Even on the Homefront, Kelley Battles Reality TV

July 18, 2003

By Rick Porter

LOS ANGELES - To the chagrin of TV critics, FOX executives are saying next to nothing about the second "Joe Millionaire."

Butler Paul Hogan -- who greeted critics Thursday (July 17) at a network- sponsored lunch -- will be part of the show, which will launch in late October or early November, after the World Series ends. That's about it in terms of bean-spilling from FOX.

When the show does return, however, it's possible that at least one A-list movie star will try to watch. And the identity of that person can be revealed: Michelle Pfeiffer, the wife of prolific TV writer-producer and noted anti- reality TV crusader David E. Kelley.

We say "try to watch" because Kelley is among the more outspoken critics of unscripted shows that have crowded the TV schedule in recent seasons. He told reporters this week that he decided to check out "Joe Millionaire" last winter when it was regularly creaming one of his shows, "The Practice," in the ratings after ABC moved the legal drama from Sunday to Monday nights.

"I put on 'Joe Millionaire' because I wanted to see what it was," he says. "I was sitting at home, and my wife was reading a book next to me and I put it on. She looked up about 10 minutes into it and said, 'What are you watching?' I said, 'You know, it's the competition against "The Practice." I would at least like to know what it is.'

"About 10 minutes after that, I picked up the remote to change the channel and she said 'Wait, wait. ... I want to see if that bitch comes back.' "

At this point, Kelley could only shake his head. "I knew," he says. "Twenty- five minutes into it, I said 'This show is a monster hit,' and it was."

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