Arts & Culture News

Are You Desperate — and We Mean Desperate — to Get Married? We Have the Gig for You.

Ashley Petta and Anthony D'Amico, from season five, are still married.
Ashley Petta and Anthony D'Amico, from season five, are still married. Lifetime
A Lifetime channel reality show that uses a team of relationship experts to pair strangers in wedlock is casting its next season in Dallas.

Individuals who are "single and brave," "appear to be between 26 and 35," have "exhausted all dating options" and are "ready to find the love of your life" can apply to be Married at First Sight here.

The show throws a traditional wedding ceremony for the matched couples, who meet for the first time at the altar, in front of their friends and family.

It's basically a typical arranged marriage, except here your lifetime partner would be chosen by three reality television personalities — relationship expert Rachel DeAlto, the Rev. Calvin Roberson and sociologist Pepper Schwartz — rather than your parents, who actually know you.

Married At First Sight — which recently aired its fifth season, filmed in Chicago — then follows the couples through the early months of their marriage.

They are sent on honeymoons, move in together, celebrate first holidays and go through all the ups and downs of a new relationship ... while being filmed for television and legally bound as husband and wife.

At the end of the show, the couples have the option to remain together or proceed to divorce. The first season produced two successes, but the show's track record in seasons two, three and four was more dismal.

None of the couples from those seasons stayed together, and one woman, Jessica Castro, filed a restraining order against her husband, Ryan De Nino, saying he threatened to kill her and her family in private and later repeated some of the threats while taping for the show.

Two couples from season five, which finished airing in July, are still married, but it remains to be seen whether their love is long-lasting; many of Married At First Sight's couples divorce quietly about a year after the season ends.

But that didn't stop Hershy Petty, a casting producer for the show, from boasting about its "incredible success ratio for the couples" in an email to the Observer.

The first few questions on the application read like a doctor's office form (address, height, weight, emergency contact), but then comes the personal stuff. Would you be willing to relocate for someone? Are certain ethnicities or religions deal-breakers for you?  How long was your last relationship? What was your childhood like?

They also ask for full body and face photos. This is television, after all.

One of the questions pertains to availability during specific dates in February, so it's likely the show will begin filming here then.
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Caroline Pritchard studied English at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and in 2012 returned to her hometown of Dallas, where she spends her free time seeking out new places to roller skate and play pinball.
Contact: Caroline North

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