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.
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
- Premiered: June 5, 1995
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
- Premiered: October 13, 2003
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
- Premiered: May 4, 2005
If you’re a fan of HBO’s Girls, you might remember Shoshanna claiming that Baggage is her favorite show. It sounds fictional, but it’s very real. Baggage was hosted by Jerry Springer, and aired from 2010 to 2013. It involves three contestants vying for the affections of one individual, but the catch is they come out with three suitcases: one small, one medium-sized, and one large. Inside is their "baggage" - potential deal breakers that range form the minuscule to the insane.
With the opening of each bag and the subsequent revelation, the love interest can decide whether the baggage is too much to deal with, or if they’re willing to overlook it. This single person also has baggage that comes in a huge red suitcase.
- Actors: Jerry Springer
- Premiered: April 19, 2010