The untold truth of TLC’s Find Love LiveJune 4, 2020
Although TLC’s Find Love Live is not the first reality dating show to sweep us off our feet, it is a groundbreaking series in its own right. Like The Bachelor, the series focuses on lovelorn singles trying to find romance while the cameras roll. Unlike the popular ABC show, though, each episode of Find Love Live features a pre-selected “singleton” presented with the opportunity to “interview” (i.e. shamelessly flirt with) three potential suitors as the whole thing broadcasts live.
Perhaps most unique about the series is that it takes place virtually, with the singles never actually meeting in person but attempting to get to know each other from the comfort of their respective couches. Meanwhile, viewers get to play Cupid by voting in real time via social media, offering opinions on who the episode’s single should select. The show proved to be a hit with viewers, but there’s much that fans may not know about the series’ unique evolution. Read on to find out more about the untold truth of TLC’s Find Love Live.
This is why the premiere of TLC's Find Love Live was delayed
TLC had initially announced that its unique dating show Find Love Live would premiere in April 2020, according to Variety. The original concept for the dating show called for the “singletons” and their respective suitors to meet face to face. As TLC noted in its announcement for the show, all the action would be filmed with a “traditional production crew” and broadcast to viewers live.
However, with film and television production suspended indefinitely and social-distancing measures in place throughout much of North America in March 2020, TLC and the show’s producers were faced with a tough decision: Delay the show until it was safe for crews to begin filming again or come up with another solution. In the end, Find Love Live producers decided instead to push back the premiere date to May while they figured out an alternative format that would allow their singles to mingle without ever being in the same room together.
TLC's Find Love Live wasn't intended to be a virtual dating show
TLC’s senior vice president of development, Jason Sarlanis, confirmed to Insider that Find Love Live was intended to launch in a completely different format. As he detailed to the publication, the original plan was for the show to be “an in-person experiment,” similar to the the network’s hit 90 Day Fiancé, but on a far faster track than 90 days.
After pushing back the premiere date, producers scrambled to rejig the format in a digital way. As a result, television’s first-ever socially-distanced, remotely-filmed dating show was born. And now we can’t picture it any other way.
The series utilizes remote-conferencing software that allows video meetings (or, in this case, dates) to take place in cyberspace. Once the choice was made to proceed witht the show and go digital, the potential couples’ were no longer going to be able to meet in person or go on actual dates. Instead, their interactions were relegated entirely to virtual experiences. “Love is loud, love is crazy and just maybe, love can be found with a little help from America, the internet and live TV!” proclaimed TLC in its announcement for the one-of-a-kind show.
TLC's Find Love Live has a unique premise
There have been no shortage of reality TV dating shows over the years, yet TLC’s Find Love Live boasted a distinctive premise unlike anything that had come before. While some dating shows prevented participants from meeting face to face — such as Netflix’s Love Is Blind, a “social experiment” in which couples look to fall in love and get engaged before meeting in person — the format of Find Love Live was driven just as much by necessity as it was by creativity.
During each episode of Find Love Live, TLC explained in its press release announcing the show, the “singleton” featured gets to meet three potential love interests, live via video chat while safely ensconced within their respective homes. There’s also an interactive element that allows viewers to let their voices be heard via Twitter, casting votes in real time throughout the live broadcast to share their opinions about which of the three people the contestant should select to take on a virtual date. That meeting is then aired in the following week’s episode, with viewers witnessing how well (or terribly) the whole thing went.
How TLC's 90 Day Fiancé inspired Find Love Live
It’s no secret that TLC has seen massive success with 90 Day Fiancé and its multiple spinoffs, ranging from 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? to even 90 Day Fiancé: Self-Quarantined. In fact, the success of the franchise was seen as offering evidence that a virtual dating show like Find Love Live could work, given the long-distance nature of the relationships on the 90 Day Fiancé shows. After all, the couples are typically filmed forging connections and getting to know each other face-to-laptop via Skype, FaceTime, and similar apps.
“We’ve always been so inspired at TLC, because of the 90 Day Fiancé franchise, to see that people can make real meaningful connections and truly fall in love in the most interesting of ways,” Jason Sarlanis, TLC’s senior vice president of development, explained to Insider. “Before the 90 days [are up], a lot of people fall in love over Skype and dating and they never see each other face to face.”
TLC's Find Love Live highlights the awkwardness of virtual dating
Can a dating show that hinges on singles meeting each other virtually really work? TLC’s Find Love Live proved that it can. But, is getting to know someone via cyberspace the optimal way for humans to get to know each other? Not so much. In fact, if there’s one thing that Find Love Live demonstrates it’s that virtual dating carries its own unique set of pitfalls and minefields.
As Insider pointed out, the episode of Find Love Live featuring a “singleton” named Shamonique (aka Shae) offered some truly cringeworthy moments, like when she declared, “I’m a carnivore. I’ll eat you up, OK?” Things got even weirder when Shae’s indecision between the two remaining men (after she dismissed one) was settled with a dance-off, with one of the men even removing his shirt to show off his chiseled abs. Insider‘s Julia Naftulin explained that when Shae quizzed the men about their hobbies and what they would do to win her heart, “every answer seemed like an attempt to one-up the other contestant,” with the two men continually “talking over each other when Shae asked them a question.”
How TLC introduced Find Love Live host Sukanya Krishnan
Prior to starring in TLC’s Find Love Live, host Sukanya Krishnan was relatively unknown on a national level. To counter that, TLC introduced its new host in a video, aptly titled “Meet Sukanya.” Expressing her excitement at hosting the new dating show, Krishnan — who told audiences “you can call me Suki” — ran down a bit of her personal history. Married 12 years and the mother of two, she jokingly knocked on the side of her head and declared, “Knock on wood, everything’s going well so far.”
She also admitted she’s no stranger to online dating. “Who hasn’t dated online?” she remarked. Her biggest pet peeve about online dating, she admitted, was finally meeting someone she felt was a good match only to discover that person hadn’t been completely honest. “False advertising!” she exclaimed. “They don’t check any of the boxes they put on the profile.”
She used her personal experience to issue a warning to potential Find Love Live participants: “No false advertising.” She continued, saying, “Dating online can be really, really difficult, but if you’re not telling the truth, that makes it even worse and more unforgivable.”
The host of TLC's Find Love Live is no TV neophyte
While many viewers were introduced to host Sukanya Krishnan via TLC’s Find Love Live, she’s certainly no newbie in the TV biz. According to her LinkedIn profile, Krishan has won six Emmy Awards during a television career that began in 1996, including back-to-back Emmy wins in 2005 and 2006 for On-Camera Achievement (News) Anchor/Host, and two more in 2014 for her coverage of Hurricane Sandy.
Before hosting Find Love Live, Krishnan was the anchor of FOX5NY’s Good Day Wake Up until exiting in 2019. Prior to that, she worked as an on-air anchor for New York City’s WPIX for more than 15 years. According to her profile, Krishnan is also distinguished as a “trailblazer” as she was “the first South Asian to anchor news in the No. 1 market.”
There is, however, one other place where viewers may have recalled seeing her. As her LinkedIn profile notes, she appeared in an episode of HBO’s The Sopranos, playing herself — and was “hand-selected” for the episode by series creator David Chase.
TLC's Find Love Live host Sukanya Krishnan's previous jobs allegedly ended in drama
Although Sukanya Krishnan held jobs as a TV news anchor prior to starring in TLC’s Find Love Live, her exits from those jobs were reportedly clouded by controversy. According to a Page Six report, she left Good Day Wake Up after a “blowup” with producers. An unnamed source alleged “there were words exchanged [on the set], and then she had a meeting with management.” Krishnan, however, insisted there was no “blowup” and that her exit was “amicable,” explaining she was offered a new contract that led her to realize “it wasn’t the right decision” for her to stay.
In 2017, Krishnan was informed by management at WPIX — where she’d been working for over a decade — that she was going to be replaced by another anchor, Betty Nguyen, according to Tuned In. The show’s on-air personalities were reportedly instructed to promote Nguyen’s hiring on their respective social media platform, but Krishnan “balked” at the notion and, according to anonymous sources, was fired for insubordination.
How TLC's Find Love Live found its contestants
Since traditional casting calls wouldn’t fly in spring 2020, TLC put out the word on its website’s casting page, announcing that the network was seeking singles in the tri-state area to star in Find Love Live. According to the casting notice, TLC was seeking “fun and outgoing singles” to appear on its upcoming live dating show. “Find a love connection via live video chat — you don’t even have to leave home!” the casting notice read. “We’ll help you find your perfect match.”
At the same time, TLC was also continuing its search for people to cast in some of its other shows — and the criteria was very specific. In addition to seeking people with a litany of skin conditions to appear on Dr. Pimple Popper and polygamists willing to share their lifestyles on Seeking Sister Wife, TLC was also looking for pregnant teenagers and “young grandmothers-to-be” for an unnamed reality show focusing on teen moms and their moms. Find Love Live may just be the tamest of the bunch.
A 90 Day Fiancé alum looked to hook up on TLC's Find Love Live
Given that 90 Day Fiancé airs on the same network as Find Love Live, it isn’t totally surprising that an alum of the 90 Day franchise wound up appearing on TLC’s virtual dating show. Viewers first encountered Jesse Meester in the first season of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, which chronicled his train-wreck relationship with Darcy Silva.
Jesse, a native of the Netherlands, decided to take another shot at finding love on reality TV and appeared as the featured “singleton” in the debut season of Find Love Live. “When the opportunity to appear on Find Love Live came along, I thought it was an interesting avenue to explore and see if I could meet someone,” Jesse said of his decision in a statement to People. Despite being sequestered, Jesse felt that remaining “quarantined at home shouldn’t stop … us from trying to make connections.”
During his episode, Jesse selected a woman named Haya, and the two seemed to hit it off. “Once we started talking, it was like I had known him for a long time,” she said of their virtual first date.
TLC's Find Love Live fans can "get in on the action"
In an interview with the Help! I Suck At Dating podcast, Sukanya Krishnan explained that people looking for love while self-isolating on TLC’s Find Love Live was “a new social experiment.” With people “in these little virtual boxes,” Krishnan said, the suitors within those boxes can actually be switched out “if the dater isn’t actually feeling you.” In fact, if the “singleton” isn’t vibing with any of the suitors, there are other potential dating partners in a virtual waiting room who can then be brought in.
“We’re trying to bring that real connectivity, which is not a physical connection,” but could be something as simple as enjoying the sound of a person’s voice or agreeing with what they’re saying,” the host revealed.
Krishnan also pointed out an extra layer to the series: Viewers actually have a shot at dating some of the singles they see on the show. “You can actually date those potential daters,” she explained, “if you go to FindLoveLive.com, and you like their profile, you can kind of get in on the action from your couch.”
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