TV program. « Bachelor », « The Island of Temptation », « Married at first sight »… 20 years of love and reality TV

If we look today at singles in search of their soul mate in « Love is in the meadow » and in « Married at first sight », seduction is not a new subject in reality TV. M6 grants a retrospective to these cult programs in its documentary « 20 years of love on television », broadcast this Monday August 8 from 9:10 p.m.

Love was already present on the screen in the 1980s with « Turn manège » on TF1, then from 1995 in « Les Z’Amours » on France 2. But it was in the early 2000s that many reality shows dedicated to seduction are appearing, going further and further in glamor and sensationalism. M6 found several emblematic participants of these programs that have remained cult to question them on their journey, 20 years later.


We start soft with “There is only the truth that counts”, from 2002 on TF1. Interviewed 20 years later for this documentary, Laurent Fontaine and Pascal Bataille estimate that « at least 250 love stories » were born of this program, in which a guest declares his love to an acquaintance towards whom he never dared to the first step. One of the most famous stories of the show is undoubtedly this steward who wanted to find a passenger seen on the plane when he knew nothing about her. The woman couldn’t even remember his face.

The same year, TF1 reached a milestone in the « sulphurous » on the screen (to use the term of the host and producer Éric Dussart, interviewed in the documentary), by launching « The Island of Temptation ». Couples isolated from each other must « resist » against a horde of handsome singles… M6 has reunited with Brandon and Diana from the first season. The latter says that she wanted to put her relationship to the test, after learning that Brandon was cheating on her. A reconciliation with a man met on the island gave rise to a cult sequence of the program: Brandon, discovering adultery, goes in a black anger in search of his wife, ready to abandon the filming to talk to her. Even if, 20 years later, he claims that he was only “impressive” and not dangerous, the images suggest that he could have been violent if the production had not retained him.


The following year, M6 broadcast « Bachelor, the single gentleman », presented by Stéphane Rotenberg. A man supposed to have everything to please is courted by a crowd of young single women. “It may seem outdated today,” admits the host, “but we were in the codes of Prince Charming and Princess. The idea was to make a modern fairy tale. “Olivier Siroux, the very first Bachelor, has changed a lot, 19 years later. He finally only stayed married for a year with Alexandra, the one he had chosen at the end of the first season of the show. He has since had three children with his current wife.

Also in 2003, TF1 embarked on one of the first seduction programs where some of the participants were tricked. In « Greg the millionaire », a man without fortune pretends to be the wealthy owner of a villa, where he receives bachelors. Greg Basso recounts the makeover and manners coaching he received prior to filming. Again, the couple formed in the show only lasted a year. He has since had two children with another woman.


TF1 pursues programs that trap their participants with « My incredible fiancé ». A young woman thinks she must pretend to be engaged to another candidate and win a sum of money if the trick lasts until marriage. But the man is actually a comedian who tries to make her crack. Laurent Ournac and Angelina Toffoli, from the first season, look back on these colorful moments. « I didn’t even blame him, » smiles Angelina Toffoli today, although the actor, who later became popular, put his nerves to the test.


17 years ago, M6 launched « Love is in the meadow ». Of all the dating shows reviewed in the documentary, this is the one that continues today with the most success: Season 16 episodes have been watched by more than four million viewers on average. , and she returns on August 22 with a 17e season. « The success of this program is that the public feels that the participants are not playing at being someone else, » says journalist Isabelle Morini-Bosc. The documentary looks back on cult moments but also on the most beautiful love stories, at the origin of more than 50 births.


It is then necessary to take a leap in time for the launch by TF1 of « Love makes you blind », where singles meet in the dark. These are Nabilla’s first steps on television, before she became known for « The Angels of Reality TV » and her famous « hello what? ». Being still a minor at the time, she had to lie about her age to participate.


Finally, “Married at first sight” on M6 is one of the most recent seduction shows. With the evolution over the course of the documentary, the contrast is striking between the first superficial, even downright sexist, reality shows, and the most recent ones which are intended to be serious, even scientific. This is an opportunity to find Charline and Vivien from season 3 and Laure and Matthieu from season 5, still in couples and even become parents.

“20 years of love on television”, this Monday August 8 from 9:10 p.m. on M6.


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