Ryan Seacrest Launches New Dating Show

TV Shows
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TV's biggest bachelor seems to have become a matchmaker too, according to the latest buzz in Hollywood. Ryan Seacrest, who has launched such successful reality TV shows as "Keeping up with the Kardashians" (and their spin-offs) and "Married to Jonas" under his Ryan Seacrest Productions banner, has announced that he will be producing a dating competition series called "Dream Date" which will air on FOX.

According to Deadline, which first reported the news, the show will revolve around a group of women looking for love as well as a "celebrity element." No information on which celebrities might be involved, in what capacity, or even how many has been revealed.

Nationwide auditions began last spring, calling for women ages 21 and over to apply. Those auditioning were reportedly given surveys with questions that included: "Do you think chivalry is dead? Are you asked or expected to pay half the final bill? Would you like to be wined and dined? Are you ready to have a life-changing dating experience?"

The questions in the survey point to the failings of today's dating culture. It seems producers are looking for women who are disillusioned with dating and romance on some level. (It makes for good TV, too.) With all of the talk about "the end of dating" and "hook-up culture" in The New York Times and other notable publications, many daters are feeling disheartened, and wondering if they will ever find someone, or if they will ever be romanced at all. Perhaps focusing on the problems with dating is a good way to attract not only contestants, but viewers. The challenge for the show becomes: can we deliver a genuinely positive, romantic dating experience?

We don't know for sure. Producers have started shooting but are tight-lipped on the details. According to Deadline they are looking for a mid-season fall premiere but so far no date has been set.

One thing's for sure: The Bachelor and Bachelorette won't be the only popular dating dramas in the media this fall. With the launch of "Dream Date" and the serial blog posts from two co-workers at Forty Days of Dating (which has gained considerable buzz and is in consideration for a TV deal), we will have more interesting dating stories than ever to follow. And perhaps it will help us figure out our own relationship goals, habits, and challenges so that we can improve our love lives.

Or at least we can have fun watching other people's drama.

Online Dating Tips From Hollywood Casting Directors

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I will always be the first to say that I have a pretty sweet gig. I get to read, write, and coach people about relationships every single day, which is exactly what I've always wanted to do. The downside is that I'm also bombarded with online dating tips from other experts and coaches every...single...day...which, if I'm being honest, can get a little boring.

Sometimes I like to mix it up a little. Sometimes I like to hear from people who aren't your average 'dating experts' and 'love coaches.' That's where Damona Hoffman and Sarah Monson come in. They may consider themselves dating experts now, but once upon a time they were toiling away in an entirely different career: Hollywood casting director.

One worked on 'some wildly popular prime-time hits' as well as a few 'pilots that never saw the light of day.' The other took what she learned as a casting director about developing a personal brand for actors and transformed it into advice for online daters.

So what did casting teach these ladies about life and love?

Lesson 1: Guys Are Never As Tall As They Say They Are

Ok, so it's not just guys. There's a lot of white lying going on online, and men and women are both at fault. Subtract a few pounds here, add a couple of inches there...what's the harm, right? There are certainly worse lies you could tell, but the truth is that it's always better to avoid the lies in the first place.

Lesson 2: A First Date Is Just Like a Reality Show Audition, Minus the Background Check

No matter what guidelines you sent out, you still might end up with someone totally different from what you expected. Maybe you'll get lucky, and it'll turn out that what you needed wasn't what you thought you were looking for. But maybe you won't. In that case, you could try ducking all the post-date phone calls, but it's better to be an adult about it. Let them down gently, but be honest and clear about your feelings.

Lesson 3: Most People Have No Idea How To Advertise Who They Are Or What They're Looking For

Think of yourself as a product. Online dating is the release of the premium version of the 'You' product after years of beta testing. Identify your strongest assets, then design a marketing plan for your profile that presents those assets to potential dates. Understand your product inside and out, so you know exactly what's going to make a casting director or future date say "Yes! That's the one!"

Cupid Plc Launches New ‘Safe Mode’ Functionality To Boost User Safety

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2013 didn't start out well for Cupid plc, the top-5 global online dating company that's responsible for a network of dating sites including Cupid.com. Cupid came under fire for allegedly using fake profiles to boost its membership, after the BBC claimed that members of Cupid's online dating services suspected fake "flirtatious" messages were being used to encourage free users to sign up for paid subscriptions.

Cupid plc denied using fakes and said it was cleared of the allegations by auditors. According to Cupid, the auditors found "no evidence of a company organised practice of staff enticing registered members to subscribe through the use of fake profiles."

The experiences of members and undercover investigators suggest otherwise, and users are still (rightfully) suspicious, but some good news has finally come out of the Cupid camp.

Cupid recently launched 'safe mode' functionality for its network of dating sites. The update still allows users to choose who they want to interact with, but provides the added security of being able to filter out members who choose not to verify themselves on the site. With 'safe mode' on, you can contact any user but will only receive communications from members who have undergone the verification process. Unverified users are welcome to continue using the site, but are encouraged to become "Trusted Members" to unlock access to people already using 'safe mode.'

For some reason, at this point, 'safe mode' is only available for male users and only female members are asked to become verified. Cupid hopes that the new technology will create a "smoother" and "more positive" online experience for its users and...well...I certainly can't blame them for hoping. Cupid needs any boost it can get at this point.

"We have listened to our customers and to dating website users in general," says Sean Wood, Communications Director at Cupid plc. "The main goal here is to give our customers choice to decide who they communicate with. This means they can choose verified users only or indeed if they feel comfortable with communicating more widely, then they have that ability too. Our members can use the sites secure in the knowledge that they are in a safe environment where they can get on with enjoying the experience, making contacts and meeting up."

Right. So...Cupid customers are safe from each other, but the real question is: are they safe from Cupid itself?

Celebrity Dater Antonio Sabato, Jr. Launches Dating Blog

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Guys, are you looking for a virtual wingman? How about someone who always seems to date the hottest women around? Antonio Sabato Jr.'s new blog may be the answer to getting your love life on track and improving your pick-up skills in the dating department.

Sabato has launched a new dating advice blog for men through the matchmaking site AnastasiaDate.com entitled: Under the Sheets: Tips from A Celebrity Wingman. Utilizing his skills from dating celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Madonna, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sabato provides tools, techniques, and tips to finding and wooing the woman of your dreams.

His partnership with AnastasiaDate.com is no doubt influencing his opinions. Instead of advising men on how to pick up women at bars, he's advising how to speak to them online. "Guys today are taking the wrong approach to dating - from how to speak to a woman to where to meet her," he says. "They just don't get it, and somehow they still think that the best way to meet women is in a crowded bar or sweaty dance club. They don't understand that dating has evolved way beyond that these days, especially online where the options are endless, and men truly can find their perfect match."

Sabato's first post shows that he's not just relying on his good looks and six-pack abs, but on his conversational and flirting skills, too. "How to flirt" provides tips on how to strike up a conversation that holds her attention, and I must admit he's spot on in his assessment. He claims that men tend to provide facts about themselves to attract women, whereas women are looking for that emotional connection or spark.

"To women, that fact-based conversation is boring. They've had it a hundred times with a hundred other guys. You, though, are going to be different. Always start a conversation with banter - make it fun," he writes.

He then goes on to provide two examples of conversations - one that will likely go nowhere and another that is more engaging and flirtatious. Of course, it seems like a no-brainer when you look at them both, but how many times have you opted for the "safer" route when engaging with someone new? "Where are you from?" is an easy question to ask because it doesn't require work. But when you're online, you have access to a lot of information because you can read the profile of a potential date. He advises that you show that you have been paying attention and ask questions that relate to her interests like, "what made you take that trip to Fiji a few months ago?" You'll get a lot further.

You can read more of Sabato's dating advice on AnastasiaDate.com.

New York Café Offers Coffee and a Date

Matchmaker Café
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Are you looking for something a little different when it comes to meeting new people? In New York, there's a new twist on the coffee date that you might want to try.

Instead of asking one of your online matches to meet over a cup of coffee, what if you just cut to the chase and met potential dates directly through your local barista? Nancy Slotnik believes a more personal touch is needed when it comes to meeting potential romantic partners, and so she founded Matchmaker Café in New York.

Single customers are invited to drop by her pop-up café in the Financial District and check in with the barista, who also acts as the matchmaker. If you're interested in meeting people, the barista takes your picture and adds it to her database.

It's not exactly hand-picked matchmaking though. The matches are made with the help of technology, not a yenta. Matchmaker Café provides a database and an app to help you sift through your choices, which isn't such a personal touch. But what else would you do as you drink your coffee before your 9am meeting?

Customers have a number of ways of browsing the database of potential coffee date matches. You can subscribe to Matchmaker Café's online app, which launched last November and offers in-person introductions by a matchmaker. (Information for your dating profile is pulled from your Facebook account.) There are currently about 3,000 members. If you're feeling really motivated, you can also pay $5 for three phone introductions or $10 for ten, until the pop-up café closes on Labour Day.

According to Slotnick, the idea is to connect locals with each other and get them offline and meeting face to face, even if it's just for a brief coffee.

Considering all of the mobile dating apps available to meet people nearby, this is another interesting concept to get singles in the same area, who stop by the same neighborhood cafes and pubs, to meet each other face to face. Not many people know their neighbors as well as they know the people in their Twitter feeds. Maybe pop-up concepts like Matchmaker Café can help to change that.

This isn't Slotnick's first attempt at matchmaking via coffee. In 1996, she founded Drip Café, which let customers sift through binders of dating profiles. If a guest found someone he or she wanted to meet, then for a small fee, the café would help arrange a meeting.

People have mixed reactions to the café, but it is getting a lot of buzz and already has gained a following. Would you visit a pop-up café like this one?

AshleyMadison.com Reveals What Cheaters Want

Ashley Madison
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New surveys from married dating site (what a nice way to put it) AshleyMadison.com have revealed what cheaters really want.

In a surprise twist, the answer is not just "some extra-marital action." Nope, it turns out that Ashley Madison's unfaithful clientele is actually looking for a very specific kind of extracurricular experience.

When it comes to infidelity, it's all about class.

  • 83.1% of middle-class male Ashley Madison members want to cheat with a working-class woman.
  • 51.8% of upper-class men are looking for a middle-class woman.
  • 42.4% of upper-class men are seeking a working class-woman for an affair.

"Despite the changing socio-economic landscape, men across the board still want to be the Alpha partner in a relationship," says Noel Biderman, Ashley Madison founder and CEO. "Men want someone to admire and look up to them, someone they can impress because fundamentally most men lack confidence."

For women, it's a different story.

  • 7% of female Ashley Madison members who describe themselves as 'working class' say they are looking for an upper class affair partner.

"This is a reflection of economic hard times as much as confirmation of traditional class stereotypes," Biderman offers by way of explanation. "For women who are struggling financially...a fling with an upper-class man represents glamour and escape, a holiday from daily life, perhaps an element of security."

Middle class women are in a class of their own.

  • Only 40.7% of middle-class women on the site say they would prefer an affair with an upper-class man.
  • 53.6% specified that they would prefer to philander within the middle class.

Biderman has the following words of wisdom to offer on women of the middle class: "Middle-class women are more likely to be financially independent and better educated, their needs are different. They want intimacy and shared experience with an equal rather than to be swept off their feet, Jane Austen style."

There's no word on what upper class women want because...I guess they don't exist? Is that what Noel Biderman is trying to tell me? Is this the "Women earn 70 cents for every dollar a man earns" thing at play? None of us make enough money to be considered upper class cheaters?

The wage gap at work, folks. Someone had better sort out the equal pay for women issue stat, so we can get in on the upper crust infidelity action too!