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Last Updated: Monday, 4 August, 2003, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Cowell's Cupid fails to charm

By Peter Bowes
In Los Angeles

Music mogul Simon Cowell's new TV dating show has made its debut in the US.

Simon Cowell advertises Cupid
Simon Cowell was pushed as the show's main selling point

Replace a group of hapless wannabes with an odd-ball collection of men who are desperate for love - or a million dollars - and American Idol becomes Cupid.

Billed by CBS as a "twisted new idea" the show aims to find a husband for Lisa Shannon, a 25-year-old advertising copywriter.

Unlucky in love, Lisa hopes to solve her dating problems with the help of her two best friends, Kimberly and Laura, and the votes of the American public.

Just like the Idol show, they tour the country auditioning hundreds of potential Mr Rights.

Each man has 30 seconds to impress the trio of young women who clearly do not suffer fools.

Have your say on the show

Their aim is to select a shortlist of 10 candidates who will get to know Lisa better in later episodes.

Viewers get a chance to play cupid by voting to reject the blokes they consider to be bad news - eventually steering Lisa towards her perfect match.

The prize - shared between the lucky man and Lisa - is $1m. The catch is that they must remain married for at least 12 months to collect the money.

Simon Cowell advertises Cupid
The Cupid girls are ruthless
The show has a few cringingly funny moments as the guys try all manner of tricks to impress Lisa - and her ruthless friends.

Some men burst into song, others read poetry or flex their over-pumped muscles. The more confident types strip off or attempt a song and dance routine.

"That's the ugliest face I think I have ever seen," was the verdict on one reject.

Kimberly and Laura taunt and humiliate the men as if it is a blood sport.

Star attraction

Most of the hype for the show centred around Cowell, who is the executive producer.

The trailers, running for weeks on CBS, all featured the British music industry mogul.

But the show was never designed as an on-screen vehicle for Cowell.

Someone must have had a change of heart since he could easily be mistaken as the show's main host.

The decision to thrust Cowell into the forefront is presumably explained by his soaring profile and popularity on US TV.

The show pales in comparison to the Pop Idol format

The show's real host, MTV presenter Brian McFayden, is relegated to something of a bit part.

It is amusing for a while - but pales in comparison with the early stages of the American Idol auditions.

With this show it is difficult to believe that anyone is embarking on a genuine search for everlasting love.

Fifteen minutes of fame, if that, seems more likely.

There are too many seemingly fake tantrums and over-the-top auditions.

Dating shows per se have become a bore and these days, $1m prizes are hardly the stuff of must-watch TV.

Have you seen the show?

This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.

I must admit that I'm a big fan of most reality shows and was looking forward to Cupid. I was sorely disappointed and completely bored by the entire charade. Clearly the three women with the trash mouths are out to make a name for themselves but I remain astrounded at just how low some will sink to attain this end. Simon, I tuned in to American Idol initially because of you (although in season 2, it was more the top 3 talented singers who compelled me to watch). Think I'll steer clear of Cupid. It's simply too pathetic to sit through.
Catherine, Canada

What a mean spirited TV show. I know all the men were happy to run out of that room. They escaped with their lives. Those women think they are funny, but the world has other choice words for them. Simon and his warped mind found three females just like him. Take it off please CBS it's sick
Bette, usa

The worst show I have ever seen!!! Who wants to marry a woman that picks her future husband by touring America and makes her choices live on American television, plus needs to put one million dollars down. No smart, self-respecting woman (as she claims she is) would ever do that.
Olga, US

The best thing I've seen on TV in ages!! What fun and I will not miss an episode. My husband and I just howled - well done!!
Joanna, Canada

Please! Can't Simon Cowell host a real show with real people? This woman has the right to pick a man of her own choosing without having her "friends" rat on every applicant. Sure, maybe some of the guys look a little geeky and should perhaps dress and behave a little more gentlemanly, but nobody's perfect.

Cupid is just another piece of trash TV that continues to make a travesty out of the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing.
Ron, Canada

I was disgusted by last night's show. I had to change the station because that blonde girl was SOO rude! Get a grip! Have some class! I decided early on that she was using this as a step into fame - but one thing that she lacks: talent and looks. Go back home to the real world and good luck finding a man, now!
Carrie, USA

I have nothing personal against you Simon but you should stick to your duties as a music mogul and American Idol judge
Mandy, USA
I watched the show last night and I have to tell you I won't be watching again. I realise "reality" is the big thing right now but hey let's not scrape the bottom of the barrel just to get something on the air. Why! can't this woman find a man, she is certainly attractive enough but if she is anything like her "friends" then I can see why she is still single. If I were her I would get different friends. Some of the men were losers but the friends are bigger losers.
Heather, Canada

What absolute tosh! This is the worst reality show yet. I would wait till the three women said "Yes, yes, yes, welcome to Cupid", then I would say "No, no, no, goodbye! " Of course why would I be there in the first place?
John, Canada

The Cupid girls are priceless. Lisa's friends are saying exactly what women are thinking! I love the spunk of the blonde, she's right on target with these losers and comes off funny to boot. They can also spot a winner, Dominick, WOW, there's a keeper. Keep up the great work girls, I would do the same for my best friend!
Lisa, USA

The only reason why I saw Cupid was because of the hype os Simon Cowell. That's it!!! American Idol is way better than this. This show is so BORING!!!! American Idol has the whole package. I have nothing personal against you Simon but you should stick to your duties as a music mogul and American Idol judge. Those female judges acted like fiesty and mean teenagers towards boys in high school. It's uncalled for!!!
Mandy, USA

This just shows that the only thing the UK and the US stand shoulder to shoulder on is these awful reality shows.

Created from the cynical money-grabbing mind of a Brit, and shown in the only country where you could air it.

Shocking stuff, showing just how one-dimensional and fame obsessed people can be. Mind you its hardly unique in those properties, here or in the UK.
Gary Ellis, UK living in US

This was great, great, great TV
This has got to qualify as one of the worse reality shows ever made! CBS, you started it off with Survivor, but this Cupid stuff is nonsense! To add insult to injury, the friends need to check their attitudes! Take the show off! !
Keith, USA

Well, I got a kick out of it. Seeing the hairdresser cut into these guys was pretty good; I bet she winds up with a show of her own. Lisa seemed to be the catch of the three, but I wonder what she is REALLY like when the camera is off (judging from her choice of friends). I guess time will tell.......
John, USA

Listen, I was actually the guy with long hair, you know the one everyone called Fabio. They edited me out but what of course they did not show was that I was picked and she shook my hand and said welcome to Cupid. After all the tests they put us through me and another guy refused to do the show when they called us back. However I must say the trip to Beverly Hills was nice. But I just thought I would throw my 2 cents in.
Marc Kancler, USA

This was great, great, great TV. I loved the planted actors who made fools of themselves and the other would-be contestants. BUT alas as soon as these three Ice Maidens pick the lucky/unlucky ten people, This show will sink faster then a Madonna movie.

Watched this show last night. Fell asleep! Tripe. Simon, stick to AI. American primetime TV is almost 100% reality TV and has been for about a year now. Can't they think of something a little more stimulating for an American audience.... maybe not!
Mike, USA

I might not watch this show again unless something is done about the women, especially Luara. She dresses like a tart and she acts so stupid, nasty and rude. Really, does Lisa need such desperate tactics and friends to find a husband? I would hate to admit I am that much of a loser that I have to insult people I don't know on TV to make myself feel better about my own characteristics. Definitely get rid of Laura or train her to be a decent human being or viewers will tune out and the show will fade out.
Lucia, USA

I found myself rather intrigued by this show. Lisa's friends are heartless when they should be (I can't believe the gall of some of these would-be dates - these guys are losers and the girlfriends are only verbalising what any self-respecting woman would ordinarily only think), and kind when it is warranted. I think they made some good choices, based on sound reasoning (given the 30 second time frame!) The indignant attitude of many of the rejects is the funniest thing to watch!
M. O'Connor, USA

aw the show last night and I was disgusted! It is tasteless and brash. The so-called friends seem desperate to prove a point at any cost.

There really is no need for them to be so insulting and rude. Cowell can get away with it because he has already made a name for himself as being a crass, insenitive brute, plus the accent goes a long way.

Wonder what would happen if the mirror was turned on the friends? The bleached blond and the sappy red-head? The prize is not so good herself. I would love to see one of the chosen men decided to give up the opportunity after meeting the main prize and her co-horts.

Well what a blow to feminism and the idea that women were equal. How does this woman come off having a ntework set up a million dollar dowry to get her a man? Pathetic. But then that's showbiz a la America - sad but great fodder for the unfulfilled lives in the mighty USA. Sad.
Sharon Williams, St. Lucia, West Indies

honestly thought it was the worst reality show I have ever seen. The prize - to marry her??? If the "winner" is smart he'll cash the check and file for divorce. They are all mean-spirited women. Genuine nastiness is not attractive nor is entertainment. GET THE SHOW OFF THE AIR!!!!!

This is one of the worse reality shows that I have seen in a long time. The friends were downright rude and aggresive and if they were trying to emulate Simon Cowell they failed miserably. Simon Cowell, although the producer of this programme, may be regretting his appearance on the show.
Geraldine Roddie, USA

Absolute dross!! I loved American Idol 2 but this was painful. I preferred to go outside and be eaten by mosquitos.
Carole Marsh, Canada

Are Kimberly and Laura really Lisa's "close friends" or do they just want their 15 minutes of fame? The hair dresser is so desperate for attention that she wears sleazy outfits and hogs the camera by acting obnoxious towards these guys. Cupid is an attempt to make her a celebrity and Lisa, who looks a lot like Marie Osmond, is just going along for the ride.
Tina, USA

Back to top

Cowell offers prince pop career
08 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Pop judge gets Simpsons slot
30 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
American Idol: Your views
16 Jun 02  |  Entertainment
Playing Cupid with sex symbol Cowell
09 Jul 03  |  Entertainment

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