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TV Column
Posted at 06:25 PM ET, 05/03/2012

Fox dating series ‘The Choice’ pays homage to NBC’s ‘The Voice’

Imagine Fox reality TV guru Mike Darnell obsessed with NBC’s singing competition “The Voice,” which has been giving his “American Idol” a run for its money in the first quarter.

Imagine Mike Darnell, the guy behind “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?”, “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance,” and “The Littlest Groom,” and “Temptation Island” wanting to take another stab at a reality dating series.

Imagine “The Choice,” in which four “celebrity” bachelors in swivel chairs choose from a pool of “hotties” – they can’t see!

“Four Celebrities. Blind Auditions. Spinning Chairs. But it’s not what you think . . .

The tease was for a new dating competition called “The Choice.”

Of course, the gag is that the promo also perfectly describes “The Voice.”

Fox’s reality-TV chief Mike Darnell is notorious for pre-empting new, high-profile reality projects at other networks with suspiciously similar series of his own. ABC had “Wife Swap”; Fox had “Trading Spouses.” NBC announced “The Contender”; Fox announced “The Next Great Champ.”

Fox announced late Wednesday night that poor Cat Deeley has been signed to host this new “dating” series, which Fox insisted sets out “to prove that love is really blind.”

Serious students of Mike Darnell, however, suspect that he’s really set out to prove that he can take the basics of the “swivel chair” format and snag more viewers than does NBC’s version of swivel-chair reality TV. Or that he can at least annoy the heck out of NBC and its lawyers.

Debuting Thursday, June 7, “The Choice” will feature “the world’s most eligible celebrities” competing to “find true love” among a group of chicks they do not see.

Each episode begins with four celebrity guys sitting in tacky swivel chairs, turning their backs on love and unable to see the chicks looking for a “date with fame,” Fox said. In this initial “Blind Round,” each celebrity only hears from the dating pool as they share information about themselves.

When a celebrity bachelor likes what he hears, he pulls his “love handle” — yes, Fox went there in its announcement — which spins his chair around and brings him face to face for the first time with the chick. Imagine her humiliation if he recoils in horror! Great TV, right?

If more than one celebrity pulls his love handle, they must battle it out for the chick, and she gets to “pick whose dating pool she wants to swim in” — still Fox’s words, though feel free to send us your complaints and we’ll pass them along.

But that doesn’t mean she gets to go on the date with her “celebrity” of choice. Oh no! It only means that she becomes one of that celeb’s “three hotties” — Fox’s words. Over two more rounds of “competition,” the celebrity guys whittle down their three “hotties” to one, who gets whisked off on a dream date and they all live happily ever after.

Darnell has his eligible celebrity bachelors lined up, Fox sources told us, but he’s keeping them under wraps — even within the network. It’s probably safe to assume we’re not talking George Clooney or Ryan Gosling here. But, we’re assured, Darnell had his standards: they had to be single — always a good idea — recognizable and good-looking.

By  |  06:25 PM ET, 05/03/2012

Tags:  fox, american idol, the choice, mike darnell, cat deeley

 
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