Reality gets "Stranger" with arranged-wedding show

Fri Jun 5, 2009 1:00am EDT
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By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Fox is developing "I Married a Stranger," a matrimonial reality series in which brides-to-be don't meet their husbands until they exchange vows.

The premise of the show is that a woman frustrated by the dating scene agrees to wed a man she's never met. While she prepares for her blind wedding, friends and family select a spouse from a pool of six eligible suitors offered by the show's producers. The men are eliminated one by one until only two candidates remain. Both finalists walk down the aisle, but only one makes it to the altar to reveal himself to his new wife.

"She never meets him until the actual moment when they say 'I do,'" a source close to the project said. "It's like the big scene that comes after an entire season of 'The Bachelor,' only this is in every episode."

After the climactic wedding, Fox will show footage from the couple's honeymoon and then show a segment from a couple of months later, updating viewers on how the relationship is going.

Fox has shot a pilot for "Stranger," which is said to be in strong contention for a place on the primetime schedule as a series. If Fox picks up the show, "Stranger" will have some conceptual competition: CBS has a similar series, "Arranged Marriage," planned for midseason.

The two shows have different formats, however, and likely different tones. The CBS project from Magical Elves ("Top Chef") tracks one couple throughout the series. Fox's "Stranger" features a different arranged marriage each week.

In the pilot, a woman's family chooses a man for her, but the show -- a production of A. Smith & Co. -- might alternate genders, a la "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette."

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)