When I first saw previews for Bravo’s new matchmaking show, Love Broker, I thought it looked familiar. Too familiar, in fact. Why? Because Bravo already has their own matchmaking show, Patti Stanger’s The Millionaire Matchmaker. Is it possible The Millionaire Matchmaker’s doing so well that Bravo feels that a similar show could also succeed? Or it is more likely that Patti Stanger’s failed personal relationship and controversial statements from the past year have more to do with the launch of Love Broker?
While I’d love to believe there’s room in the market for two matchmaking shows on the same network, I just don’t buy it. People don’t love love enough for that to be be possible. So that leaves only one option, Bravo’s attempting to replace Patti Stanger and her show in the most passive aggressive way possible – introducing a newer and more likeable matchmaker who’s likely to get higher ratings and therefore leave Patti’s show in the dust.
The November 2011 season finale for The Millionaire Matchmaker drew in 1.224 million viewers while her April 2010 season finale drew in 1.33 million viewers. So what happened in the course of a year to pull down her ratings? Well in between April 2010 and November 2011 Patti Stanger’s actions and words led her to lose credibility among her fans.
After watching her mix and match couples with brutal honesty over the course of three seasons, Patti broke off her 6 year engagement with fiance Andy Friedman in August 2010. Suddenly the Millionaire Matchmaker was single, leaving a lot of us wondering if being unable to succeed in her dating life makes her less credible when it comes to ours. After the break-up Jezebel writer Anna North said:
“When uncooperative daters ask her how come she’s not married, she’ll no longer have the ready rejoinder that she’s engaged. But more than that, the orderly view of love and life she promulgated on her show has taken a permanent hit.”
However the show continued on with season four premiering in fall 2010. Then Patti, who no one ever really considered kind and pleasant, crossed her “blunt” line with a few anti-gay and anti-Jewish remarks a year later in September 2011. While on Watch What Happens with Andy Cohen, she stated that gay men struggle with monogamy and Jewish men lie. She followed that up with the requsite apology and then followed that up with another inflammatory gay comment on Joy Behar’s show just days later.
“Whether you’re straight or gay, that’s a player town… the gays in Los Angeles… [it's] what’s going on in my show, which [has shot] from Los Angeles for the past five years. I have put gay dating on the map. There was no Logo then, no H8 campaign. I’m an advocate for gay marriage. I have more gay friends than Carter has pills.”
For a television star on a very pro-LGBT network, Patti Stanger likely went too far with her remarks. But comments are just comments and they can’t compete with ratings and contracts. So how to bring down the ratings?