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Geek Alert

Despite a disclaimer, doof-fest Average Joe is on the up-and-up.

NBC'S anti-''Bachelorette'' reality show, ''Average Joe,'' ended with disclaimers that some participants were paid and some had ''consulted with producers regarding their choices.'' Even more suspiciously, a Web search discovered lovable nerd Dennis Luciani's an actor! Could everything about this love-handle pageant be as artificial as tiny bachelor Marc's comb-over?

NBC maintains nothing is rotten in the state of Dorkville: The unusual disclaimers simply refer to wincing woo-ee Melana Scantlin's reimbursement for some living expenses, and ''frank discussions'' she had with producers, who did not try to sway her.

As for Luciani, the community-theater mainstay lives an average-joe reality as an accountant. He maintains that he and the other guys weren't paid, and that what you see is the real, teetotaling, fun-loving him. ''I always bring fun stuff,'' says Luciani, 36. ''If not Hula Hoops, then a game of Twister. It's in my nature to be the life of the party.'' Not even Brando could fake such geekery.

Originally posted Nov 14, 2003 Published in issue #737 Nov 14, 2003 Order article reprints

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