The Newlywed Game, by contrast, another Barris show, had recently married couples competing to answer questions about each other's preferences.

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He Said, She Said focused not on setting up the date, but on comparing the couple's different impressions afterwards, and for their cooperation offering to fund a second date.

These resembled the reality shows that began to emerge at about the same time in the 1990s.

The genre waned for a while but it was later revived by The New Dating Game and the UK version Blind Date, and the original shows were popular in reruns, unusual for any game show.

Cable television revived some interest in these shows during the 1980s and 1990s, and eventually new shows began to be made along the old concepts.

Some gay and straight romances have been sparked on the other reality game shows, suggesting that they too may really be "dating shows" in disguise.

But any social situation has the potential to result in romance, especially work.

The format of Barris's first dating show, The Dating Game, which commenced in 1965, put an unmarried man behind a screen to ask questions of three women who are potential mates, or one woman who asked questions of three men.

The person behind the screen could hear their answers and voices but not see them during the gameplay, although the audience could see the contestants.

The various suitors were able to describe their rivals in uncomplimentary ways, which made the show work well as a general devolution of dignity.

Questions were often obviously rigged to get ridiculous responses, or be obvious allusions to features of the participants' private areas.

This creates the action, tension and humiliation when someone is rejected.