entire "millionaire" premise is actually an elaborate ruse. The women are not aware that this bachelor is in fact a working class construction worker. (The Smoking Gun later discovered that Marriott had also been an underwear model for California Muscle.[2]) After all other contestants have been eliminated, the secret is revealed to the last remaining woman. If she decides to stay with Marriott anyway, the couple is surprised with a real check for a million dollars.

The show thus had moral overtones. Viewers could see how differently women treat a man they believe to be rich, and see if these attitudes change once they find out he is not rich. Following this happy ending, one of the disappointed contestants filed a lawsuit against the show's producers, who had supposedly deceived her with the lure of Evan's supposed wealth.

First season

A theme throughout the first season was Marriott's attempt to ascertain which of the twenty contestants were sincere and which ones were simply seeking a wealthy mate.

The show made a minor star out of Paul Hogan, the manservant whose role developed in the words of the network "into the glue that held the show together".[3] Hogan was not actually the host of the program - Alex McLeod was the program's host.[4]

Runner-up Sarah Kozer received notoriety when the media reported during the course of the show that she had appeared fully clothed in bondage videos while she was attending law school.[5] In the show's sauciest scene Kozer appeared to go into the woods to fellate Marriott. Marriot and Kozer claim no sex acts occurred. In the VH1 program Secrets of Reality TV she alleges that her statement "let's go somewhere quiet" was in fact spoken while she was receiving a back massage from another female contestant and that the producers dubbed it in during post editing and added kissing sound effects and the subtitles 'slurp, gulp, slurp' to make the scene more salacious. The show's editors corroborated this fact later in an interview for Radar magazine.

A contestant known only as Heidi made waves when she admitted she already had a boyfriend and would marry a man for his money. An interview segment in which she quipped 'I'm a banker, I can help' about Marriott's supposed wealth seemed to underscore Heidi was a gold digger.

Zora Andrich was the last woman to stay with Marriott and the two were delighted by the million dollar reward. Unsurprisingly their union did not last - she claimed she was attracted to a completely different man and he claimed she lost her sex appeal when the show was over. Consequently they did not see each other afterwards. But the million dollar check was real and the pair split the money. Zora would later explain in the VH1 show Secrets of Reality TV 2 that Marriott told her via cell phone that he did not choose her but Fox insisted he do so.

Joe Millionaire was filmed primarily at the Château de la Bourdaisière in the countryside of the commune of Montlouis-sur-Loire in the Indre-et-Loire département in France.

The Next Joe Millionaire

The second installment, following the same premise, was set in Northern Italy, primarily at the Villa Oliva in Tuscany, with an American cowboy named David Smith, who, viewers were told, had earned only $11,000 on the rodeo circuit the previous year, choosing from fourteen English-speaking European contestants who were selected, in large part, due to their being unaware of the first show. During casting, the women were told by Fox casting agents that the show they were going to appear on would involve a group of European girls interacting with American males on an island somewhere. Contestants ranged from being Dutch, Swedish, Italian, German, and Czech. There was also a new "hostess," a then-unknown Samantha Harris, who appeared to be there for the sole purpose of announcing the elimination ceremony. The butler was, once again, played by Paul Hogan.

However, the show's popularity, which depended entirely on its charade, dissolved very quickly. As the Associated Press put it, Joe Millionaire “has gone from one of TV’s most surprising successes to the new season’s most spectacular flameout.” FOX’s entertainment chair Sandy Grushow said, "Our instincts told us from the very beginning that 'Joe Millionaire' was a one-time stunt and I think we got greedy." He added, "We tried to sneak it by the American public a second time and we got called on it."[6]

Initially, Fox appeared to promote the show to its American audience as a massive practical joke played on some snobby European women, who were shown nursing champagne-induced hangovers and depicted as turning up their noses at interacting with, or even assimilating the lifestyle of, an American cowboy. Smith was shown as polite and well-mannered, but unable to grasp any of the phrases or words he was taught in the different European languages or remembering the details of the faux-millionaire ruse he was expected to carry out. The show's climax occurred when one of the contestants, Linda Kazdová, from Czech Republic, was brought back to the show after eliminating herself, and was later selected by Smith as the winner. By that time, though, the show's popularity had irreversibly declined, and no more seasons were produced.

A theme throughout the second series was the place of materialism and surface beauty in world culture. The show presented the world as a tapestry lain out for the contestants to frolic in, not as a real environment where real people live. Discerning viewers could also note the manner in which creatively deceitful audio editing, heard in many of the voice-overs from contestants, characterized much of the production. The 'Joe Millionaire' series was a benchmark of a whole era of Fox Television reality shows that followed a similar formula—perpetrating a big scam on a group of unsuspecting contestants, with the audience watching them go through embarrassing situations, only to provide a 'happy ending' by awarding the eventual survivors a large sum of money.

A notable contestant was Olinda Borggren from Sweden. The year after participating in the show, she was cast as a contestant on the Swedish version of Paradise Hotel. After reaching the final week and becoming a notable name in her native country, she hosted a number of television shows in Sweden and later released a successful music single entitled "Playboy Bunny".

Instead of sharing a million dollars, like Andrich and Marriott had in the first show, Smith was awarded a ranch in Texas, while Kazdova was given a check for $250,000. As with the first installment, the couple's post-show interaction was short-lived, as Smith and Kazdova were separated by distance shortly after the show aired.[7] After an unsuccessful attempt at a show business career, Smith abandoned the rodeo and currently works in sales for an oilfield compressor leasing company and as a volunteer county marshall in his native Texas, still living on the ranch he was given at the end of the show. Kazdova went back to Prague to continue her education and now lives in San Francisco, working in the field of international finance.

The Next Joe Millionaire drew less than 7 million viewers a week with a season finale attracting only 9.4 million viewers.[8]

See also

References

External links








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