Temptation Island and TV’s Most Unconventional Dating Shows

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Temptation is coming. 

USA Network’s revamped version of Temptation Island premieres next week, bringing with it a whole other world of reality TV dating. The series takes four couples at a crucial time in their relationship, splits them up in two houses, and surrounds them with sexy single people to date over the course of the show. 

Either the couples will weather the storm or they’ll give into temptation, but there will inevitably be drama no matter what happens with that many men and women living in fancy villas together. 

Temptation Island is hardly the first insane-sounding show centered around dating on TV (and not even the first version of Temptation Island), but it might just be the most cruel (and therefore entertaining). 

Join us as we take a walk through some of TV’s other wild TV dating concepts—minus The Bachelor, because in comparison, one person dating 30 other people and slowly eliminating them is practically a normal way to date at this point. 

Temptation Island

USA

Temptation Island might be the most twisted of them all, just because its stars are not even single. The show takes four established couples, splits them up into guys and girls, then puts the girls in a house full of single guys and the guys in a house full of single girls. They all have to live with and date the singles and decide if they want to stay in their relationship or not. The first version of the show aired on Fox in 2001, and now it’s been revamped for USA Network in 2019, though it’s no less diabolical this time around.

The Proposal, reality TV dating shows

ABC/Byron Cohen

It’s like The Bachelor on some serious drugs. One mysterious, unseen man or woman “dates” a bunch of women or men over the course of one TV episode taping. It’s all pageant-style, complete with a swimwear category, and it unexpectedly and disturbingly has a 40 percent success rate.

Room Raiders, reality TV dating shows

MTV

One “raider” inspects the bedrooms of three contestants with all personal photographs or other identifying décor removed, then decides to go on a date with one of the contestants solely based on the state of their room. This MTV show died in 2006, but actually might work better in today’s Instagram/Pinterest-obsessed world.

Paradise Hotel, reality TV dating shows

FOX

In Fox’s short-lived reality show, a group of single people lived in a luxurious hotel resort in a competition to see who can stay in the hotel the longest. On certain episodes, someone is removed from the show with another being brought in to shake things up. Each week, couples pair off and must share a hotel room together. While some matches produced real love, others created drama that made must-see TV.

Amber Martorana, Dave Flaherty, Married at First Sight, reality TV dating shows

Lifetime/Kinetic Content

Lifetime’s hit reality show (produced by Kinetic Content) allows participants to legally marry a stranger the moment they meet for the first time. A panel of experts including psychologist Dr. Jessica Griffin, sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz and marriage counselor Pastor Calvin Roberson help match the couples beforehand. And believe it or not, several pairs have gone on to have lasting relationships and even kids.

For Love or Money, reality TV dating shows

Dave Bjerke/NBCU Photo Bank

Back in the summer of 2003 and 2004, NBC aired a dating game show where the winner had to choose between continuing a relationship with the bachelor/bachelorette or take home a cash prize.  Eliminated contestants were also forced to rip up the checks that represented the money they could have won. 

Next, reality TV dating shows

MTV

Never forget that extremely romantic bus where contestants waited their turn! One lucky guy or girl would go on a date, but if it wasn’t going well, they could just say “next!” and then they could move on to the next contestant. If only “thank u, next” had been around back in 2005 when this aired on MTV.

Momma's Boys, reality TV dating shows

Mitchell Haaseth/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ryan Seacrest helped produce the NBC reality series where a group of moms helped choose the perfect woman for their sons. In an added twist, the men’s mothers were brought in to live in a house with the female contestants while the sons are housed in a nearby condo. The show’s goal? To answer one important question: Who is really the most important woman in every man’s life?

I Wanna Marry Harry, reality TV dating shows

FOX

Somehow, this 2014 Fox series duped a bunch of women into thinking Prince Harry would go on a dating show to find a match, though all the women were told they were just on a show called Dream Date, and they initially only knew the guy as “Sir.” The women started to guess it was Prince Harry based on the looks, and then were eventually told it was Prince Harry, but it was actually a look-alike named Matthew Hicks. This mess was canceled after four episodes.

Dating Naked, reality TV dating shows

VH1

Pretty self-explanatory. For three seasons, contestants dated multiple other contestants while totally naked, and the dates were outrageous. Naked croquet! Naked roller blading! Naked aerial yoga! VH1 should bring this back.

Dating in the Dark, reality TV dating shows

ABC/RICK ROWELL

In this ABC series that ran for two seasons in 2009 and 2010, three men and three women lived in separate parts of a house, and could only interact with the opposite sex while in the dark. Throughout each episode, contestants can learn about their potential matches by seeing items they brought into the house or learning about their personalities, but they can only see each other in a complicated reveal process that involves two-way mirrors. At the end of each ep, they could choose to meet on the balcony and try out a relationship, or they could leave through the front door alone.

Chains of Love, reality TV dating shows

UPN

One person, the “picker,” was chained to four possible dates for four days and nights, and could eliminate them one by one. There was also a cash prize that the picker could choose to keep or give to the dates. How did this possibly only last six episodes?!

Baggage, reality TV dating shows

Game Show Network

Jerry Springer hosted this 2010 game show where three contestants competed to win a date with one single. Each contestant had three suitcases of varying sizes, each containing a secret of some kind. The bigger the suitcase, the bigger the secret. First, the contestants each get to open their smallest suitcases, then the main contestant randomly opens the medium-sized suitcases and decides which secret is the dealbreaker. The person with the dealbreaker secret is eliminated, and then the final two open their biggest suitcases and the main contestant chooses one, who then gets to learn the main contestant’s own secret and decides if they can deal with it or not. Complicated? Yep. Kinda genius? Also yep.

Average Joe, reality TV dating shows

Brian Kenison/NBCU Photo Bank

Instead of casting individuals that a majority of Americans would deem attractive, the producers of NBC’s hit reality show switched it up by bringing in 16 to 18 “average Joes” to win over the heart of a beauty queen. Halfway through the show, producers would bring in several hunks to compete against the average Joes. Ultimately, the beauty queen would pick a hunk in the first two seasons. So much for proving inner beauty is what counts.

A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, reality TV dating shows

MTV

Tila Tequila was the star of MTV’s bisexual-themed dating show where 16 heterosexual men and 16 lesbian females competed for the social media personality’s heart. While the show faced criticism from religious groups, Tila would end up picking a man for season one. They broke up soon after the show aired.

Are You the One, reality TV dating shows

MTV

10 girls, 10 guys, 10 potential soulmate matches. All the contestants are put into a house and left to figure out who’s been expertly matched with who, and the more matches that are correctly made, the more likely they all are to get to split a million bucks at the end. This show just finished its 7th season on MTV.

Temptation Island makes its debut on USA on Tuesday, January 15 at 10 p.m. 

E! and USA are both part of the NBC Universal family.



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