By Jeff Pfeiffer
It appears that TV audiences may slowly be getting used to seeing new, and actually more real, people populate “reality” shows. We have older women seeking love on TV Land’s The Cougar, America’s Next Top Model is searching for more petite women than usual for next season, and now FOX has announced a new dating competition series for plus-size people, set to premiere later this year.
Being FOX, there’s still a kind of awkward title to the show — More to Love (hey, they’re also the net calling their new psych ward-set drama Mental) — but hopefully their heart is in the right place and this won’t turn into a mocking sort of thing. The premise is about a single, average guy with a “big waist and even bigger heart” who romances several confident and secure plus-size women. This may jibe a little more with reality than your average sitcom, where the likes of Peter Griffin, Jim Belushi and Kevin James somehow attract hotties to be their wives, while the Roseannes of the world end up with John Goodman.
“This is the first dating competition show in television history that reflects what most single men and women look like, which makes it instantly relatable to the vast majority of people in the dating pool,” says Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment at FOX (man, who would have thought such a position and title would have existed even a mere five years ago?).
Executive producer Mike Fleiss (The Bachelor, The Bachelorette) adds, “This is a dating show that sends the right message about embracing and loving yourself no matter your shape or size. When you are comfortable with your own body, you can really allow yourself to be open to the possibility of finding the right person to love.”
All the right words, but again, this is FOX, so I’ll keep a skeptical eye. First of all, we’ll find out just what producers consider to be “plus-size.” A guy who dares wear a size 38 waist instead of 32? A woman who actually wears a size 8, or — get this — a 10? Certainly those are not what we normally see on such shows, so that may be a start, anyway. If that is the case, the show should probably be called something more like Average Love.
Secondly, I would hope the producers can take a lesson from The Biggest Loser and treat these contestants with respect, and try not to pepper the show with constant references to their size as they do in the press release:
“Each week, the husky hunk will wine and dine a group of curvy women to determine if they have more love to give, or if they are truly more than he can handle. When the size of the competition narrows, he will have to decide if one full-figured lady will become his true love.”
Among the beautiful set, Fleiss started out with The Bachelor and moved on to The Bachelorette when that became a hit. It will be interesting to see what happens if More to Love becomes popular. Will we see a spinoff with an average-to-larger woman looking for romance? Even among the proliferation of gorgeous model shows, we now have women’s age and height “television taboos” at least being attempted to be broken, but will a woman’s non-model-range size ever be something TV audiences can accept? As a FOX press release might say, we’ll just “weight and see.”
FOX is currently casting for More to Love, and is looking for plus-sized women as well as a larger man.
Eligible women can submit their info at this casting site. Additionally, open casting calls will be held at Lane Bryant stores in these cities:
April 8: Raleigh/Durham, NC — 4-8pm; Renaissance Village, 8200 Renaissance Parkway, Durham, NC, 27713
April 10: Edison, NJ — 2-6pm; Menlo Park Mall, 100 Menlo Park, Edison, NJ 08837
April 11: Houston — 2-6pm; The Woodlands Mall, 1201 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands, TX, 77380
April 16: Philadelphia — 4-8pm; King of Prussia Mall, 160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406
April 18: New York City — noon-6pm; 380 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
April 18: Dallas — 2-6pm; Park Lane Center, 8070 Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75231
April 18: Los Angeles — noon-6pm; location TBA
Eligible men can apply online here, or attend one of these casting events:
April 6: Dallas — 5-8pm; Primo’s Bar & Grill, 3309 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204
April 10: Chicago — 6-9pm; Rock Bottom Restaurant, One W. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60610
April 10: Miami — 5-8pm; Tarpon Bend, 200 SW 2nd Street, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
Courtesy of FOX