Great Moments in Reality Show Background Checks, Chapter XXVII: Somehow, in selecting contestants for ''Married by America,'' in which the home audience is to help single folks find a spouse, Fox neglected to discover that one of its five singles is already married. Denise L., a professional rodeo rider and supposedly unattached single, is actually separated but not yet divorced from her husband, her sister-in-law revealed on Tuesday, the day after the show debuted.
The sister-in-law broke the news in a phone call to a San Diego radio station, saying that, not only was Denise's single status unreal, but so were her breasts. Fox got wind of the story a day later when it aired on ''Entertainment Tonight.'' The network issued a statement, saying, ''We will not discuss the personal lives of show participants -- however, it is against the rules to have participated in the show if you are or have ever been married. It was not known to the producers that this participant was married, and the situation will be dealt with on Monday's episode.''
Denise apparently has no idea that she's about to be booted from the show. According to a list of rules obtained and posted by The Smoking Gun, the five contestants are being sequestered at a Los Angeles hotel, where they are denied access to phones, pagers, computers, and TV and can't go anywhere without being accompanied by an employee of the show.
The Denise L. revelations are the latest bit of bad news for ''Married by America.'' The show's debut on Monday finished third in its timeslot and drew only 8.6 million viewers, well behind the 20 million averaged by ''Joe Millionaire'' in the same spot.