So who is the butt of the joke — aka who is Joe Schmo — on Spike TV’s new series of the same name? The poor unsuspecting subject is Chase Rogan, a 28-year-old Pennsylvania native and sports fanatic who believes he is on a new over-the-top reality show called The Full Bounty, a show that is seeking America’s next bounty hunter. Rogan, however, is actually the focus of the entire series/social experiment, as the rest of the participants are all actors who are reacting to his actions when Rogan is placed in countless outlandish situations. The Joe Schmo Show premieres on Spike Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 10pm ET/PT. The cast took the stage at the 2013 Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena to explain.
Rogan is described by the network as a “true hero,” as he demonstrates a sense of integrity and humanity, even under the stresses of the most absurd situations and annoying personalities.
And similar to previous seasons (the series is returning after a 10-year hiatus), viewers will find themselves cheering for this average Joe Schmo hoping he won’t crumble under the pressures. There are plenty of pressures in this social experiment, too, most particularly the cast of complete misfits who he’s competing against.
The cast includes Allen The Buddy, played by Rob Belushi (The Defenders), who is the positive guy always good to have around. Then there’s Chico The Ex Con, played by Lombardo Boyar, who plays a former addict trying to start a new life through the power of religion; Chloe The Model (Chelsea Crisp), a twenty-something hottie looking to advance her career by appearing on the show; Karlee The Deaf Girl (starring Jo Newman from the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in New York and LA); Stan The Interpreter (played by Fred Cross from Second City Conservatory) who is Karlee’s interpreter and is apparently romantically involved with her; Skylar The Widow (played by Meghan Falcone, who plays Shari in Californication) who is looking for a new career since her husband died in a freak accident leaving her with an infant daughter to raise; Jake the legendary bounty hunter and tough guy (played by Ralph Garman, Ted) who claims he owns a bail bond and fugitive recovery service; Wanda the Ditzy Wife (Amanda Landry, Men at Work) who is good to look at but dumb as a rock; Allison the Overachiever (Nikki McKenzie, Greek) who excels at everything and would be a great doctor if her explosive anger issues didn’t prevent her from practicing; Lavernius The Black Guy (played by Segun Oduolowu, Weeds) who is loud and fierce and has a secret that will shake up the game; Randy the Asshole (played by Michael Weaver, Up All Night) who is rude and self-absorbed and is ready to lie, cheat or sleep his way to a win; and finally, there’s Lorenzo Lamas as Lorenzo Lamas (Falcon Crest), the Hollywood star looking to get a fresh chance for his career and who desperately needs the money.
Lamas said he had a couple of meetings with producers before agreeing to join the show. His biggest concern was how many times he had to don the blue Speedo his character was proposed to be wearing. Lamas said he asked them, “’Well, how many times do you want me to wear this blue Speedo?’ And without missing a beat, [executives] said, ‘As many times as you feel comfortable.’ And that kind of opened the whole, you know, adventure up to me. And from that moment on, I just embraced the idea, the concept. I’d never done any improv comedy, really, before this. So it was a real, you know, challenge for me.”
The 10-episode series, The Joe Schmo Show, premieres on Spike Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 10pm ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes.