NBC's latest dating show, Average Joe (Mondays at 10 pm/ET), appeals to the social misfit in all of us. Here's their angle to suck us in: In last week's premiere, ex-NFL cheerleader Melana Scantlin who thought she was in for a Trista-esque fairy tale discovered that her 16 eligible bachelors are a gaggle of geeks, shorties, husky guys and other less-than-model-perfect types. She's a dream come true for most of them, but they're a crashing disappointment to her, at least at first. How did Average Joe lure self-respecting males to volunteer themselves for this unflattering scenario?
"We cast them saying we were looking for people who were 'the life of the party,'" exec producer Stuart Krasnow tells TV Guide Online. "We then chose who we thought matched the description that we wanted physically. When we put them in that house together, that's the first time they realized that the rest of the cast maybe didn't look the way they thought the cast would look. I think there were some very sad, private moments for some of them, looking around thinking, 'Why am I grouped with this bunch?'"
Once they came to terms with their cruel fate at Joe's Palm Springs resort, host Kathy Griffin insists they formed real bonds, unlike other nasty dating-show competitors. "First of all, they all get along and they love each other," says the reality aficionado, who won Celebrity Mole: Hawaii this year. "When one would get the boot, they would be sobbing hysterically, because they were losing a buddy."
Krasnow thinks even Melana's rejected Joes will ultimately benefit from this fairly humiliating experience. "Sometimes you see these guys on TV, and they're completely unattainable to the average viewer at home," he suggests. "I think the websites we've set up for [Joe's] guys are going to get an unbelievable amount of hits from women who really want to meet them."