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.Variations featuring LGBT contestants began to appear on a few specialty channels.There are also reports of mercenary practice, that is, members of one sex paid to participate in the game to attain balance of sex ratio.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.Gimmicks were the lifeblood of all such shows, which drew criticisms for instigating disaffection that could not have been effected.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.In shows involving singles, there is a mismatch of numbers ensuring constant competition.
The audience sees only the game; an important feature of all dating game shows is that the contestants have little or no previous knowledge of each other, and are exposed to each other only through the game, which may include viewing a photograph or at least knowing the basic criteria for participation (typically participants are not already married).
By the late 1990s and early 2000s, a new wave of dating shows began airing in U. syndication that were more sexually suggestive than their earlier counterparts, including shows such as Blind Date, Elimidate and The 5th Wheel, which often pushed boundaries of sexual content allowed on broadcast television.
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.
The couple who knew each other the best would win the game; sometimes others got divorced.
Once, someone divorced after appearing on The Newlywed Game got a "second chance" on The Dating Game.
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.