Love and Television: The Reality Dating Show Lowdown



Dating shows, whether they’re based on roses, rings, or religion, have one thing in common: They all show that sometimes we need a little extra help when it comes to the love department.

Back in the day, there was The Dating Game and then Love Connection. The ’90s brought us Singled Out and Blind Date, the series that sent love seekers on a romantic rendezvous that put their compatibility immediately to the test. The new millennium dawned with a string of themed dating shows, including Parental Control, Room Raiders, and Date My Mom. The Bachelor and its spinoff, The Bachelorette, both sought (and still do) to pair the main contestant with one of his or her selected suitors to vie for the final prize—marriage. Millionaire Matchmaker has long-term commitment on the agenda too, playing intermediary for wealthy singles looking for love.

The latest TV dating display to watch, though, is doing things a little differently. This time, random strangers, professional matchmakers, well-meaning parents, and potential mates' bedrooms are being left out of the mix. The little extra help in WEtv’s Match Made in Heaven comes instead from the man upstairs—or at least someone with an extra-close connection. Pastor Ken Johnson debuts as the spiritual dating advisor to bachelor Shawn Bullard, an African-American real-estate magnate and former college athlete who's in search of his soul mate. With the help of Pastor Johnson and his outspoken mama, Maggie, Bullard will scrutinize the 24 ladies who are looking to make him their beau. Morality, good will, and respect all come into play as temptation faces contestants at every turn. Tune in February 4, 2015, at 8/7c for all the drama.