9:13am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Love Connection' Reboot Hosted by Andy Cohen Set at Fox
Fox is taking a page from the retro game show book for summer.
The network has ordered 15 episodes of a reboot of dating show Love Connection, Fox announced Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.
Hosted by Andy Cohen, the revival of the iconic syndicated show hails from Mike Fleiss, the executive producer of ABC hit dating series The Bachelor, and his Next Entertainment. The series is a co-production between original producers Telepictures Productions and Warner Horizon Television, with the latter company most recently having the rights to the property. Cohen also will serve as a co-exec producer on the series, which will debut in the summer.
Fox says each hour of Love Connection will feature single men and/or women in search of romance. After the singles are sent on three blind dates, they will dish the dirt in front of a live studio audience, with Watch What Happens host Cohen overseeing. Fox entertainment president David Madden confirmed that the reboot will feature "all versions of couples," including same-sex pairings.
"I was a huge fan of the original Love Connection, and hosting the new version allows me to do one of the things I love most: meddling in people’s personal lives,” Cohen said. (Watch a clip of the original series, below.)
Love Connection brings Warner Bros.' unscripted president Mike Darnell back to Fox, where he used to oversee the same and developed such series as American Idol.
"We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this incredibly beloved and iconic show to primetime network television," Darnell said. "The combination of the insanely talented Andy Cohen and the undisputed king of relationship shows Mike Fleiss is absolute magic...add in the perfect home of Fox…and I think we have a match made in heaven."
Additional exec producers include Martin Hilton (The Bachelor), James Breen (American Idol) and Jason Ehrlich (The Bachelor).
Love Connection was originally hosted by Chuck Woolery and ran in syndication from 1983 to 1994, collecting an astounding 2,120 episodes. The show remained on the air in repeats through 1995 before it was relaunched in 1998 with Pat Bullard hosting.
"Love Connection was always one of my favorite programs,” Fleiss said. “Show creator Eric Lieber was a close friend of mine. He taught me a lot about the relationship show format. The first rule — if the cast is good, just stay out of the way."
For producers Warner Bros., Love Connection marks the independent studio's latest dating series. In addition to ABC's The Bachelor and its many incarnations, the company is behind Freeform's spinoffs, including Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After — which was renewed for a second season featuring other former franchise contestants.
While the reality genre has not launched a breakout hit like Idol or Duck Dynasty of late, reboots of iconic game shows have become a hot trend among the broadcast networks. ABC found great success last summer with its slate of retro game shows including Match Game, Celebrity Family Feud and $100,000 Pyramid. The Disney-owned network also is reviving The Gong Show.
Love Connection comes as Fox most recently attempted to enter the unscripted dating genre last year with reality mastermind Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice) and Coupled. The series was canceled after one low-rated season.
Speaking of Burnett, the network remains in business with him for Beat Shazam, a music trivia show based on the app. That series, which will debut in the summer, will be hosted (and exec produced) by Jamie Foxx.