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Thinking back to that strange dichotomy of stringing Andrich and her competitors along for the cameras before making clandestine, moonlit calls, Marriott can only figure, “I should have won an Emmy for that dance and kiss with Zora at the end of that show, because all I wanted to do was get back to Amy.” Viewers — encouraged by tabloid media — made Marriott the fall guy for what was a salacious but unsavory experiment.

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“It was basically a watercooler thing, so you didn’t know what you were getting into.” That went for both Marriott and an audience who’d never previously been voyeur to what’s now a customary reality con used on shows like Joe Schmo and I Wanna Marry Harry.

It applied twofold for Andrich, who absorbed the truth of her beau’s humble backstory for the cameras in real time, and in doing so, earned a $1 million bounty (which she and Marriott split before going their separate ways).

“When I signed on to do the show for Fox, reality was very embryonic,” reminds Marriott.

The show’s runaway success was held up as a paragon for the burgeoning genre; the media said it marked the “triumph” of reality television as a ratings bonanza for networks.

“The goal is to see reality shows affect the entire schedule,” then–Fox entertainment president Gail Berman said after the finale aired.

“MTV knew they had something with The Real World, and [there was] Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, and a couple seasons of The Bachelor, but the social media wasn’t there, and you didn’t have podcasts,” Marriott adds.

A., slept on couches, did whatever they could to get agents, and it’s all because they thought, And they were dirt-poor and miserable because of it, and nothing ever came of it because nobody cares about reality personalities. It’s sad to think about, but do I really feel that bad for them?

No.” Marriott’s mostly held fast to that conviction over the past decade, even as nostalgia for his generation of reality “pioneers” — e.g., first-ever Bachelorette­­ turned lifestyle maven Trista Sutter — has generated curiosity about their whereabouts.

It was that quick.” Twelve years ago, there was no established exit strategy for someone jettisoned back into public life by the reality merry-go-round.

No agents, no sense of how life-altering the aftermath would be. “I wasn’t Evan Marriott, the guy that could go have a casual beer with friends. Even though people could have cared less if I got a hamburger or a haircut, I kept thinking, years after the show, At his lowest emotional point, Marriott compounded that anxiety with a healthy dose of self-loathing and, he admits, “a lot of Scotch.” He resented Hollywood for seducing him, which was complicated by how perversely insulated he felt within its city limits. A., if you’re a B- or D-list celebrity, you’re just the next asshole walking through the restaurant.” He found himself desperately thinking, “; appearing at everything from furniture stores to professional conventions to take photos and sign autographs (now a lucrative cottage industry for reality vets); and, in what would be his final flirtation with being an onscreen personality, a fleeting gig hosting Game Show Network’s which Marriott now characterizes as the “worst show ever in the history of television.” One afternoon, after introducing himself to an incoming GSN exec as “Evan Marriott, host of Fake-a-Date,” Marriott claims his new boss replied, “‘Well, about that,’ and he literally fired me as he was unpacking his office.” That dismissal and his ensuing unemployment constituted, pardon the pun, Marriott’s essential reality check.

Marriott was arguably unscripted prime-time TV’s most recognizable (and polarizing) face to date, and moreover, people couldn’t seem to differentiate him from the Joe Millionaire persona. It’s dissipated, but the first three years, everywhere I’d go [in L. “I realized, ‘I’m not doing anything in my life, and what the fuck do I do with it? “My account is getting low, and I can’t keep drinking every night, drinking every day, spending money [with] nothing coming in.” By 2005, on the advice of a friend, he invested his Millionaire earnings and tangential revenue into his own blue-collar business, finally escaped L.

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