Synopsis by Hal Erickson
It would be easy to describe Joe Millionaire as the most tastelessly voyeuristic reality series of the 21st century, except that it came too early in the century for such an assessment to be final. On this one, 20 lovely young ladies were whisked off to a lavish French château, there to be wooed and possibly won by the mansion's owner, a 28-year-old multimillionaire. Only the series' producers knew that the man in question, one Evan Marriott, was not worth the 50 million dollars he claimed to be, but was merely a 19,000-dollar-a-year construction worker. As each woman vied for Marriott's attentions -- and as several were eliminated from the running week after week -- the question posed by the series was: Will the 'winner' continue to profess her undying love and devotion to the studly Marriott once she finds out that he isn't a millionaire? (Funny, when the series finally aired, the women who lost insisted that they weren't golddiggers.) From the people responsible for Temptation Island, the seven-episode Joe Millionaire opened to low expectations and high ratings on January 6, 2003.