For 3rd time, a Pittsburgher's a 'Schmo'
By March, the world will know if the greatest guy on the planet lives in Lawrenceville.
Or at least the most patient.
Spike TV's “The Joe Schmo Show” has once again turned to the Steel City in its humorous search for the next unsuspecting reality television star.
This installment of the popular show features Chase Rogan, 28, who believes he is a contestant on “The Full Bounty,” a new, over-the-top reality show looking for America's next bounty hunter.
At first, he's exposed to the typical tough-guy how-to handbook — he's taught take-down techniques, how to defuse a bomb and tricks for interrogating a hostile witness.
After that, it gets downright weird.
Rogan, an agronomist from Lawrenceville, has to deal with characters such as a ditzy model, an ex-con who's found God and Lorenzo Lamas, pelvic-thrusting in sky-blue bikini shorts.
Turns out, they're all improv actors who guide Rogan through a series of zany and set-up situations, while keeping him in the dark about the true nature of the show.
“We weren't looking for someone who's going to be fake or would perform for the camera,” says J. Holland Moore, an executive producer for the show. “Chase was exactly the kind of guy we wanted — a good guy with a strong sense of right and wrong. Someone you want to pull for.”
So, just how far can TV producers push “reality?” Will Rogan eventually figure out that he's being set up?
You'll have to tune in each Tuesday until March 5 to find out.
A native of Saegertown, near Meadville, Rogan, a Penn State grad, runs his own local turf business, PureTurf Consulting, and is married to Taylor Baker, an Erie native and former Miss Pennsylvania Teen.
When reached at his office, Rogan deferred comment to Spike TV, which did not make him available for an interview.
The Spike series debuted 10 years ago and starred Mt. Lebanon native Matt Kennedy Gould. In that series, Gould was led to believe he was a contestant on a reality show called “Lap of Luxury.”
Upper St. Clair native Amanda Naughton had the title role in “Joe Schmo 2” in 2004. That season, the series took aim at reality dating shows.
Filming for Rogan's “Schmo” misadventures was shot over two weeks in Los Angeles last July. Footage was culled into 10 one-hour episodes.
Unlike most reality shows, schmos are recruited by casting folks in different cities. They're found in gyms, local hangouts, even parks. Eventually they're screened, a process that involves filling out a 25-page questionnaire about their personality and TV-watching habits.
Moore maintains that Pittsburgh isn't necessarily fertile ground for schmos, but says its residents have deep local pride, which is a characteristic of good candidates.
“People who come from there ... are all genuine, all hard workers, and they tell you exactly what they think,” Moore says. “That's the kind of honesty we want for this show.”
Chris Ramirez is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5682.