Fox reality gets 'Stranger'

People who have never met get married on new show

Fox is developing a matrimonial reality series where brides-to-be don't meet their husbands until they exchange vows.

In A. Smith & Co.'s "I Married a Stranger," a woman frustrated by the dating scene agrees to wed a man she's never met. While she prepares for her blind wedding, friends and family are shown selecting a spouse from a pool of six eligible suitors offered by producers. The men are eliminated one by one until only two candidates remain. Both finalists walk down the aisle, but only one makes it to the altar to reveal himself to his new wife.

"She never meets him until the actual moment when they say 'I do,' " a source close to the project said. "It's like the big scene that comes after an entire season of 'The Bachelor,' only this is in every episode."

The project is executive produced by Arthur Smith, Kent Weed and Scott Jeffress.

Fox has shot a pilot for "Stranger," which is said to be in strong contention for a series order. If Fox picks up the show, "Stranger" will have some conceptual competition: CBS has a similar series, "Arranged Marriage," planned for midseason.

The two shows have different formats, however, and likely different tones. The CBS project from Magical Elves ("Top Chef") tracks one couple throughout the series. Fox's "Stranger" has a different arranged marriage each week. Also, though Fox's pilot has a woman's family choosing a man, the show might alternate genders a la "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette."

After the climatic wedding, Fox will show footage from the couple's honeymoon and then show a segment from a couple months later updating viewers on how the relationship is going.

It's not clear if the show is tracking for late summer or midseason. Fox's reality hit "So You Think You Can Dance" is the top-rated program of the summer, with headline-generating reality project "More to Love" set to debut July 28. "Love" took time to find its male lead, who will choose from a selection of "average looking" potential mates, but the show has now completed casting and is in production.
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