The New York Times reports on the rise of a new breed of reality-TV shows: the so-called "reality-sitcom," which is now seen by some producers as the next wave of reality. Three shows are considered to be the leading wave of the genre:

(1) NBC's Average Joe, which has been delayed from a summer run until fall and was featured in NBC's presentation to TV critics;

(2) Fox's The Simple Life, which likewise has been postponed from August to October; and

(3) Spike TV's new reality satire Joe Schmo, a 10-episode series featuring a duped contestant competing in a series of phony events. The other "contestants" are improvisational actors whose job is to prevent the "schmo" from realizing that the show is fake ... while still wringing laughs from the absurd challenges (such as "Keep One Hand on the High-Priced Hooker" -- a take-off on the Survivor "Keep One Hand on the Immunity Idol" endurance challenge).

The duped contestant in Joe Schmo, Matt Kennedy Gould, thought he was competing for $100,000 on a new reality show entitled Lap of Luxury and, according to the show's producers, became totally committed to the "show" and its outrageous challenges (such as being handcuffed, dipped in honey and rolling on money). The humor of the show is built around his unwitting reactions to the bizarre events around him, similar to Candid Camera.

However, apparently Matt was none too pleased to learn that the "show" was really a vehicle to humiliate him, not a real contest ... to the point that he has refused to participate with the producers, Stone Stanley Productions, in promoting Joe Schmo. We can't say that we blame him.