Q&A: How a Reality TV Show Pranked America With Fake Celebrity Divorce Ads

We've been had. It turns out that one man's heroic billboard crusade to prevent celebrity divorce was actually a hoax by WEtv to advertise its new show Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars. We caught up with WEtv President Marc Juris (pictured below) to find out how he hit the zeitgeist and tricked media outlets across the nation: AdFreak: Is there a real J. Robert Butler? Mark Juris: You're speaking to him. No, he's a fictional character we invented, played by a real actor. Whom you made up a whole backstory for about his daughter's divorce … Because the most important thing you have to remember is that the audience is incredibly smart. We created a whole character, a persona and a motivation. Thought about why he would do this, what he expected would be the response. I think the inclination is to have him say some outrageous stuff, and we pulled all that back and had him be more realistic. How did you hatch the hoax? We went through a couple of ideas. We thought, "Could we make these billboards poking fun at celebrity couples who had divorced?" But it just felt too much like an overt ad campaign. And that’s the problem with overt campaigns; people just drive by them and just keep going. So we thought, "How can we really do this?" What if we made an organization that seemed ridiculous but could be real and serious?

Former TruTV Exec Marc Juris Joins WEtv

Marc Juris unceremoniously left TruTV after nearly ten years back in May, but he's been swift to rebound: the exec is back at his old stomping grounds over at AMC Networks, this time as the head of WEtv.

AMC Wants You to Know It Doesn’t Like Dish Network

The staring contest between AMC Networks (which owns AMC, IFC, WeTV and Sundance) and AT&T ended on Sunday afternoon with a brief announcement from AMC that it had reached a long-term carriage agreement with the MSO, ensuring that its channels would be distributed across the AT&T's U-Verse service.

Joan Rivers Can Talk

Joan Rivers is a reality star now. The unscripted WEtv series featuring her and her daughter, Melissa, enters its second season this week, and Rivers has been tirelessly making the rounds to promote the show—and in classic Rivers fashion, talk about anything else that might be of interest.