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'Joe Schmo' Matt Kennedy Gould signs "development deal" with SpikeTV

By Wade Paulsen, 11/10/2003 

The NY Daily News reports that Matt Kennedy Gould, the duped contestant on SpikeTV's The Joe Schmo Show, has signed a development deal with the network. However, under the deal as reported, Matt only has two prospects "under development."

Matt's primary assignment will be to add audio commentary to reruns of The Joe Schmo Show, beginning with the show "marathon" airing on Veteran's Day (Nov. 11). The comments are intended to answer the question of "what was Matt thinking" -- albeit filtered through the lens of a several-month lag since filming and a lot of public discussion on that very topic. In addition, Matt will contribute his on-air reactions and some taped man-in-the-street interviews to SpikeTV's upcoming Spike 52: The Hottest Holiday Gifts, a Christmas special set to air on Nov. 23 that will be hosted by Aisha Tyler.

While we admit to not being experts in Hollywood terminology, we have a hard time thinking of this as a "development" deal, as that usually involves shaping a new project. Instead, this sounds more like a traditional talent deal. We wonder if the terminology is SpikeTV's means of overcoming Matt's reported reluctance to engage in pre-show publicity for Joe Schmo, by couching the request for "cooperation" in a manner more in keeping with Matt's desire to become an actor instead of his prior occupations of law-school dropout and pizza delivery guy.

As one of our colleagues put it, SpikeTV may want to be sure that Matt continues to refer to Joe Schmo as a stepping stone to a career, NOT an embarassing scam contrived to make him look stupid on national TV. Positive statements may help build ratings for a second edition; negative statements might kill the entire Joe Schmo concept. For example, it's hard not to think that the negative press that followed the end of Fox's Joe Millionaire didn't help create the ratings disaster of the second season.

As far as Matt's job on Spike 52: The Hottest Holiday Gifts, our colleague points out that "it sounds like the sort of job that you'd give a network executive's no-talent son. If Matt was a network executive's no-talent girlfriend, you might see him hosting his own reality TV show." We agree.


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