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‘Joe Schmo’ Returns for 2nd Season

Feb 9, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Spike TV’s first homegrown hit, “The Joe Schmo Show,” will return to the cable network, sources said, possibly as early as May. The second season is expected to receive more hype than the original runs of the series, which aired last fall.
“The Joe Schmo Show” drew a record-breaking 3.4 million total viewers for its dramatic finale Oct. 28. The show ranks as the highest-rated original program ever to premiere on the cable outlet. In addition, the finale’s 3.4 million total viewers more than doubled the audience for the series’ previous record high-the Oct. 14 episode, with 1.6 million total viewers.
Compared with the previous year’s time slot, the finale episode increased men 18 to 49 levels by 480 percent; men 18 to 34 by 825 percent and adults 18 to 49 by 500 percent. “We would love to do it again, but we have to be real careful how we do it,” said Kevin Kay, executive VP of programming and production for Spike TV, in October (TelevisionWeek, Oct. 27, 2003). “We don’t want to be `The Next Joe Millionaire,’ so we’re trying to figure out if [another season] can be or should be done.”
The decision has now been made to move forward, though production sources remained mum about how they would pull off the stunt again. The first season featured an unknowing contestant, Matt Kennedy Gould, “competing” against hired actors in a semi-spoof of the reality show genre. Mr. Gould, who eventually received $100,000 for his involvement, didn’t know his competitors were actors working for the producers.
Initially, critics and fans were mixed. Some called Mr. Gould dull and bashed the show as cruel and tasteless, but as the series progressed a sea change occurred after Mr. Gould refused to succumb to ethical temptations. Viewers, the producers and cast members began rooting for him. Planned story lines were altered at the last minute to have activities go easier on Mr. Gould-even though it meant steering the show away from the dramatic satire. Producers said they were grew unavoidably fond of the guy.
The weekly one-hour innovative new series is produced exclusively for Spike TV by independent production company Stone Stanley Entertainment, whose credits include “The Mole,” “Fame” and “The Man Show.” “The Joe Schmo Show” was created by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who also serve as writers and executive producers with David Stanley, Scott Stone and Anthony Ross.
Each of the executives will return for the series’ sophomore go-round.
Stone Stanley declined comment and Spike TV was unavailable for comment.