Lawrenceville's Chase Rogan wins $100,000 as the star of Spike TV's "The Joe Schmo Show."
By Maria Sciullo Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Chase Rogan has become fairly well known in Canada. Who knew?
Apparently, our neighbors to the north like TV stories about nice guys, which means viewers of Spike TV's "The Joe Schmo Show" probably loved Tuesday's finale.
Mr. Rogan, who lives in Lawrenceville and owns his own turf consulting business, was the big winner of the cable network's fake reality show, "The Full Bounty."
Everyone involved in "Joe Schmo" was in on the deceit, and the other "contestants" were actors, including bounty hunter/host Jake Montrose, played by Ralph Garman.
More than a year of planning went into the elaborate ruse, which hinged upon Mr. Rogan not questioning the ridiculous goings-on that played out over 10 episodes. When it came time for the big reveal, he said, a multitude of emotions came bubbling up, and he could not help crying.
"It might sound like a cliche, but it really was an emotional roller coaster," he said. "I didn't get to text or talk to my wife the whole time, and she really is my emotional confidant."
The show's producers had that covered, flying Taylor Rogan out to California for the finale last July. They even had her made up to take the place of "Lady Justice," a model painted gold who stood over the "Hunted to Hunter" eviction ceremonies.
That almost proved to be a mistake.
"I recognized earlier that it was a different Lady Justice ... because I'd seen the same Lady Justice up there for nine previous ceremonies," said Mr. Rogan.
"Some of the producers said later that when I got on the platform, they saw me looking at her and they thought, 'Oh no ...' "
After he had learned the whole "Full Bounty" show was fake and that he was going to get a check for $100,000 regardless, he could forgive the deceits. And now that the show has run its course, there's no reason for him to make up excuses when the couple goes house hunting.
"I really enjoyed watching it in the time it was on and hearing everyone's positive reactions. But it's certainly a relief being able to talk about the full disclosure of the experience."
How did he feel to learn he was the only one not in on the joke? In this case, it depended on the form of enlightenment. One of the fake contestants admitted she was an actor, which led to the rest admitting the same by raising their hands.
"Once all the hands started going up, one by one, it hit me that I was the only REAL one there. But I felt it was really a blessing, and Ralph revealed it in such a kind way."