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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 person behind the screen could hear their answers and voices but not see them during the gameplay, although the audience could see the contestants.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.The various suitors were able to describe their rivals in uncomplimentary ways, which made the show work well as a general devolution of dignity.
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.
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.
They are presented for the entertainment of the viewers.
As the genre progressed, the format developed towards a reality-style show and more into a relationship show then simply finding a mate.