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  June 25, 2004
Average Hunk's Post-TV Life
by Daniel R. Coleridge with Craig Tomashoff

Fans of NBC's first installment of Average Joe knew Jason Peoples as the handsome, occasionally employed student who lived with his parents and still managed to win Melana Scantlin's heart. "I'm disappointed it didn't work out," he says. "At the same time, it's cool we met the way we did. I wanted more. I think we both did."

Peoples is currently dating a woman he had met before going on Average Joe. Was that an obstacle for him and Scantlin? "My girlfriend now wasn't in the picture," he insists. "We started dating after I did the show."

No doubt his main squeeze disapproved of those make-out scenes. "She watched the show, and I gave her a heads up before each one," he recalls. "She had a tough time with the last episode. Melana and I looked so happily in love, and she had to turn it off. She was great through the whole thing, but I'm sure it was a little tough."

It's safe to say fame hasn't gone to his head. "I'm still bartending and waiting tables," Peoples says, adding that fans "remember me as The Struggling Student Who Lives with His Parents. Or sometimes they think I was on The Bachelorette. I have to say no."

What, no man-crazy female fans are chasing this cutie? "My life is pretty much the same. The only thing that's changed is you lose your anonymity," Peoples says. "I have no crazy stalkers, but I heard about a few people who tried to find out where I lived. But everybody's been pretty nice."

Well, except for those Average Joe fans who rooted for underdog Adam Mesh over the pretty boy. "She picked me," he shrugs. "Some people had a bad impression of me from the show. I read stuff on message boards — so negative. My feelings got involved."

On the bright side, Peoples and Scantlin did make a guest appearance as themselves on Days of Our Lives. He also recently landed himself a Crest White Strips commercial. Oh, and for the record, he lives in Costa Mesa, Calif., with a couple of roommates (who are not his parents). "I'm pretty happy," he says. "I had no offers for steady work after the show, but I still have some things that I want to do. I'll take acting classes, maybe do some commercials and try some auditions for fun."

To find out what more reality stars — like Survivor's Rupert, The Swan winner and Trista and Ryan — are doing, pick up the current issue of TV Guide magazine.

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