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Joe Millionaire’s Steven McBee & Kurt Sowers Respond to Critics, Admit They Had ‘No Idea’ What the Original Show Was (Exclusive)

Meet Kurt Sowers and Steven McBee, the two leading men on Fox’s reboot of Joe Millionaire, this time titled: Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer. Kurt, 32, is a construction CEO from North Carolina while Steven, 27, is a farming CEO from Missouri.

Which one is the millionaire? That’s for them to know and the women to find out. In the new season, the ladies looking for love are told that one man is a millionaire while the other is not. The only problem? They don’t know who is rich and who is not until they make it to the end — and possibly fall in love.

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“We had no idea what the original show was. Whenever we got down there on set and they dropped the whole, ‘This is the reincarnation of Joe Millionaire.’ I was like, ‘Great, who’s Joe? What is Joe Millionaire?’ I had no idea,” Steven told Us Weekly exclusively.

Joe Millionaire's Steven McBee & Kurt Sowers Respond to Critics

Kurt, meanwhile, knew about the premise of the 2003 show, but he had no clue what it meant to take on the title.

“[Producers] come into the room and they were all excited, like, ‘Hey, you’re gonna be Joe Millionaire!’ I looked at the producers and I said, ‘Great! That’s great for you guys.’ And they’re like, ‘No, it’s good for you!’” he told Us. “It was funny!”

The original dating show aired for two seasons but faced a bit of backlash for lying to the women, who thought they were falling for a rich man only to find out in the end that he was not. If the winning woman chose to stay with the man, the duo could win a cash prize.

Joe Millionaire's Steven McBee Respond to Critics
Steven, Annie, Katy and Monica in the two-hour series premiere. Fox

“The original show definitely misled the women. It was more of a lie to these women. And in this remake, there’s no lie being told whatsoever,” Steven explained of the new season. “The women know exactly what’s going on. They know one of us is wealthier than the other, they just don’t know which is which — which, in the grand scheme of things, shouldn’t matter.”

Kurt noted that he’s prepared for those who bash the show but hopes they watch before judging, adding, “There’s always gonna be critics. I don’t know if I really even care to correct them in their criticism.”

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Overall, both men are searching for The One — something that isn’t easy on reality TV. Not only did they have to “weed out” who was only there for the fame — those focused solely on the money is also a concern with this show.

Joe Millionaire's Kurt Sowers Respond to Critics
Doris and Kurt in the two-hour series premiere. Fox

“Kurt and I had a really similar perspective in how we viewed the eliminations and who we thought was there for the right reasons and who wasn’t,” Steven told Us. “So, it made it a lot easier, having Kurt there to bounce those ideas and those thoughts off of and really come to an agreeable opinion.”

As for whether either bachelor found their special person, Kurt teased that “there’s definitely a lot of love on the show” — and a lot of emotions.

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“It was extremely difficult [and] actually way more taxing on both of us than I think either of us expected,” he noted.

Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer debuts on Fox Thursday, January 6, at 8 p.m. ET.

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