Dating Shows to watch this summer: Coupled, Match Made in Heaven, and more
Romance is blossoming on TV as summer approaches, and we’re not just talking about The Bachelorette. Sure, JoJo Fletcher has her hands full in a mansion brimming with equally handsome and wild fellas who make Ben Higgins look like old news — say hello to quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ little brother, Jordan! — but we’d be remiss if we failed to shine light on the show’s edgy brother from another mother, Coupled, or the familiar names coping with their failed relationships on Famously Single. (Prepare yourself for a Jersey Shore-Danity Kane hookup.) Some of these gems are already airing, while others are coming soon. Keep reading for what you need to know.
When to watch: Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox
Premise: Escape to the blue skies and turquoise seas of Anguilla in Coupled, Fox and power producer Mark Burnett’s (Survivor, The Voice, The Apprentice) amusing attempt at stealing ABC’s Bachelorette thunder. Every week, two gorgeous and charismatic men make grand entrances — helicopters, luxury boats, you name it — and immediately have one-on-one chats with the show’s 12 women. If the lady feels a connection after their first meet, she takes a right, heading straight to the tiki bar. If she’s just not that interested, she takes a left, opting for the bungalow. (Yes, it’s basically the Tinder of reality shows.) After considering his options at the bar, the man picks two women to join him for a stay at a romantic beachfront villa — at the same time. But before they get the chance to settle in, he picks just one of them. Whether they’re “coupled” for the remainder of the season or get the chance to trade partners remains to be seen. (We’re hoping for the latter — an obvious way for producers to amp up the drama.)
Main difference from The Bachelorette: So long, rose ceremonies! When Mr. Perfect overlooks one beauty, she gets to party at the bungalow with the other women, knowing that yet another suitor will soon be en route. With the mix of both sexes, this is a show everyone can get behind. As for who takes on Chris Harrison’s host role, look no further than former E! News anchor Terrence Jenkins.
— Nick Maslow
Are You the One?
When to watch: Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on MTV, starting June 13
Premise: The general concept of this reality series reaching its fourth season raises the question (repeatedly), “If your perfect match was standing right in front of you, would you even know it?” and sees 10 men and 10 woman trying to find their “perfect match” amongst each other. Before arriving in Hawaii for the show, the 20 contestants were put through a matchmaking process of interviews and compatibility testing with professional matchmakers, psychologists, family, friends, and exes. If they are successful in finding all 10 perfect matches within 10 tries, they’ll all get to share $1 million. Plus, you know, they’ll have found their perfect match. Supposedly.
Main difference from The Bachelorette: Believe it or not, AYTO involves way more alcohol. And yelling. And throwing things. Further, every night is an “overnight date,” and the house where all 20 contestants reside has a designated boom-boom room that gets frequent use.
— Breanne L. Heldman
When to watch: Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on E!, starting June 14
Premise: This is the show where Jersey Shore‘s Pauly D and Danity Kane’s Aubrey O’Day hook up! What more could you possibly need to know? OK, fine. The new series sees eight celebrities — O’Day, Pauly D, previous Bachelorette castoff Josh Murray, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills‘ Brandi Glanville, Love & Hip Hop Hollywood‘s Somaya Reece, former NFL’er Willis McGahee, and models Jessica White and Calum Best — living under the same roof as they go through a romantic rehab of sorts under the watchful eye of relationship expert Dr. Darcy Sterling.
Main difference from The Bachelorette: This is like The Surreal Life with a romantic twist. Plus, Glanville admits right out the gate that she brought her “vibrators and lingerie” — can JoJo say that?
— Breanne L. Heldman
Match Made in Heaven
When to Watch: Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on WE tv, currently airing
Premise: Having just begun its second season, Match made in Heaven brings 18 women to live under one roof in a competition for the heart of successful businessman and former NFL linebacker Stevie Baggs. But the women not only have to impress Baggs: the house is overseen by Pastor Ken Johnson, who judges the godliness of the contestants, as well as Stevie’s opinionated mother and host Sherri Shepherd (referred to as the Sherri Godmother). Now that’s a lot of pressure!
Main difference from The Bachelorette: Although it’s basically the same concept as The Bachelor, the show does notably feature only black bachelors (something the long-running ABC series has never done), and it includes an element of spirituality with the addition of Pastor Ken.
— Dylan Kickham
When to Watch: Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on VH1, starting June 29
Premise: On each episode of this dating game show, two contestants bare it all to one another to see if there’s a spark between them. Men and women go on a series of dates completely in the buff, and at the end of the episode must decide if they want to continue seeing one another. The upcoming third season will feature two main daters, one man and one woman, who will be introduced to four new potential matches each week.
Main difference from The Bachelorette: There are two main daters looking for love instead of one, and the pool of suitors changes each week. Oh right, and everyone’s naked — but is that really that big of a difference from The Bachelor?
When to Watch: Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime, starting June 6
Main difference from The Bachelorette: Well, for starters, the bachelor — called suitor here — is black. And then, of course, there’s the fact that Everlasting is pure fiction: It’s the reality dating show-within-a-show on Lifetime’s hit drama series UnREAL.
— Breanne L. Heldman
Are You the One?