NBC’s newest matchmaking show, Ready for Love, premiered last night with the lowest ratings for its time slot. The show features three eligible bachelors — Tim, the guitarist for Plain White T’s, Ernesto, a Miami-based philanthropist, and Ben, the CEO of a hospital — plus 36 female contestants vying for their hearts and three matchmakers to help grease the wheels.
On the face of it, Ready for Love is slight variation on the matchmaking shows that have come before — none of which, upon reflection, were very good at making matches. Of 34 seasons of shows BuzzFeed revisited, a grand total of three pairings have stood the test of time. That’s about 8.8%, which makes televised dating marginally more successful than online dating — one study found that 8% of online matches lasted more than two years.
The dating show with the best record is the The Bachelorette, with two marriages to its credit. Its counterpart, The Bachelor, takes second place with one marriage. (This is generous, as the couple in question did not actually get together until after the show, when bachelor Jason Mesnick dumped the girl he chose in the finale, Melissa Rycroft, in favor of his discarded runner-up, Molly Malaney.)
NBC’s Average Joe started off with an admirable premise: It attempted to make a match between a beauty queen and a normal dude. Everything went haywire, though, when abnormally good-looking suitors were introduced halfway through the season. Melana Scantlin ended up choosing “attractive” Jason Peoples, over “average” Adam Mesh, but the couple didn’t last.
Subsequent seasons, Average Joe: Hawaii, Average Joe: Adam Returns, and Average Joe: The Joes Strike Back were similarly disappointing for viewers who wanted to believe that love was blind. Or something.
Of 17 total seasons, The Bachelor has produced a grand total of one marriage — and it wasn’t even between the final couple. Since BuzzFeed used marriages as a meter stick, our calculations did not account for the show’s most recent pairing, Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudic. (Reports are already surfacing that the couple has split.)
The Bachelorette boasts the best record around with two marriages to its name: Season 1’s Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter, as well as Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum from the show’s seventh season.
The Surreal Life had a better record than Flavor of Love for hooking Flavor Flav up — that’s where Foofy Foofy met Danish actress Brigitte Nielsen, with whom he would film the show Strange Love. Sadly, Nielsen would ultimately leave him and he would fail, repeatedly, to find lasting love on VH1.
For Love or Money went through several permutations — in the first season, winner Erin Brodie was given the option of choosing between bachelor Rob Campos and a million dollars. She chose the latter, then returned to play double or nothing on Season 2. Her preferred suitor, Chad Viggiano, chose her over the money, doubling her payout to $2 million dollars. She reportedly gave Viggiano $500,000, but the couple didn’t end up together in the end — Brodie later became engaged to Big Brother winner Will Kirby. Seasons 3 and 4, neither of which produced a couple that remains together today, changed the game up so each contestant was matched with a check of differing values.
You know what would have been way better than VH1’s For the Love of Ray J? If the TV gods had combined the resources of For the Love of Ray J with Lifetime’s The Houstons to create a show that chronicled the relationship between Ray J and Whitney Houston.
Two seasons of I Love New York failed to produce a match for Flavor of Love castoff Tiffany Pollard.
The original Joe Millionaire actually had a pretty great premise — lady contestants were told that bachelor Evan Marriott (a construction worker) had recently come into a hefty inheritance. When the field was whittled down to a final contestant, it would be revealed that Marriott was not actually a millionaire but — TWIST — if she decided money didn’t matter anyway, the couple would be surprised with a million-dollar payday.
The wild success of the first Joe Millionaire guaranteed a second season, but The Next Joe Millionaire’s producers had to venture abroad to look for contestants who didn’t know the show’s premise. That international season bombed — and, like the first season, also failed to produce a lasting relationship.
Michaels has reportedly said of Rock of Love, “It should be called Rock of Dating.” We couldn’t agree more.
Despite being equal opportunity — A Shot at Love featured both female and male contestants vying for the affections of MySpace celebrity Tila Tequila — the show failed to produce a lasting relationship.
Technically Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire bats 1.000, having produced one marriage from its single season. We’re excluding the show, though, as that single marriage was quickly annulled after it was revealed that multi-millionaire Rick Rockwell may not actually have been a multi-millionaire and was accused of domestic violence by past girlfriends.