“The Bachelor” franchise isn’t exactly known for its long-term success rates. Between the original show and it’s female-centric spin-off “The Bachelorette,” the programs have produced two marriages and two couples who are still together and reportedly engaged. However, an online spin-off for Mormon singles, aptly titled “The Mormon Bachelor,” claims that happy endings can result from reality television. So far, it's one for three.
Erin Elton, 32, and her then-roomate Aubrey Laidlaw, 30, created the web series after Laidlaw was rejected as a potential “Bachelor” cast member in 2010, the Daily Mailreported. Laidlaw also volunteered to be the first bachelorette on "The Mormon Bachelor" (she was 28 at the time), and after 30 dates with 22 suitors, she ended up choosing 30-year-old Matt Laidlaw. The couple were married on March 19th, 2011 and are still together.
Since Aubrey, two other singles have starred in Laidlaw and Elton’s series: Season 2 bachelor Buck Rick, who is no longer together with the woman he met during filming, and Season 3 bachelorette Ashley Chapman, who didn’t pair off with anyone when the show ended. Even so, Elton and Laidlaw decided to go ahead with a fourth season. After going through applicants from all over the country, they selected dental student Kent Tuttle, 27, to go on what Elton called the “journey to perfect love.”
“This is a perfect opportunity for me in my life … I’m excited to go out and meet these girls, to go on these dates, look for a connection and hopefully meet the one,” said Tuttle in a video posted on YouTube (click through below to watch). The Laidlaws will serve as Tuttle’s “Advisory Couple” throughout his (Bachelor buzzword alert!) journey. Thirteen women will vie for Tuttle’s affections. “A lot of the girls we’ve interviewed have been different,” Elton told Deseret News. “Some have served missions, some haven’t, others have very serious careers and so on.”
The idea of dating someone within your religious group isn’t new, of course. Faith-based online dating sites like Christian Mingle and JDate have become considerably popular, and though interfaith marriages are quite common, they’ve been shown to have slightly higher rates of divorce. HuffPost’s Senior Religion Editor, Paul Raushenbush wrote in February:
Ultimately, most people on religious dating sites are looking for the same thing as non-religious dating sites -– find someone whom they can love with their whole heart, mind and spirit and hope that having the same religion will increase the chances of success.
Elton and Laidlaw hope the same for the men and women who participate in their show. “Our main goal is just to help people find true love,” Elton told Deseret News.
Would you participate in a reality dating show? Does religion play a role in your dating life?
LOOK: Photos And A Video Promo For "The Mormon Bachelor"