When Beauty and the Geek first debuted on the WB (remember the WB?) in 2005, many assumed it would either be a bad dating show or a cruel prank. Happily, it was neither. Exec producers Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg managed to make it a sweet, good-natured "social experiment" in which two opposite groups helped each other become more well-rounded and understand each others' worlds. Any friendships and romances were just the surprising side effect. Well, something different must have been in the air when they were filming the third go-round (premiering tonight at 8 pm/ET, on the CW), because when we caught Goldberg between his myriad projects, he told TVGuide.com that this year's beauty-geek connections shocked even him.
TVGuide.com: When Beauty and the Geek premiered, you called it a "social experiment." What have been the highly scientific results so far?
Jason Goldberg: We've had a hookup on every single show. I never thought we were going to get that, and this year, the hookups are unbelievable. Threesomes! It's fantastic television.
TVGuide.com: Are they relationships, or just hookups?
Goldberg: Big-time hookups. Unbelievable.
TVGuide.com: Have you talked to any of the cast from past seasons?
Goldberg: I actually don't communicate with them. I've been told that a couple of girls have gone back to school, and a couple of guys are mixing it up with multiple women each. God bless 'em.
TVGuide.com: What's different about this year's cast?
Goldberg: Each year we've had a single standout guy and maybe a standout girl. This year we have a totally well-rounded group of kids. They're all unique in their own right. I think that, whereas you focused on one person in the past — whether it was Tyson [Mao, Season 2's Rubik's cube guy] or [Season 1's] Richard Rubin — this year there are so many people who have a thing. I think this is our best season yet. It's mind-boggling to me how a guy like that ends up with a girl like that, and yet it happens. I can't explain why, and I can't explain how. But this year, boy, did it go there.
TVGuide.com: My biggest question every time I watch the show is, where do you find these people?
Goldberg: We have an amazing casting department. The show's popularity really took off, and I think that everyone found us. We got a lot of online submissions.
TVGuide.com: If they're applying on their own, are they really as geeky or as dumb as they need to be?
Goldberg: I don't think it's that simple. First of all, the basis of the show is, "Let's celebrate people who are different, embrace it a little bit." In the first year, no one knew the show they were walking into. Certainly in the second year and the third year, you had some people who thought they were going to pull a fast one. And it didn't happen, because at the end of the day we get in the room and ask the right questions.
TVGuide.com: So you're pretty confident there are no ringers.
Goldberg: There can't be. We put them through lie-detector tests. You can watch the scale move back and forth or up and down and see whether or not they're full of it.
TVGuide.com: Are there new twists this season?
Goldberg: There is a twist at the end of the first episode. At the end of the first two seasons, it wasn't about winning the money, but a lot of people [accused other teams] of not deserving to be there, or of being there for the wrong reason. So this season we put them right to the test and said, "Here's a bundle of money [you can take if you leave the show now]. Do you want to go for the experience, knowing that you're probably not going to win?" And then we watched that play out.
TVGuide.com: Are you ever going to do a show with geeky girls and himbos?
Goldberg: We've thought about that. It just depends on when.
TVGuide.com: Do you think it would work?
Goldberg: There's no question that it would work. It's just a question of when we're going to shoot it. That's really what it's about. We've had it in mind for a while.
TVGuide.com: Are you involved with the European versions of the show?
Goldberg: We just sold the formats. I get to see them, but they're in full control. They're very risqué. It's a very different show in Europe.
TVGuide.com: They can show more on TV there.
Goldberg: My god... the bathing-suit competition is different.
TVGuide.com: What was your favorite challenge?
Goldberg: I'm a huge fan of the makeover. I think it does really well. But there's a piece of me in all of them.
TVGuide.com: Were you a beauty or a geek in high school?
Goldberg: I was a geek.
TVGuide.com: You and your wife [Soleil Moon Frye] have a year-old daughter. Does the show make you think about how you're going to raise her to be more well-rounded?
Goldberg: I do. I'm thinking about sending her to Oxford. That's about it.
TVGuide.com: Who makes you sadder in their raw state, the beauties or the geeks?
Goldberg: I think they both make me happy, they're so unique. I am not a fan of conforming. When I see these people celebrate themselves in their own right, I think it's so cool.
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