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NBC reveals 'Age of Love' reality dating show twist details, bachelor


By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 05/10/2007 

NBC has removed the shroud of secrecy from Age of Love, the new reality dating series the network will premiere on Monday, June 18 at 9PM ET/PT.

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The eight-episode series will follow Mark Philippoussis, a 31-year-old professional tennis player from Melbourne, Australia, who will serve as the object of affection for Age of Love's bachelorette suitors.  And now for the twist: unbeknownst to Philippoussis, he'll attempting to find true love among a group of 13 women ranging in age from 21- to 48-years-old.

Age of Love's "Kittens" will feature six young, enthusiastic women in their 20's who could probably better keep-up with Philippoussis' fast-paced lifestyle, while the "Cougars" will consist of seven women in their 40's who are more sophisticated and thus probably better equipped to deal with his fame as a tennis pro. 

Similar to the manner in which the "geek versus hunks" twists on NBC's Average Joe reality dating shows played out, Philippoussis will initially be introduced to his older "Cougars" suitors.  Later, he will learn that the younger "Kittens" -- who will also initially be unaware of the "Cougars" and vice versa -- will also be attempting to vie for his affection.

Once the "Cougars" meet the "Kittens," the claws come out and all the bachelorettes will try to win him over.  From there, the field of suitors will be narrowed until Philippoussis picks his final bachelorette.

Despite the fact that the 31-year-old had never previously dated a woman who wasn't younger than him, Philippoussis insists he doesn't care about age.  "Until now, the oldest woman I've ever gone out with was four years younger than me," Philippoussis told People.  "Age doesn't matter to me.  All the women are beautiful."

"I am so shy.  I would just really like to meet someone," Philippoussis told People. 

Billed as a "new twist on the reality dating show format," Age of Love was first announced -- cryptically -- as part of NBC's April announcement of the network's summer programming.   Philippoussis said one of his friends, former Bush singer Gavin Rosdale, commented that Age of Love could have an impact on dating beyond reality television.

"Gavin said to me, 'Wow.  You could change the dating habits of all mankind!,'" Philippoussis told People.

Philippoussis -- who described himself as "simple guy who wants a simple girl" to People -- began playing tennis professionally in 1994.  He won the Australian Open in 1996 and finished second at Wimbledon in 2003 but has since seen his career derailed by a series of knee injuries.  Hoping to return to Wimbledon this June, he's been playing tennis four times a week with Rosdale to get back into shape, according to People.

Philippoussis also admitted to already being in the "perfect relationship."  However it is with his 4-year-old Rottweiler pup, Kia, because "she doesn't ask where I've been and she's always there for me."

"When I turn out the lights, she gets up on the bed and puts her front paws on my shoulders and she kisses me goodnight," he told People.  "Now that's love."

Age of Love is being produced by 3 Ball Productions, with JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, Adam Greener and Craig Armstrong serving as the show's executive producers.

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