A decade after The Joe Schmo Show, the Truman Show-style reality series in which everyone except one person is an actor performing as part of a scripted narrative, will return to Spike in 2013. Titled Joe Schmo: The Full Bounty, it will feature a man who thinks he’s auditioning to be “America’s next bounty hunter.”
The original series, which aired in 2003, was followed by a second season in 2004. Here’s how Spike describes the conceit of the new season:
“In this installment, the ‘Joe’ believes he has been cast as one of several contestants in a new reality-competition series where the winner will become a bounty hunter. The ‘Joe’ will face an assortment of bounty hunting-related challenges from learning how to defuse a bomb to interrogating a hostile witness, totally oblivious to the fact that all the crazy situations he is placed in are scripted. Ralph Garman reprises his role from the first two ‘Joe Schmo’ seasons as the show ‘host’ along with a cast that showcases stereotypical reality show participants, ranging from the ditsy model to the self-absorbed, attention-grabbing jerk.”
Garman’s performance as host was fantastic, so it’s great that he’s returning, and the show will also have some reality star power in Lorenzo Lamas, who will play himself.
As much as I loved the original, I’m very cautious, in part because I can’t believe someone wouldn’t catch on in 2012, but mostly because I’ve been burned by the resurrection of other classic series. And really, this entire show rests on a single person: the mark. Season one’s Matt Kennedy Gould was impossibly perfect: so genuine that he stood out among all of the over-production around him. If the new mark is half as good as Matt, this has some potential.
Spike promises that the new, as-yet-unidentified “Joe” “demonstrates a keen sense of integrity and humanity, even under duress from the absurd predicaments he finds himself in.” He’s concealed in this preview, so his personality isn’t really apparent, but the show is, and it seems way too over-the-top and absurd. Then again, I remember thinking that about season one–and, you know, many non-fake reality shows.