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Blind Date will not be compared to other dating shows, says Ten’s Stephen Tate

Ten’s head of entertainment and factual programming, Stephen Tate, has disputed the idea newly revived show Blind Date will be compared to other dating shows on television, including Nine’s Married at First Sight and Ten’s Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises.

Tate, who is also behind this year’s season of Australian Survivor, said the show predates all others, noting Ten had focused on this “heritage feel” in the new season.

Ten is bringing back the ‘heritage feel’ of Blind Date in its newest season with host Julia Morris

“This was the original dating show. This show predates all of the other dating shows on television and it has a heritage feel and we steered into that creatively. When you see it, the set is really slick and art deco and it is very much a studio show. I don’t think that there’ll be comparisons. It’s very much light entertainment, it’s a return to classic light-entertainment programming,” he told Mumbrella.

Blind Date originally aired in the 1960s on what is now known as Network Ten after the format ran as The Dating Game on the US’ ABC. Over the years since, it has aired on both Seven and Ten as both ‘Blind Date’ and in a revived tweaked format known as ‘Perfect Match’, which ran in the 1980s and again in the 2000s.

As of Monday, the show will return to screens with host Julia Morris. Tate said it was a project very close to his heart.

“I worked before I started at Ten – and I’ve been at Ten forever, I’m coming up for 19 years – I was working in the UK for London Weekend Television and I did seven years working with Cilla Black,” he said.

“It’s a really sweet show. We are not asking anybody to Marry at First Sight or date multiple men or women. All we are asking for is for people to bring their best banter, and go on a date with somebody that they choose.”

Aside from a new host in Morris – someone Tate describes as the “perfect” host – Tate said another difference was the diversity of age in casting. The newly revived show will feature any one looking for love from 18 to 80 years old.

Plus, Ten will relying on its credentials in the “shiny floor” studio setting – something it has been doing a lot this year. Following the ‘resting’ of Family Feud, Ten launched studio game show Game of Games and touted a localised version Sunday Night Takeaway and Dancing with the Stars.

Tate said it was the “right time” to return to shiny floor entertainment in the dating space. To him, it’s shows like this which can satisfy a “broad audience”.

“We are not wanting to deliver one type of programming. We think it has a place in the television landscape and this is the best possible version of it. The EP is a lady called Suzanne Mitchell who worked on Australian Idol and she really knows what she is doing,” he said.

“There’ll be a lot of people that remember this format and another format that was quite similar. There’ll be a lot of people that will tune in to say ‘I used to watch this every afternoon’ and they’ll be showing their kids, but it’s such an easy show to watch that if you are new to it, it’s still going to be very enjoyable.”

Tate describes the show as a ‘fun family’ offering, similar to the way Game of Games was described to Mumbrella. He said that’s made it a “safe place” for for product association and advertisers.

“The advertisers’ response has been very good. Obviously we have a lot of clients that have such a great experience through I’m A Celebrity and so obviously they know that Julia is a safe pair of hands as a host,” he added.

But safe as it might be for advertisers, it has been a costly investment for the CBS-owned network. Tate is ambitious about audience expectations.

“The production values are very high. It’s not a cheap show, we’ve invested quite a bit of money in this show and we will have an expectation for it. But I think it delivers. It is a very slick product,” he said.

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