Hollywood entertainment trade Deadline has named Married at First Sight one of the 10 most influential international formats of the decade.
Created by Danish producer Snowman Productions, led by Michael von Würden, the format has been produced in 29 markets, including the 10th season in the US premiering on January 1, 2020 produced by Kinetic Content.
In Married at First Sight, singles who have failed to find love put their hearts in the hands of a team of experts, who select their perfect partner. The couples then meet for the first time at the altar.
After the wedding and honeymoon, the married couples move in together and start their new lives. From the first kiss to the first tears, cameras document every moment as experts analyze the relationships. Six weeks of marriage later, the couples have to make a decision: stay together or file for divorce.
Married at First Sight is distributed worldwide by Red Arrow Studios International.
How we did it: The creation of Married at First Sight
Nina Etspüler, Group Creative Director, Red Arrow Studios:
“Our Danish production company Snowman recognised very quickly that their idea of following a couple who get married without ever having seen each other could have huge potential, because it’s such a loud, noisy idea. But we didn’t know for sure until the show premiered on DR3 in Denmark in 2013, with ratings that went through the roof!
“The thing I love about this format is that you get to watch people falling in love right in front of your eyes, and that is magical. And, given that the participants put so much faith in the experts and experiment to find love, even the smallest of production budgets can’t impact on the moment when a couple sees each other for the first time in front of the altar.
“The reason for the success of the show internationally – with over 29 international productions and sales of the US show to over 100 countries – is pretty clear to us. There is nothing more universal than people searching for, and hoping to find, love. But also, the format itself combines such a strong structure for local versions to follow, alongside a lightness of tone that revels in the small, intimate details of being in a relationship.
“That’s why the show continues to be successful wherever it travels, returning year-after-year with multiple seasons, including in the US (Lifetime), the UK (Channel 4), Australia (Nine), Denmark (DR1) and Germany (SAT.1). The US show on Lifetime is about to enter its 10th season with a new, super-sized structure, and has spawned multiple spin-off shows and formats.”
Michael von Würden, Managing Director of Snowman Productions:
“When we first started producing the show, one of the best choices we made was to hire documentarians not reality TV storytellers. This set a strong, authentic tone for the show, and enabled us to follow the couples in small, everyday settings that really chart the evolution of their relationships, and make it relatable for the viewer. From the very outset, we didn’t want the format pillars to be too visible, even though it’s actually a very structured, formatted show.
“The biggest lesson for our producers – and something we always tell new international productions – is that everything you do in the show should have the goal of helping the participants to find love. If producers understand that, then it’s pretty hard not to do it right. Stories and conflicts that you need to create a great narrative will happen naturally – because they happen all the time in relationships.
“Of the international versions I’ve seen, they have been very successful in managing the balance between being true to the experiment and also being true to the couples. The producers must portray the people and their stories as real human beings, with all of the ups and downs, happiness and sadness that comes with that.
“I am so proud that our original idea in Denmark has grown to become a show that millions of people are enjoying year-after-year, all around the world.”