Variations featuring LGBT contestants began to appear on a few specialty channels.
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Dating game shows are television game shows that incorporate a dating system in the form of a game with clear rules.
Human matchmaking is involved only in selecting the game's contestants, who are usually selected more for the amusement value than any concern for their happiness or compatibility.
The Newlywed Game, by contrast, another Barris show, had recently married couples competing to answer questions about each other's preferences.
The couple who knew each other the best would win the game; sometimes others got divorced.
As the 2000s progressed, the ratings for many of these shows began to decline, a situation exacerbated by the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy in 2004 as production companies out of fear of being imposed with monetary penalties by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for indecent content began self-censoring their dating shows (and many syndicated programs targeted at the 18-49 demographic, in general) to levels in which even profanities typically permissible on television were edited out of episodes.
Since then, the dating game show has virtually died off from television syndication, though cable television networks such as VH1 have continued to air dating shows with content similar to that of the syndicated dating shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s and major over-the-air broadcast networks have tried, often with marginal success, to use dating shows that are less risque compared to those shows.
Once, someone divorced after appearing on The Newlywed Game got a "second chance" on The Dating Game.
Gimmicks were the lifeblood of all such shows, which drew criticisms for instigating disaffection that could not have been effected.
The first gay version of these more realistic shows to receive mainstream attention was Boy Meets Boy, with a format similar to that of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.