From Chaperones to Proposals: The Evolution of TV Dating

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The Bachelor
and The Bachelorette may fill our dating show quota these days, but there's a long history of TV shows about the crazy world of dating. Whether you loved watching reruns of the Love Connection or you still wish Jenny McCarthy was hosting Singled Out, click through to check out how the wonderful world of TV dating shows has evolved from game shows to reality TV over the last 40-plus years!

  • The Dating Game (1965-1973): The first TV show of its kind, The Dating Game brought a whole new inventive strategy to the tube. One lucky single girl would be given a choice of three bachelors who she could not see but would talk with. After asking them a series of questions, she'd pick the guy she'd like to go out on a date with. Some famous celebs like Michael Jackson and Arnold Schwarzenegger even made appearances on the show! But have no fear, all of the dates were chaperoned so there was no funny business.
  • Love Connection (1983-1994): A modernized version of the Dating Game, Love Connection let go of the chaperones and took a different approach to the taping. By the time the couple appeared on the show, they had already met and gone on their date! The bachelor or bachelorette checked out three candidates' videotaped profiles and made their decision after viewing. The couple then went on a date and discussed all the nitty-gritty details on the TV show with host Chuck Woolery.
  • Singled Out (1995-1998): MTV's Singled Out took a very different approach to the dating show format. Each episode featured a group of 50 men and a group of 50 women competing for a date with one main contestant of the opposite sex. Most of the time it looked like the guys were more interested in winning the heart of the female host Jenny McCarthy, and later, Carmen Electra, then they were in the female contestant.
  • Blind Date (1999-2006): On the long-running show Blind Date, a couple was sent off on a blind date, with their every move followed by a camera team. The best part of Blind Date was all the cheeky commentary that showed up onscreen in the form of subtitles, thought bubbles, and as you can see, advice from Dr. Date. Blind Date was essentially the earliest version of a reality TV dating show.


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  • elimiDATE (2001-2006): The show elimiDATE normally had a male contestant who would meet his four dates one by one before going out on a series of big group dates. With each stop, he'd cut one of the candidates, and as the group was narrowed down, the locations got more and more intimate until he was left with one lucky lady.
  • Temptation Island (2001-2003): The reality show Temptation Island took several couples who were interested in testing the strength of their relationships and plopped them down in paradise to live separately by sex with a group of singles. 30 Rock hilariously spoofed the show with "MILF Island," a reality show that promised: "25 super-hot moms, 50 eighth grade boys, no rules."
  • The Bachelor (2002-Present): Ever since the show's conception in 2002, The Bachelor has been one of our favorite reality shows to tune in to every week. One man gets his pick of lovely ladies for an entire season until he gets down on one knee to make the ultimate grand gesture and propose. And, of course, we can't leave out The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad, the spin-offs that have proved to be just as popular! Sadly, the show's track record isn't great. After 16 seasons, only one bachelor is still with the woman he picked on his season's finale episode - it's everyone's favorite couple: Ben and Courtney.
  • Joe Millionaire (2003): Joe Millionaire only lasted one season, but it made quite the impression on the world. Bachelor Evan Marriott was presented as a millionaire who was searching for a potential bride. He took a group of hopeful women to exotic locations, eliminating women at the end of each episode, until only one lady remained. Only at the end of the series did Evan reveal to the girl of his dreams that he was a working class construction worker. Evan's pick Zora was OK with the secret, but the two broke up soon after.


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  • Date My Mom (2004-2006): Date My Mom took dating to a whole new level of weird. Instead of meeting the girl or guy the contestant would be looking to date, he or she would go out with the mother of all the candidates. Only after meeting all of the moms would a decision be made, making for some seriously awkward moments.
  • Flavor of Love (2006-2008): You know what time it is! On Flavor of Love, hype man Flavor Flav was looking for love, and what better way to find the lady of his dreams than to jump on the reality show train? On each of the three seasons, 20 women lived together in a mansion to compete for his heart. Unfortunately, after three seasons none of the relationships stuck for Flav.
  • Rock of Love (2007-2009): After the success of Flavor Flav's show, Bret Michaels decided to try his hand on the dating show circuit. After three seasons of Rock of Love, Bret Michaels had enough of crazy rock-obsessed women to last a lifetime, and ended up getting back together with the mother of his little girls. Even though he's settled down, Bret couldn't stay far away from the reality TV dating game, he made an appearance on Bachelor Pad to sing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."



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