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Fox Is Bringing Back One of Its Most Reviled, and Popular, Reality Dating Series

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 4, 2021 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 4, 2021 |


This country has a weird obsession with dating shows and millionaires. You might recall that back in the year 2000 (such innocent times!), Fox hosted a beauty-pageant style special, Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire, in which 50 women competed for the right to marry a millionaire that they’d never met (turns out, the millionaire in question, Rick Rockwell, wasn’t as successful as he said he was, and also had a restraining order out against him from a previous ex; the “winner,” Darva Conger, quickly annulled the marriage). There was also Megan Wants a Millionaire, in which a former Rock of Love contestant was wooed by wealthy men; Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo where a dating consultant matched wealthy men with women; and who could forget I Wanna Marry Harry, the short-lived reality series in which 20 American women were led to believe that they were vying for the affection of the real Prince Harry.

Inarguably, the most successful of all the millionaire dating shows, however, was Joe Millionaire, a reality show that aired on Fox in 2003 in which a group of women were gaslit into believing they were competing for a relationship with a millionaire only to discover, in the end, that Joe was a wealthless construction worker. The show was designed to test whether these women were only in it for the money or if their love was “real.” You may recall that the show, at one point, was edited to insinuate that one of the contestants was giving “Joe” a blow job, which in fact was untrue. At the end of the show, the winning woman is apprised of the ruse. If she still accepts the love of “Joe,” then the two are given $1 million to split between them. True love! (The relationship did not last).

The first season of the series was hugely successful, fetching over 40 million viewers for the finale. The second season? Yeah, nobody remembers it. It was a one-time stunt, and by the second season, the novelty was gone despite the fact that they brought in European women. The series was canceled.

Now it’s back, God help us. The twist in Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer, however, is that there are two bachelors, one of whom is wealthy, and the other of whom is not.

Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer premieres in January.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: Fox