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.
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
Airing for not quite a single season in 2003, Mr. Personality was as short-lived as it was baffling. The show was supposedly centered around the power of personality trumping good looks - which meant it required one woman to choose from 20 men clad in terrifying, Man In The Iron Mask-like get ups. To make things even weirder, the show was hosted by Monica Lewinsky.
Mr. Personality was canceled after just five episodes, so viewers will never know which mystery man the woman chose.
- Actors: Monica Lewinsky, Joseph Vincent
- Premiered: April 21, 2003
A blind date can be hard to navigate at the best of times, but a blind date when your ex is in the ear of your potential love match? That’s a whole different challenge - and the premise of Ex-treme Dating, which ran for two season from 2002 to 2004. Two strangers go on a blind date, but their ex is in the ear of the new flame via an ear-piece. The exes dish dirt on their former partner and feed them conversation topics while commenting on how the date is going.
The show upped the stakes by making the dates something of a competition. At the end of the date, one contestant would approach a limousine. If their date was inside, then the pair of them won a prize. If their ex was inside, then the ex won the prize and, presumably, bragging rights.
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, Rob Marrocco Jr., Fox Cellars
- Premiered: 2010