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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 show featured an unusual plot twist: eight of the men from the show's original dating pool were actually heterosexual men pretending to be homosexual; one important part of the plot was whether the gay contestant would be able to recognize the heterosexual men.
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).
There have been a number of dating shows aired on television over the years, using a variety of formats and rules.
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.