Channel Nine has announced the launch of a new reality series that sees eight Australians marry people they’ve never clapped eyes on prior to meeting.
The show, to be called Married At First Sight, is sure to have family advocates and religious groups fuming. The show is a remake of an American version that first appeared in 2013 and is touted as much a social media experiment as it is a matchmaking show.
Nine is yet to announce a launch date for the show in Australia.
The Aussie version features four potential couples who Channel Nine report have been whittled down from thousands of applicants. They are then vetted by relationship experts. They meet for the first time at the altar and the program then follows them for a month while they go on honeymoon, live together and meet each other’s respective families. It’s not clear if the marriage is ever consummated.
Despite the couples supposedly being a match on paper, it’s unsure whether they’ll be physically attracted to one another.
Nine has pondered the launch a local version of the show since 2013 and is conscious of the moral storm a show like this has the potential to generate.
Back then, Nine’s Andrew Backwell was quoted as saying of Married At First Sight: “I think we’ll be criticised that we’re playing with the sanctity of marriage and people will have an opinion one way or the other.”
However, advocates of the show argue it’s simply a dating program and there’s nothing to say contestants won’t find true love. Other shows with a marriage premise – The Bachelor and Farmer Wants A Wife – have all rated well for the networks.