Oh, the drama! Dating shows provide unrelenting amounts of entertainment in their most basic form. Add in nudity, a ticking timeline and the opportunity to explore a connection with multiple people, and there’s enough content to keep audiences on their toes forever.
With odd formats come surprising romances. Bachelor in Paradise contestants Carly Waddell and Evan Bass got off to a rocky start in season 3, which aired in 2016, but they ended the show engaged.
“If you were here, boots in the sand, there’s no way that that relationship was going to happen, much less getting engaged. And I’m pretty sure they had a baby,” former BiP host Chris Harrison joked to Us Weekly in June 2018.
Harrison noted that the show’s unpredictable nature factored into its matchmaking achievements. “I really don’t even know what to wish for or what to hope for because I don’t know if you could ever pick who ends up in Paradise,” he told Us. “But I know that our success rate is very, very high. I don’t know what our batting average is, but it’s got to be enough to keep us in the big leagues.”
Bass and Waddell announced in December 2020 that they had called it quits, but the following year, a new season of BiP ended with three engagements and two couples who got back together after filming. Joe Amabile‘s season 7 appearance wasn’t his first outing on the ABC reality series, but the second time was the charm — he got engaged to Serena Pitt during the finale.
After the pair’s betrothal aired on TV, Pitt’s parents were still a little skeptical about the BiP process. “They’re like, ‘You’re engaged to a stranger!’ when I called them,” the Canada native told Us in October 2021.
“That’s the difficult part, right? Because they’ve never met me,” her fiancé added. “We’re slowly building the relationship.”
Despite the potential for success, however, the heightened circumstances of dating shows can also lead to tensions in budding romances.
“It takes away all the love and romanticism and the specialness of the moment when you’re just told by this certain date I need to have a ring or I’m leaving,” Temptation Island season 1 contestant Evan Smith admitted to Us in March 2019. “Ultimatums, they don’t work. It’s no way to live, no way to operate, especially in a relationship or when love is what we’re talking about.”
Keep scrolling for a look at some of the wildest dating shows in TV history: