It’s the Game Show All About Love – Bring Back Love Connection! [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]
Would you go on national TV looking for a date? How about a game show where old fashioned romance met modern (well, 1980’s) technology? We all tuned in to see couples air their dirty laundry about their first blind date. The ratings proved we loved it! So, why isn’t Love Connection still on the air?
Love Connection, hosted by Chuck Woolery, aired in syndication on local television stations from September 19, 1983 through July 1, 1994, for over 2,000 shows. A one season revival hosted by Pat Bullard aired from September 21, 1998 – June 4, 1999.
An updated version of The Dating Game, Love Connection producers would pick the three potential date candidates to choose from and a single guy or girl would have to choose a blind date from those three eligible bachelors or bachelorettes. The contestant would see a videotaped presentation on each, pick their favorite and immediately go on a blind date. After the date, they were not permitted any further contact until their episode was taped in front of a studio audience.
The entire panel would return to tape the episode. The audience was shown a short snippet of the three potential date candidates and they would vote on who they think would make the best choice to date the contestant. The contestant would then reveal who they had picked and details of the date were discussed, while the other person was hidden backstage off camera and could only interact through a screen on the set.
If the date went well, host Woolery would reunite the couple on the set, completing the “Love Connection.” If not, that person would remain backstage. Whatever the outcome, the audience vote was then revealed and the contestant was offered a date with the audience’s pick, but they had to return at a later date to dish the details. They would then meet the other two contestants that they had passed on.
If the couple decided they wanted to continue dating, the show would pay for a second date. They were required to return at a later date to reveal the details of that second date.
While most contestants were in their 20’s, the only age limit was 21 or over. Occasionally, middle aged and senior citizens were also featured.
According to Woolery, of the 22,000 couples that met during the original 11 season run, there were:
The show was a ratings hit, but audiences began to tire of the format by the final season. After leaving the air for a few years, it returned with host Pat Bullard to low ratings. It was replaced the following year by a revised version of The Dating Game, also hosted by Woolery.
It was during the original run that Chuck Woolery’s catchphrase “two and two” was born. He would throw to a commercial break, promising to see viewers in “two and two,” which meant two minutes two seconds, the standard length of commercial breaks at the time.
Placing the couple together for a blind date, only after a short videotaped introduction worked in many occasions, but at times proved disastrous, leaving the viewer to hear the hilarious antics about the date. Here are a few clips:
So, why isn’t this show back on the air? They tried to bring it back with Bullard as host, in what seemed to be a scaled down version. The low ratings, scared away advertisers and stations did not want another season.
But, that was more than a decade ago. Today, studios and stations are looking for cheap programming. With the reality TV explosion; this would be a perfect fit. It costs very little to produce, including the cost of sending a couple out on a date.
Many game shows that have been revived fail because so many elements of the original have been changed. Family Feud and Let’s Make a Deal are two classic shows that have returned to the air and both are enjoying big ratings as they are faithful nods to the original. This definitely would work with Love Connection. Just find the right host (not some MTV VJ reject or bad reality star) and get this thing back on the air!
An updated Xbox version, where players can actually play along with other live gamers, is available on Xbox Live under the title Avatar Connection.
Title: Love Connection
What: TV dating game show
Airdates: 1983-1994 and 1998-1999
Where aired: syndication
Reruns: reruns occasionally air from time to time on GSN
JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:
Get this thing back on the air. It was much better than most of the current reality and lame daytime talk shows. I miss the crazy animated hearts that would fly all over the screen during the opening and I can probably still hum the theme song!
Image credit: Rob Rasmussen