While The Bachelor and its accompanying contractually obligated spinoffs sit atop reality television’s throne, other weird reality TV dating series have attempted to show people the way to on-camera love. Sadly, many of these shows have been forgotten by the viewing public. Maybe they were prematurely canceled, or perhaps they were on before your time. However you missed them the first time around, it's worth giving another look to these dating TV shows you forgot about.
Lots of forgotten reality dating shows have wild premises. How would you like to date a houseful of suitors in eerie metal masks? How about wooing an imposter posing as a royal prince? And if you're tired of the dating game, why not have your mom go on dates for you? These shows are crazier than The Bachelor - and some would say they're all the better for that.
These forgotten reality shows are like the girls at the cocktail party, sitting by the pool, waiting for their one-on-one conversations. It's time to give them another look. Who knows? You might even fall in love with one of these weird little dating shows.
MTV's Room Raiders ran from 2003 til 2006. In each episode, three men or women have their rooms inspected by their potential love interest. This room inspector doesn’t meet any of the contestants; all they have to go on for a love connection is the contents and state of their bedrooms. The room inhabitants sit in a van nearby, watching this detective judge the contents of their living space.
Actors: Tim-Ryan O'Kane, Tom Oberdick, Jesse Wolter
You’re on a date. It’s not going well. This person’s a dud, but the night is still young. Don’t you wish you could break it off and have someone else lined up? That’s where MTV’s Next comes in. In the show, one person embarks on a blind date. But if that person thinks their date isn’t for them, all they have to do is shout "Next!" and the Next Bus comes rolling up with a brand new date.
This dating show aired on MTV from 2005 till 2008, and occasionally shared the straight spotlight with LGBTQ contestants as well.
Actors: Lorin Eric Salm, Michael McKinley, Jamieson Hill
Most of these dating shows deal with relatively small numbers of people. Singled Out, however, ups the ante by pitting 50 contestants against each other to win the affections of just one person. The picker is initially blindfolded while whittling down their prospective suitors.
Singled Out aired on MTV from 1995 till 1998, and was hosted by Chris Hardwick and Jenny McCarthy. McCarthy left the show in 1997, and was replaced by Carmen Electra.
Actors: Carmen Electra
If you ignore The Bachelor’s reign over the TV dating game, MTV is the place to find reality romance. This was never more true than in the early 2000s, when MTV shows like Date My Mom were on.
Airing from 2004 to 2006, Date My Mom was pretty progressive in who it picked as its contestants. Aside from the obvious straight males and females, the show would also feature gay men and lesbians. In each episode, a young contestant would date three mothers, who would talk up their offspring as romantic partners. The contestant would choose who to take out based on their descriptions.