More summer lovin’, as Fox, NBC add dating shows
BY LORI RACKL TV Criticemail@example.com June 1, 2012 2:56PM
Chicago’s Yanina Beccaria (left) is paired with a potential partner during a competition on "Love in the Wild."
‘LOVE IN THE WILD’
Two-hour season premiere 8 to 10 p.m. Tuesday on WMAQ-Channel 5
7 to 8 p.m. Thursdays on WFLD-Channel 32
8 to 9 p.m. Thursdays on WFLD-Channel 32
Updated: July 6, 2012 8:45AM
Love is in the airwaves this summer. And it’s not just Emily Maynard on the hunt. This week alone, three dating shows debut on TV.
Tuesday marks the start of the second season of “Love in the Wild,” featuring a new host and a new twist.
Jenny McCarthy serves as ringmaster in NBC’s “Survivor”-like adventure-dating series set in the Dominican Republic. Fourteen single women and men pair up and compete in adrenaline-pumping challenges, like jumping off cliffs, hurling coconuts and digging conch shells out of a pit of snakes. The aim is to outdo the other couples while testing their compatibility with one another.
During elimination rounds, the duos decide whether they want to stick together or swap partners to get to know someone else. Heartbroken singles get sent home, while the last couple standing wins a trip around the world.
The chance to play in a tropical paradise was as big a draw as the opportunity to find love for Lincoln Park commercial real estate salesman Tim Parrish, one of two Chicagoans competing on the program.
“I was definitely open to meeting new girls,” said Parrish, 32, who makes quite a splash with the ladies, despite his predilection for calling himself The Timeister. “I grew up camping and having fun with that kind of stuff, so the adventure stuff was equally attractive.”
Yanina Beccaria, 34, said the time-consuming schedule that went along with her long tenure as an “Ice Girl” for the Chicago Blackhawks put a deep freeze on romance. After the Hawks won the Stanley Cup, she decided to hang up her skates and focus on finding love — something she ultimately decided would be easier to do in the wild than in the city.
“The single guys in the city are almost not datable,” said the Argentine-born Beccaria. “I ran into a lot of fratty Chicagoans not ready to commit.”
The Gold Coast gal figured “Love in the Wild” could help her quickly track down Mr. Right.
“The show puts you through all these emotional and physical tests,” she said. “Your true colors come out. It’s a very good way to find out about people — and fast.”
“Love in the Wild” will shake things up in its two-hour premiere by introducing seven additional single guys into the mix. This means each woman picks two men, so the trios compete against each other while both guys simultaneously battle it out to woo the woman.
No sweat, said The Timeister.
“I don’t mind competing,” he said. “It wasn’t like I felt threatened at all by having other guys around.”
On Fox’s new dating show “The Choice,” it’s celebrities who get the chance to see if love really is blind.
Just like “The Voice,” the singing competition on NBC, “The Choice” puts stars (sort of) in spinning chairs. They turn around when they like what they hear.
Rob Kardashian, “Jersey Shore’s” DJ Pauly D, singer Joe Jonas and pro footballer Rob Gronkowski are among the bachelors who don’t look but listen as potential suitors describe themselves. (Only one episode features all female celebrities. Their ranks include Dennis Rodman ex Carmen Electra and wannabe pro-wrestler Rima Fakih, crowned Miss USA 2010.)
When a bachelor has heard enough and is ready to bite, he pulls his “love handle,” bringing him face-to-face with a hopeful mate. If more than one celebrity spins around, they duke it out for her affection.
Cat Deeley (“So You Think You Can Dance”) hosts the show, where each celebrity racks up a team of three ladies. He eventually whittles the trio down to one who wins the date.
Who lights them up?
The field of females is markedly bigger in the new show “Take Me Out,” Fox’s other entrant into the crowded TV dating game market. Based on a British program, the U.S. version is hosted by comedian and actor George Lopez.
Here’s how it works: Thirty women — the “Flirty 30” — stand at lighted podiums while they size up a lone bachelor. If at any point he turns them off, they do the same to the light on their podium.
If there’s mutual interest between the man and one of the women, the couple goes on a date, snippets of which are aired on the show. But if all 30 women turn their lights off — meaning no one’s interested in the poor schmuck — he has to walk off stage while the audience sings “All by Myself.”
Lopez said the fast-moving style of his show distinguishes itself from series such as “The Bachelor,” where viewers watch a big herd of hopefuls get culled bit by bit.
“ ‘Take Me Out’ is four individually wrapped guys in one hour, so you don’t have to stay involved or connected the whole season,” he said.
Lopez added that he’s not worried about looking-for-love shows reaching a saturation point on the small screen. He pointed to the popularity of cooking programs, saying so many exist because people love to eat. Likewise, people love to love.
“Everybody is trying to find the right match, whether it’s on the Internet, or dating services, or learning something from dating shows,” he said. “ ‘Take Me Out’ can be a little bit of a tutorial on how to make an impression the first time somebody sees you.”