Women wield the power in a new generation of TV dating shows as the #MeToo movement forces producers to abandon traditional gender tropes, experts say.
The #MeToo movement has forced programme creators to rethink and feminise many traditional formats, meaning female contestants get to try out a mix of men at home.
Analysts at MIPCOM, the world’s biggest entertainment market in the French Riviera resort of Cannes, say laddish shows may have had their day.
A woman invites five suitors to live with her in ‘Five Guys a Week’ from Britain’s Channel 4, then gives them their marching orders if they fail to please her.
The show sees one single girl have five trial live-in boyfriends for a week – all at the same time – as they all compete for her affections.
‘The guys all live with her at the same time and have to compete’ for her favour, said Virginia Mouseler of The Wit industry database.
Three drag queens interrogate a potential date for a female contestant on the Israeli TV show ‘Queens of Love’
Contestants 23-year-old Summer and Eden pretend to be each other on dates to trick men hoping to impress one of them on Channel 5’s ‘Undercover Twins’
In a clip from the forthcoming series shown in Cannes, divorcee Amy tells her hunky beau that ‘it pains me to have to eliminate you’ while two minutes later she confesses to the camera, ‘I love it that it’s me that does the picking’.
Another show exciting international buyers is the hilarious Israeli reality format, ‘Queens of Love’.
In it, three drag queens take a lovelorn woman under their wing and help her find the right partner.
As well as offering inside advice on the inner workings of the male mind, the queens question her suitors and investigate their private lives to find the skeletons in their cupboards.
‘Undercover Twins’ from Britain’s Channel 5 takes an age-old male fantasy and turns it on its head.
This time it is twin sisters who decide which of eight men who must charm and impress them in ‘Big Brother’-style challenges might be the most suitable.
(Left to right) Claudia, Luke, George and Elliott taking part in ITV’s Singletown, a showdating reality show where five different couples press pause on their relationship to come to London and experience a summer as singletons
With none of the guys aware that the single woman has an identical twin, the sisters are free to bamboozle them by switching places on dates.
As well as helping each other make the right choice, Mouseler said, the show asks if the ‘twins will fall for the same guy?’
Ireland’s ‘Generation Dating’ puts its trust in more old-fashioned matchmaking, recruiting a granny to help find the right partner for a millennial.
The twist is that the young person must also help the grandmother find love and companionship by helping her negotiate dating apps like Tinder.
But no amount of data can create the right chemistry.
A new Spanish show argues that ‘Love Comes Where You Least Expect It’, putting together five people whose unusual lifestyles have stopped them finding Mr or Ms right.
Among the candidates in its first season is a raw food vegetarian who lives on an isolated farm; the captain of a luxury yacht; a fairground worker who goes from town to town in a caravan, and a handsome free spirit who wanders the world in a tent with his dog.
Spanish dating show ‘Love Comes Where You Least Expect It’, sees Rocio, a 33-year-old who tells her thousands of followers on social media how much she loves to discover new places, try to find a perfect travel companion
True love, of course, is never guaranteed. Even if you find a partner, how do you know he or she is really right for you?
Which is where ‘the radical new social experiment’ of ‘Singletown’ comes in, from Britain’s ITV, the broadcaster that brought the world ‘Love Island’.
In it, couples are put to the test, breaking up for a trial separation where they will live like singletons for a week in a luxury apartment, being introduced to a procession of tempting suitors.
With the shackles off, they are encouraged to let their hair down.
They will also be able to watch how their ‘exes’ are getting on with their dates – nextdoor.
‘At the end of the week they are brought together and they must decide whether their old relationship’ was the ‘real thing’ or whether they will have a flutter with a new partner.