Fox is dragging Joe Millionaire out of its frustratingly shallow grave – The A.V. Club


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Evan Marriott, the original Joe Millionaire

Evan Marriott, the original Joe Millionaire
Photo: Kevin Winter/FOX/ImageDirect (Getty Images)

Joe Millionaire is coming back, a scant 18 years after humanity assumed—with a degree of not-unearned confidence—that it had successfully un-watched the franchise out of existence.

Fox—who, we can only assume, is really hurting for extant properties that it didn’t garage sale off to Disney a few year back—announced that it was returning to the franchise earlier tonight, declaring that it would soon be launching Joe Millionaire: For Richer Or Poorer, a modern revival of the short-lived reality show about the twin pleasures of lying to women and judging people based on their material wealth.

The base premise of the original Joe Millionaire was simple: A series of women are told that a man is rich and would like to TV-date them; the audience knows that this is a lie. (A butler is also prominently featured.) The emotional appeal of the show was just as dirt simple, a blend of dramatic irony, schadenfreude, guilty pleasure, and unearned judgment, all of which managed to sustain the series for a whole season-and-a-half back in 2003. (Even the normally shameless Fox reality TV executives later admitted that going back to the well for a second season was an exercise in televisual hubris.) The best thing you can say about the series is that no one involved attempted to convince anyone that they might actually be marrying into the U.K. royal family, which is a depressingly low bar to clear.

Rather than rest on these rotted laurels, though, this new series adds a twist: Instead of straight-up lying to the show’s female contestants, they’ll instead be presented with two guys—one of whom is a millionaire, and one of whom isn’t. In other words, the show will be operating in the same blend of romantic social deduction as shows like Fboy Island or recent viral sensation The Love Trap, testing contestants’ belief in their own bullshit detectors as much as their beliefs that their romantic desires aren’t affected by whether their prospective partner has 10 million bucks lying around.

Joe Millionaire: For Richer Or Poorer will air on Fox in January 2022. You can view a trailer for the revived series above these words.

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