NEW YORK – It's been the big question ever since the conclusion of the first "Joe Millionaire (search)": Where on Earth are you going to find women for "Joe II" who didn't already know the secret of "Joe I"?
The answer: Europe.
The original "Joe" was such a huge phenomenon in the U.S. - with more than 40 million viewers tuning in for the series finale last Feb. 17 - that finding 14 new female contestants in America who were unaware that the show's Prince Charming was just an average "Joe" and not a millionaire would have been virtually impossible.
As a result, the show's producers expanded their search to countries where the first "Joe" did not air - which was just about everywhere except Great Britain and Australia. In addition, the producers skipped France since that was where "Joe I" was filmed and French TV aired its own version of the show, a Fox spokesman said.
"For the most part, the show was purposely held back from being sold to the international market," he said - which opened up the possibility that women abroad would not be familiar with it.
In a nutshell, that was the strategy used to choose 14 new female contestants for the second edition of "Joe Millionaire," subtitled "An International Affair" and scheduled to premiere Monday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. on Fox.
A week later, starting on Monday, Oct. 27, two episodes of "Joe II" will be shown each week - Monday and Tuesday evenings at 8 - for four weeks. A two-hour finale is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 24, the final Monday night of the November ratings sweeps.
"They did take several precautions during the interview process to make sure that these women were not overly familiar with American television," the spokesman explained.
Among other things, the show was not referred to as "Joe Millionaire" during the interviews with prospective contestants since the women could then have researched the show on-line.
Instead, the producers called it "Dream Date" and implied that it was a new show.
The followup to the original "Joe Millionaire" will feature 14 European beauties with names such as Petra, Giada, Jerusha, Olinda and Alessia from countries such as the Czech Republic (search), Sweden (search), Norway, Germany and others.
They'll be vying for the affection of Texas cowboy David Smith, 24, a rodeo horseman who earns $11,000 a year, but who will be masquerading as a Western jet-setter with a personal fortune worth $80 million ($30 million more than the fortune original "Joe" Marriott pretended to have) and a villa outside the Italian city of Pisa (search).