Monday, January 20, 2003

'Millionaire' regrets no diploma



By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LOS ANGELES - Fox's Joe Millionaire has some regrets - but not about misrepresenting himself as a $50-million man for 20 single women.

"The thing that has bothered me probably the most out of this - and I'm letting my guard down by saying this - is ... being ashamed of not finishing (high) school," Evan Marriott told the Television Critics Association.

"A lot of people think I graduated from high school," says Mr. Marriott, 28. "It was a little disheartening to my parents. I'm the only grandchild in my family that never went to college."

Mr. Marriott was operating heavy equipment for a California construction company when a producer invited him to interview for Joe Millionaire (9 p.m. today, Channels 19, 45).

He would live in a huge French mansion and tell 20 single American women that he had just inherited $50 million. Producers wanted to see if the women would want the man - or just his money.

At first he said no. And then he changed his mind, figuring telling a little white lie on TV could be better than scraping by on $19,000 last year (due to a construction slowdown after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks).

"I sat at home a lot. A lot of my stress - and a reason I did the show - was because I had had such a bad year financially. I couldn't afford a bed... (and) was eating beanie-weenies morning, noon and night," says Mr. Marriott, who also has worked as a doorman, bellman and underwear model.

"I was at a crossroads in my life... and once I realized that I needed to start taking some steps in my life to better myself, and this could be the opportunity, I said, "I'm doing it.' "

The Virginia native refuses to say how the women reacted when they learned he was just a regular Joe.

Says Gail Berman, Fox Entertainment president: "The women were OK with how we handled it."

And the 18 million Millionaire viewers will be "extremely satisfied by the ending of this show," she says.

Mr. Marriott says he's not bothered by tabloid reports that he's gay and stupid and hates women.

"When I'm reading the tabloids, my article is right next to the three-headed baby from Indiana, (so) how serious can you take it?"

During the packed press conference at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Mr. Marriott was asked if he planned to go back to a normal life after the show concludes next month.

"I don't know what the future holds," he says, "and I don't think anything in my life like this is normal."

WKRC-AM news: Pat Barry's local afternoon drive show has been replaced by a syndicated show hosted by Fox News personality Sean Hannity. It starts 3-6 p.m. today on Clear Channel's WKRC-AM (550).

Mr. Barry, the former DJ and TV weatherman, "will be staying with the station in other capacities," says Tony Bender, program director.

WVXU-FM news: We Were Here, a two-hour tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., airs at 8 p.m. today on WVXU-FM (91.7). Lee Hay, the station's Audiosyncrasies host, produced the show, which has been offered to public radio stations nationwide.

Frank Farmer Loomis' Keep Antiquing call-in show moves to5-6 p.m. today, replacing Brain Brew, which has moved to 11 a.m. Saturday on WGUC-FM (90.9).

About face: This just in: Dateline NBC will devote an entire hour during February sweeps to the plastic surgery that has been done on Michael Jackson's face.

TV today: Doris Day's 1943 audition for WLW-AM (700) can be heard on the E! True Hollywood Story biography of Ms. Day, born in Cincinnati as Doris Kappelhoff (8-10 p.m., E! Entertainment TV).

The audition tape came from WVXU-FM's 1991 Peabody Award-winning audio documentary, Cincinnati Radio: The War Years (1941-45).

History buff Richard Dreyfuss provides the voice of President Theodore Roosevelt on TR: An American Lion (9 p.m. today and Tuesday, History Channel).

Fox's Futurama has been picked up by the Cartoon Network at 11 p.m. daily.

E-mail jkiesewetter@enquirer.com




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