As Amazon Freevee’s hoax reality series “Jury Duty” is currently garnering huge amounts of attention, the format originator is staging a comeback. TBS is set to announce Wednesday that it has ordered a revival of “The Joe Schmo Show,” which will air next year on the cabler.
The original “Joe Schmo” premiered in 2003 on Spike TV, with a follow-up in 2004 and then a third season revival in 2013. Created by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (both of whom went on to a successful screenwriting career, including the “Deadpool” films), “Joe Schmo” made waves when it first debuted for parodying the then-relatively new and white-hot reality competition genre.
The new “Joe Schmo” will be hosted by Cat Deeley (“So You Think You Can Dance”) and once again center on a show-within-a-show in which one non-acting civilian thinks he’s competing on a reality series — when he’s actually in a scripted environment surrounded by improv comedians.
“When ‘The Joe Schmo Show’ launched 20 years ago, it was ahead of its time,” said Jason Sarlanis, president, Turner Networks, ID and HLN, linear & streaming. “In rebooting this classic for a modern, savvy audience, it gives us the opportunity to comment on the often absurd and hilarious tropes of reality television in ways our viewers will love.”
Reese and Wernick are back as producers, and the show comes from MTV Entertainment Studios and Fly on the Wall. The revival was announced during Warner Bros. Discovery’s upfront presentation by Kathleen Finch, Chairman and Chief Content Officer, US Networks Group, Warner Bros. Discovery.
The first three seasons of “The Joe Schmo Show” were hosted by Ralph Garman in various disguises and characters, depending on the season. The first season, a parody of vote-em-off shows like “Big Brother,” starred Garman as “the smarmy host” and also featured then-unknowns Kristen Wiig and David Hornsby playing housemates.
“Joe Schmo 2” was a play on dating shows like “The Bachelor,” with Garman as Derek Newcastle, “the pompous host.” Natasha Leggero and Jon Huertas were among the actors playing contestants.
The 2013 revival, “The Joe Schmo Show: The Full Bounty” was a take on shows like “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and featured Garman disguised as host “Jake Montrose,” a so-called real-life bounty hunter. Actors playing contestants included Lorenzo Lamas playing a version of himself.
Garman isn’t involved in the latest edition of “The Joe Schmo Show.” On his Patreon podcast “The Ralph Report,” Garman revealed that he was approached as production was well underway about appearing on the show in a cameo. But the production waited until the last minute and then low balled him on an offer, he said.
Here’s a first look at the return of “The Joe Schmo Show”: