Nearly 20 years later, “Joe Millionaire” returns this January with a revised format that puts a twist on the original ratings smash. But at least one thing remains the same in “Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer” — and that’s the presence of a butler, assisting the Joes and driving the action. Variety can now reveal who the show’s new butler is: Actor, musician, author and celebrity impersonator Martin Andrew.
As butler, Andrew will also serve as host of “Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer” and act as a guide for the contestants. The original 2003 “Joe Millionaire” featured both a butler (Australian Paul Hogan, but not the “Crocodile Dundee” actor) and a host (Alex McLeod); in this new version, Andrew takes on both roles.
“I honestly fell in love with this guy,” said executive producer SallyAnn Salsano. “It was the right fit. This guy was great. I felt like it’s definitely more integrated [than the 2003 version]. I feel like this gentleman is way more a part of the show.”
The original “Joe Millionaire” ended its run with a finale that attracted nearly 40 million viewers, the highest-rated and most-watched unscripted entertainment series telecast of the past two decades (excluding post-NFL). A second installment fizzled later that year, and then the franchise was shelved. But in this new version, 20 women will date two single men, and one of whom is rich and one isn’t — but the women have no idea who’s the real “Joe Millionaire” and who’s just the average Joe.
Fox Alternative Entertainment and 495 Productions’ SallyAnn Salsano (“Jersey Shore”) are behind this new iteration, which premieres in January.
Salsano said she was excited to see Andrew play up the outlandish elements of the show: “It’s 2021. You’re coming on a reality dating show. You know stuff’s going to be a little weird. And he owns it.”
And she noted that Andrew conveyed a sense of protectiveness for the show’s two Joes and its female contestants. “He has daughters the age of the women on the show, and I have to tell you, one night I sat in the control room crying as he was saying something like, ‘I’d be proud for my daughter to be with either one of you gentlemen.’ He got so invested, I think in a way that it didn’t happen in the original.”
Andrew has performed as a Rod Stewart tribute artist since 2004, starting with an offer to perform as the singer in Las Vegas, and soon traveling his act to venues and casinos throughout the U.S. and around the world. From 2016 to 2020, he toured the U.S., Mexico and the Dominican Republic with tribute artist Samira to perform the show “Reunited,” featuring the music of Rod Stewart and Tina Turner.
Beyond that, Andrew appeared in the Canadian series “Blackstone” and the 2013 psychological thriller “Forbidden Playground.” He has also appeared in the films “Ocean’s 13,” “Domino,” “White Coats” and “Middle Men.” He was trained at the West Suffolk Music and Drama Center. In 2008, he published the autobiography “Nobody Said It Was Easy,” chronicling his life, struggles and successes as a touring musician.
Here’s a look at Andrew performing as Rod Stewart: