Love it or hate it, you can’t say that Love Is Blind is one of the most popular reality shows on TV today; and really, what’s not to like?
Love is blind is a unique dating reality show where men and women can date each other without seeing each other, hence the name of the show. This concept drew praise (and some hate), but its road to popularity was paved by the following 10 series that did their best to bring out the best (and worst) in love.
Blind Date (1999-2006)
If you grew up in the late 90s to early 2000s, this was a staple of TV viewing in the middle of the night.
blind date had a simple premise: pair up men and women who didn’t know each other and set them up on blind dates to see how the chemistry between the two was. At the end of each episode, there would be a segment called “Checking In”, which checked the two to see how the date had gone. It was guilty pleasure reality TV, and we loved it.
Change of Heart (1998-2003)
This romantic game show had all the ingredients in place to be an iconic series, and iconic it was.
The premise of change of heart was quite dangerous, as it sent a member of an unmarried couple on a date with a new partner to test their devotion to their boyfriend/girlfriend. The results were often shocking, and for five years Change of Heart was one of the most entertaining dating games on the television landscape.
Flavor of Love (2006-2008)
Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav just wanted to find love. Luckily for him, he was looking in the 2000s, a time when all producers were trying to find a topic to shoot a reality TV show around.
Thus, we had flavor of lovea twisted version The single person which found 20 women living in a mansion in Los Angeles to try and compete to win the heart of Flavor Flav. Weird? Yeah, but Flavor of Love was such a beautiful, messy reality show that you couldn’t turn away from.
This series was the sneaky version of MTV blind datewhich seemed tame compared to Following.
Following (purposely spelled with the capital “X”) found a contestant being set up on five blind dates, who waited in an RV for his name to be called. If he didn’t like the date they were on then, they would tell them “Next” and the next contestant would show up to try to win them over. Following was the pinnacle of millennial dating reality TV programming, messy and entertaining, how much we loved it.
Wife swap (2012-2015)
Exchange of women was not a “dating reality show” in the traditional sense. It was more of a social experiment to see how a family would react if another mother showed up for a week.
That was the premise of Wife Swap, which followed families who “swapped wives” for a week, with cameras rolling showing how that family would deal with another woman’s habits and culture. Often hilarious, Wife Swap was a guilty pleasure show that should have been on the air longer than it was.
Love Island (2019-)
Starting off as a British reality TV show, the island of love got a US import in 2019 thanks to CBS, and the results have been great for the network.
The reality show follows a group of contestants living on an island in Hawaii to see if anything “spicy” can erupt between the forced couples (oh, that didn’t sound right), and the “couple” remaining on the scene. island would receive a grand prize of $100,000. While not as outrageous as its UK counterpart, the US version still has enough sizzle to keep us entertained.
For Love or Money (2003-2004)
It’s an age-old question that’s been flattered for years. If you were offered a choice between choosing to be with someone or taking a cash prize, which would you choose?
For love or money attempted to force contestants to respond, as the single person had to choose between being with someone they had just met or winning the cash prize without having any contact with that person again. It was pretense for The Bachelor, except with the added twist of having to tear up a fat check if you choose to like.
Catfish (2012- )
In the confusing world of online dating, it can be easy to fall for someone who looks good in photos, but looks different once you see them in person.
One show that tried to expose these frauds was MTV’s Catfish, based on a movie of the same name about a film crew that exposes “catfish” personalities, and tries to get romantic justice for that person. There have been some criticisms about this show, but one thing is for sure: it’s really nice to see the catfishers getting their just deserts.
Are you the chosen one? (2014- )
With the fall of The real world and The challenge getting a bit stale, MTV had to make a reality show to keep people hooked (since they don’t play music videos anymore).
Walk in Are you the chosen one?, which was created in 2014 and presents candidates who leave on dates already chosen by their competitors. Think about are you the chosen one as a hybrid of The real world, rules of the roadand The challenge put together, with the unpredictable spice of blind dating mixed in. What you come out with is a spicy, messy affair that’s too good to shy away from.
The Bachelor / The Bachelor (2002-)
It’s safe to say that The single person and the bachelorette are the king and queen of romantic reality TV.
By the time this long-running franchise debuted on ABC, dating shows were seen more as game shows. The single person (and the bachelorette a year later), changed that narrative; and while it still technically operates as a kind of game show, this franchise has created its own space by revolutionizing not just romantic reality TV, but the way people view reality TV as a whole. Example : Love is blind would not exist without The single person and the bachelorette.
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