16 Celebrity Dating Shows from the Early 2000s That Would Be Criticized for Exploitation Now

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Dating shows are a great source of entertainment. They are filled with romances, drama, and unexpected twists that make reality TV popular. However, sometimes, these shows take things too far to entertain audiences. These are 17 celebrity dating shows from the early 2000s that would be criticized for exploitation now:

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Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?

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This dating show was a one-season wonder. Over 50 women were invited on the show as contestants who competed to win over the heart of celebrity millionaire Rick Rockwell. The idea behind the show was that the women were unaware of who the celebrity millionaire was until the show started. However, Rockwell was accused of domestic violence, and that didn’t sit well with the eventual winner. The show would be criticized today because the women were exploited and portrayed as people who were on the show just to marry a rich man.

My Own

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This dating show involved a superfan of a popular celebrity who wanted to date their favorite celebrity. Other contestants competed against each other to convince the superfan that they were like their favorite celebrities and should go on a date with them. The show was truly unique, but it would be criticized today for exploiting the superfans and taking advantage of their love for a celebrity just to make an interesting and unique concept for a TV show.

Flavor of Love

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Flavor of Love is a dating show where twenty women compete against each other to win over Flavor Fav, who is looking to find his true love and ideal partner. This show gained popularity and hooked audiences on who Flavor Fav would pick and what the contestants would do to win him over. Today, the show would be criticized for exploiting the women who believed that they would end up in a loving relationship with Flavor Flav even though the creators knew the connection would end once the show ended.

A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila

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This was a dating show where men and women competed against each other to win over the hearts of a famous influencer in the early 2000s called Tila Tequila. This influencer was ready to find true love, and a TV show was made where contestants would have to go on different dates with her, and contestants would be eliminated after each episode. This show was criticized for exploiting the contestants’ feelings to create more drama for good TV. The show also heavily played into the influencer’s sexuality, which many consider to be a tactic to receive more views.

Average Joe

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This is a dating show involving a beautiful woman who was told she would be on a dating show with attractive contestants but is faced with “average” looking men to find love. As contestants were eliminated, more attractive people would enter as new contestants to compete for the love of the beautiful woman. The show’s creators lied to the women and the contestants about the attractiveness of all the individuals involved.

Date My Ex: Jo & Slade

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This was a celebrity dating show involving one of the cast members of The Real Housewives going on dates to find love. The twist on the show was that the contestants were not informed that the love interest’s ex-husband was listening in on all the dates to help his ex find a new love interest by the show’s end. The show would be criticized today because it involved hiding crucial information from the contestants who may not have wanted to go on dates with someone and have their ex pick a winner.

Joe Millionaire

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Under the premise of falling in love with a famous millionaire, 20 women were sent to France to experience a whirlwind romance with one of the most eligible bachelors, who also happened to be a handsome millionaire. However, it was later revealed on the show that the women on the show were lied to, and the millionaire bachelor was a common blue-collar man. This show attempted to create entertaining TV for audiences by exploiting and lying to women.


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This reality dating show had a unique set-up. The show consisted of a version of speed dating where single people or daters were put in an RV and went on dates with strangers. Every time one of the daters called “next,” a new person would appear. But if the date lasted over a minute, the dater would earn a dollar. One of the show’s most bizarre premises was the shared facts, which mostly consisted of weird moments. Today, the show would be criticized for exploiting ordinary people and their peculiar characteristics just for TV.

Date My Mom

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This was another unique concept for a dating show that required contestants to meet up with three moms who had to go on dates with the contestants to convince them why the contestant should date their child. The concept behind the show would not only be considered inappropriate but also heavily criticized today because contestants had to go on actual dates with moms who were there to paint the perfect picture of their children to get them a date.

For Love or Money

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This show involved contestants competing to win over the heart of one person who had the power to choose a winner based on who they thought was the perfect match for them. However, if a contestant was picked as the winner, they could decide to reject the person and claim a cash prize of $1 million instead.

Rock of Love With Bret Michaels

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In this show, Bret Michaels was ready to find love, and twenty women competed to win him over and be his one true love. Contestants would compete against each other to prove that they deserved to be with Michaels, which often involved drama and various challenges that the contestants had to complete. The show was created because the winner would end up with Bret Michaels. However, no love ever came out of it. The women were exploited to entertain audiences.

I Love New York

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On this show, celebrity Tiffany Pollard is on a quest to find love, and 20 participants get on the show to win her heart. The contestants are tasked with completing different challenges while proving why they should win the show and why they are the perfect match for Pollard. The show went on to have multiple spin-offs, leading many to criticize it today for exploiting the contestants’ intentions to fall in love while the creators were only looking to provide audiences with a show they would enjoy.

Boy Meets Boy

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This was a Bachelor-style dating show where one man would try to find love from a group of suitors. This made it seem like the show would pioneer great dating shows for gay men until it was revealed that some of the contestants on the show were secretly straight. If the man chose a winner who was a gay man, the couple would end up with a prize, while if the winner were revealed to be straight, he would win the prize. This show would be criticized today for leading the main man on and exploiting the contestants’ sexuality to make good TV.

Parental Control

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This dating show was created with parents helping their children find new romantic loves to replace the current significance of others their parents did not like. The parents were tasked with finding two new potential love interests with whom the children had to go on dates to decide if they wanted to leave their significant others. The show included a lot of drama, including fights with parents and significant others, which many audiences enjoyed. However, it would be criticized for exploiting the current relationships of children with their loved ones just to make good TV.

Chains of Love

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Chains of Love was a dating show where the person looking to find love agrees to be physically chained to four strangers who belonged to the opposite gender for four consecutive days to find a connection with someone. The idea behind the show was not well-received and led to the show ending after only six episodes. Today, the show would be criticized for exploiting all the contestants’ who agreed to go on the show to find love but were taken advantage of to create an exciting yet unsuccessful show.

Married by America

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In this show, individuals are introduced to five different people who have the potential to become love interests. Relationship experts help individuals find these people, and the show includes friends and family to help individuals find true love. The show also entrusted the people’s relationship to the American public, who could cast their votes on who they think is the perfect match. The individuals on the show were exploited for their search for love to entertain audiences and keep them engaged by casting their votes, even if it led to incompatible pairings.

Author: Ali Van Straten

Title: Journalist

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