Channel 4 is to enter the competitive market of online dating. Anyone who visits the broadcaster’s (yet to launch) website will be able to apply to date pre-selected members of the public. The inevitable twist? Their first date will be filmed for an interactive documentary series, entitled Date Night.
“We’re looking for 50 or 60 people who want to come on the show,” revealed executive producer Meredith Chambers at the launch last night. “They will be known to us in advance. [Then] viewers from two weeks before the series goes out, and while the series goes out, can make a connection with those people. We want it to be as much like the real thing as possible.”
Just like any dating site, the pre-selected singletons will choose their own dates from those who get in touch online. Applicants who are overlooked first time round need not despair: they may get a second chance. “Twice or three times in each show, people whose dates didn’t work out that night will look down the barrel of the lens and say: ‘people of Britain, can you do better?’”
Although the show is due to air in June, nothing has been filmed yet because of this “interactive” element, explained Chambers. “We’re going to take over a restaurant on a Saturday night and broadcast the show [the following] Thursday night. Viewers on a Thursday night – as soon as the credits roll – can appeal to date the two or three people in the show who said ‘people of Britain’. Two nights later they could well be in the restaurant on a date.”
Channel 4 will broadcast two other dating-themed documentaries as part of its Mating Season. In Why Am I Still Single?, two strangers – a man and a woman – will delve into each other’s personal lives to identify why love is proving elusive. Meanwhile, How to Find Love Online will see Dawn O’Porter present “the definitive guide to online dating”.