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Joe Millionaire’s Big Return To Air Was Almost Ruined Thanks To One Big Snafu And Production Halt

Steven McBee, Martin Andrew and Kurt Sowers gather around a cell phone on Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer.
(Image credit: Fox)

Joe Millionaire made its return to the world of reality dating shows, as Fox introduced a new format for the series that questions if its contestants are in it for the love or the money. Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer is a reboot of the series from the early 2000s that ran for two seasons, but its revival was almost immediately derailed, due to a big snafu that halted production on the first night.

The original Joe Millionaire introduced a group of women to a man under the pretenses that he was worth millions of dollars, only to reveal to the winner that the lead was actually a blue-collar worker with a far smaller bank account. The reboot kept the premise the same but avoided the problematic aspect of misleading its contestants by introducing two leads – one worth $10 million, and the other not, leaving the women to pursue one or the other without knowing which one was the millionaire. This is where the snafu happened.

Upon the introduction of Kurt Sowers and Steven McBee as the two eligible bachelors, one woman, Caroline Campbell, recognized McBee, whispering to another contestant that she followed him on Instagram. McBee, as well, recognized Campbell and immediately grabbed Sowers and host/butler Martin Andrew to make them aware of the problem. A producer, meanwhile, took Campbell away from the other women before she had a chance to share any more information.

Although Steven McBee and Caroline Campbell had never met in real life, her following him on social media meant she would be aware that McBee lived a wealthy lifestyle. With the whole premise of the show being contingent on not knowing which of the leads was the millionaire, Campbell’s presence was a huge issue. It was agreed that McBee would have to send Campbell home. He told her:

My whole goal in coming here was to find love in its truest form and meeting women that don't know anything about me whatsoever. Not a single thing. As unfortunate as it is, I can't do that with you knowing who I am. So I'm going to have to send you home. I'm so sorry. It's nothing against you.

Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer seemed to narrowly avoid disaster, as Caroline Campbell could have unknowingly spoiled the show by sharing details of Steven McBee’s lifestyle with the other contestants. Even with Campbell gone, producers stopped production for the night, not revealing the $10 million twist until the next day.

It’s a little strange that the Caroline situation got to that point in the first place. You’d think with the whole show depending on its leads’ anonymity, producers would know if any of the contestants followed Kurt Sowers or Steven McBee on social media. But it made for some fun drama in the premiere, and isn’t that what really counts?

Either way, the show must go on, and Kurt Sowers and Steven McBee embarked on their journeys to hopefully find true love. Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer resumes at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 13, on Fox. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what other shows are premiering this month. 

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.