Fox's new reality engagement: ''Fat Obnoxious Fiance.'' Woman tries for cash prize by fooling her family into thinking she's marrying a lout, but the joke's on her

By Gary Susman
Updated December 29, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Last winter, Fox scored a reality smash by duping would-be brides in ”Joe Millionaire.” Next month, Fox will try a new spin on this increasingly common dating deception, called ”My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé.” (Nia Vardalos, call your lawyer.) This show, which will premiere Jan. 19 (after ”American Idol”) and air in the Monday slot that belonged to ”Joe Millionaire,” ”Married by America,” and ”Mr. Personality,” has not one tricky twist, but two.

The show centers on Randi, a 23-year-old teacher from Scottsdale, Ariz., who is told that she’ll win $1 million if she passes off the loutish ”Steve” as her fiancé and keeps the charade in front of her family all the way through her wedding. (Didn’t we see this premise in a Pauly Shore movie once?) Randi thinks Steve is a fellow reality contestant who’s also trying to fool his family for a jackpot, but actually, in a ”Joe Schmo”-like twist, he and his family are all actors hired by the producers. His real mission: to turn the wedding into an obnoxious farce. Finally, he’ll pull off his mask and reveal that he’s really Evan Marriott. OK, we made that last bit up, but maybe we shouldn’t give Fox reality guru Mike Darnell any ideas.