Dating Hell

Dating is tough. Ex-treme Dating
is even tougher. Which is why it appears the show won't return this fall. Host Jillian Barberie said it was over on On Air With Ryan Seacrest
last week, although the syndicator says that's still to be decided. "We are currently out of production," says a Twentieth spokesperson, "but we will be making a decision on the show's future after the May books."

The likely cancellation isn't a surprise: Ex-Treme Dating
has been out of production since November. Barberie has been released from her contract, say Twentieth reps. The show averages a 1.0 household rating, ranking 82nd among all syndicated shows. In the week ended April 18, it rated a 0.7 among adults 18-49, and was the No. 61 show.

follows a man or woman on a daylong dream date with a catch: Two of his or her exes are wired into the proceedings. The exes watch on a monitor and stay connected with their old flame's potential partner through a microphone. The exes' job is to persuade the newbie to dump their former squeeze. If they succeed, they win a prize, such as a vacation. If they don't, the dater gets to go out again—privately.

Twentieth launched Ex-Treme Dating
in about 20% of the country in July 2002. It was taken national last June but never clicked. The show also runs on cable channel FX, which gives it a little ratings boost.

Dating shows hit their peak in 1999, when Universal's Blind Date
appeared on the scene and grabbed the lead from Warner Bros.'Change of Heart. Blind Date
transformed the genre by introducing a reality component, forcing Change of Heart
to venture out into the world. That move also set up Warner Bros.' Telepictures as one of the premiere providers of network reality shows, producing ABC's The Bachelor
and Bachelorette

At a 1.0, Ex-Treme Dating
repeats managed to outperform Twentieth's rookie Ryan Seacrest, which has been averaging a 0.9 and ranks 93rd out of all syndicated shows. Among adults 18-49, On Air
hit a 0.5 in the week ended April 18, putting it at No. 85. And Barberie's other syndicated vehicle, Good Day Live, scored a 1.0 in households the same week.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.