Fox, 'Bachelor' creator teaming for 'More to Love' reality dating show
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/30/2009
Fox announced it has ordered More to Love, a new reality dating series executive produced by The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss.
More to Love will follow a similar format to ABC's The Bachelor, however it will star a plus-size bachelor as he attempts to woo several plus-size bachelorettes.
"This is a dating show that sends the right message about embracing and loving yourself no matter your shape or size," said Fleiss. "When you are comfortable with your own body, you can really allow yourself to be open to the possibility of finding the right person to love."
Fox is currently casting "eligible plus-sized men and women ready to jump into the experience of a lifetime," according to the network, which added the series is slated to premiere later this year.
"This is the first dating competition show in television history that reflects what most real single men and women look like, which makes it instantly relatable to the vast majority of people in the dating pool," said Fox reality chief Mike Darnell.
In the past Fleiss and Darnell most notably worked together on Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, a controversial reality dating series that aired as a special on Fox in early 2000.
The special concluded with Rick Rockwell marrying Darva Conger immediately after he selected her, however the marriage was annulled later that year after it was revealed that Rockwell wasn't actually a millionaire and previously had a restraining order taken out against him by a former girlfriend.
While Fleiss toldThe Hollywood Reporter that he and Darnell have also previously collaborated on the lesser known Million Dollar Mysteries, Chance of a Lifetime and Battle of the Child Geniuses, More to Love represents "the most significant thing" they've ever worked on together.
"It's been a long time," Fleiss told The Reporter. "And we really think we've got something. It's simple, yet controversial."
Darnell added that the inspiration for More to Love came "a couple months ago."
"[The] Bachelor was doing really well, Mike and I were talking about how The Biggest Loser was also doing well, and it occurred to us that none of the dating shows -- The Bachelor or its numerous copies -- none of them have ever anyone cast but really-slim-thin women," he told The Reporter.
"And what if there was one with real-looking women, whether you call them maybe plus-sized, or a little heavier... Why don't the real women -- the woman who watch these shows, for the most part -- have a chance to get on these shows and find love too?"
Fleiss said More to Love is "about having these women be comfortable with themselves so they can be loved and find love."
"It's the dating show for the rest of us," he told The Reporter.
While the participants are overweight, Fleiss said More to Love is "still a relationship show" on the surface.
"But the way they're reacting to situations is going to be from a different perspective. They've experienced dating a different way than the beautiful -- than the stick-thin girls have," he told The Reporter. "Our goal is to have everyone forget about their size and just focus on the love story we will be telling."
Darnell added that More to Love's potential bachelorettes have also "probably been rejected more in their lives" and thus have become "a lot more trepidatious about dating."
"Mike and I feel that it's not as superficial as other dating shows have been. This is going to have enormous emotion," he told The Reporter.
"This show is going to get a lot of people talking. If you go to eHarmony, or one of those dating sites, you're not going to find the women you see on Bachelor. For six years, it's been skinny-minis and good-looking bachelors, and that's not what the dating world looks like. This is going to be ridiculously relatable."
Despite Darnell and Fleiss changing the type of participants from those normally seen on reality dating shows, both said they show's format will not be much different.
"We're not changing that formula, but there might be special pressures on people like when they get in the Jacuzzi, or there might be some lingerie wearing," Darnell told The Reporter. "So it will be just like a regular dating show, but from a different perspective."
In addition, Fleiss told The Reporter the show is "not forcing" its participants "to lose weight" but will feature some small makeover aspects for the contestants.
"But we want them to be comfortable on a fancy date," added Darnell. "The makeover comes in their attitudes and hopefully their self-respect."
Darnell also played coy when asked if the show would feature any twists.
"There will be surprises, but that's all we're going to say," he told The Reporter.
Darnell added that similar to Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, More to Love might be "a little controversial."
"But I think it will be mostly positive," he told The Reporter. "This is so simple and so obvious and yet has never been done. There used to be an idea that people wouldn't watch unattractive people on television. Biggest Loser proved that's absolutely incorrect. People want to watch relatable people."
Fleiss called More to Love an "inspirational show" that sends the "right message" -- "You don't have to be thin to be loved."
While a premiere date has yet to be announced, Darnell hinted that Fox has little interest in airing More to Love in direct competition with The Bachelor.
"We wouldn't want to hurt both shows by doing that," he told The Reporter.
More to Love is produced by Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television, with Sally Ann Salsano -- whose credits include MTV's A Shot at Love reality dating series franchise -- serving as executive producer with Fleiss.