Cat Deeley

Fox has nabbed NBC’s spinning chairs!

After The Voice swiped some of American Idol‘s ratings thunder this season, Fox is now returning the favor, launching a new show called … The Choice.

In an announcement that seems like a brilliant April Fools’ Joke (but, we’re assured, is not), Fox’s new summer series will feature — like The Voice — contestants in blind auditions for a quartet of celebrity judges who are seated in spinning chairs. The big difference: Instead of a music competition, this is a dating show.

So, yes, famous faces will audition their potential love interests, making a contestant’s hidden physical appearance potentially quite relevant to the celebrity in the power seat.

Fox is not ready to announce the participating celebrities, but we can reveal the show’s host will be Cat Deeley, pulling double duty while hosting So You Think You Can Dance this summer.

The Choice is from longtime Fox alternative series president Mike Darnell and producers A. Smith & Co, who presumably didn’t get this idea while watching Survivor.

“I think there’s a big hole in the dating show world,” says Darnell, who is also launching the UK dating show import Take Me Out this summer. “There hasn’t been a new hit since The Bachelor, and there hasn’t been an in-studio one that’s worked since The Dating Game 30 years ago. I was thinking about how to do a blind-date show without using a wall or blindfolds, and the spinning chairs seemed like a great way to do it.”

Of course, The Choice has more in common with The Voice than just chairs — like that title, for instance? “The Choice seems like an obvious title because you have to make a choice,” Darnell says, then playfully adds: “I’m just now realizing it rhymes!”

Fox plans to air six one-hour episodes this summer, debuting the show on Thursday, June 7 at 9 p.m. Five of the episodes will have male celebrities with female contestants; one will have female celebrities and male contestants. All the singles will be physically attractive (I know, you expected Fox to stock the pond with some wicked surprises, right?).

In the first round, celebrities will listen to “sexy singles” describe themselves. If the celebrity bachelor likes what he hears, instead of a big red button the star will pull his “love handle,” spinning his chair around to bring him face-to-face with his potential mate. If more than one celebrity pulls their handle, they battle for her affection until the contestant decides who they prefer to date. Once each bachelor has his three prospective dates, the teams enter the “Speed Choice” round, where each woman has seconds to convince the man to select her for the final round. Then Deeley will pose a challenge question to the final two contestants. The winners get to go on one date with their celebrity.

“Many people say its what’s inside that counts,” Darnell says, “now we’ll see.”

Here’s a teaser for the show that just debuted during American Idol:

The Choice (TV)
  • TV Show