Joe Millionaire (2003) was a short-lived reality show. OK, so you take a bunch of women, an attractive-looking guy (and rich to boot!), and throw them all in a house for a romantic elimination-style Reality Show
competition. What's that, you say? It's been done before? Not original?
Well, how about this: the guy (Evan Marriott) isn't really rich, but he's a working-class laborer who's pretending
to be rich - for the sake of the camera? Well, then you'd have Joe Millionaire
The show was a standard Bachelor
-style setup - each week, Evan would send off another lady who hadn't quite earned his affection. At the end of the show, he revealed his lack of finances to his ultimate choice (they didn't last as a couple), and they were given a million dollars to split between them.Joe Millionaire
had an impact on the reality genre that is not to be overlooked: it was one of the earliest successful programs that could be described as "The Bachelor
with a twist". There was a second season - complete with new Mock Millionaire
- and this time, the ladies came from all over the world (understandable, as The Reveal
from the first season was, thanks to its popularity, common knowledge in the United States). It didn't do nearly as well ratingswise, and that was it for the franchise.
This series provides examples of the following:
- Alpha Bitch: A contestant named Heidi was obviously groomed to be this, but she was eliminated early on. The eventual runner-up, Sarah Kozer, gradually replaced her.
- Breakout Character: The show made a minor star out of professional butler Paul Hogan, who narrated the opening titles, conducted Masterpiece Theatre-inspired "fireside chats" with the viewers in each episode, and whose genial unflappability contrasted nicely with the pettiness and histrionics of the various contestants. The network and even the show itself acknowledged his popularity during its original run, and he was the only cast member to carry over to the second season. By contrast, the nominal "host", Alex McLeod, appeared only in the elimination sequence (they used necklaces instead of roses), for a total of five minutes over the entire six-episode season.
- Mock Millionaire
- The Reveal