NEW YORK – The king of the dating shows, Blind Date, is opening up its private collection.
As hot as the show seems to its fans — and there are millions — it turns out that much of what goes on during the videotaped dates never makes it onto the air — for obvious reasons.
"That's the great part of this," says host Roger Lodge. "The level of inappropriateness on this show never ceases to amaze me."
In fact, Lodge says he doesn't even watch the raw footage of the show when producers are putting it together.
"As far as what takes place out there and how wild and crazy it gets, I always try to keep myself somewhat removed from that — and try to bring it back to a sense of normalcy," he says.
"When people are at home thinking, 'My god, what is she or he doing?' I'm thinking the same thing. I'm watching these dates along with everybody else.
"And I'm just as amazed as the people at home when it gets out of hand."
Take Jeremy, who's put in two appearances on Blind Date so far. He's stripped naked each time in an effort to either impress or scare off his date.
"He knew the date was going downhill and he knew he didn't have a shot," Lodge says. "Now we have a naked man on the show in a last-ditch attempt to get this girl's phone number — he thought it would be funny or whatever and I just sat there, I couldn't believe it," he says.
Apparently it worked. In the end, she broke down and gave him her number.
The show sets up two people who have never met on a date, and follows them around for about six hours. The date is then edited down to 61/2-minutes and adds in snarky pop-up comments on the screen.
Fans say that show's participants usually take about 20 seconds to show just how smug, egocentric, self-centered or materialistic they are.
And it makes for good TV — the show airs three times a day in New York on Ch. 9 and is the top-rated syndicated dating show in the U.S.
The urge to show off for the cameras however, has led to some behavior that had to be left on the cutting room floor.
There's one instance of naked, hot-oil wrestling and one couple who couldn't wait to get home — and decided to have sex in the back seat of the cab.
(The show's producers are planning an uncensored video of the some the show's low-comedy, hijinx moments.)
Or take the girl whose date talked her into participating in his "art."
"He claimed to be this great French artist and convinced her to take her clothes off and he painted her whole body and then she got onto the canvas and pressed her body against it," says Blind Date co-executive producer David Garfinkle.
Of course there's the couple who, after a few drinks, got frisky in the back of the official Blind Date van — "they just started going at it and didn't stop," Garfinkle says.
"I don't think there's ever been a date that we've shot and it hasn't made it on the air," says Lodge. "We have hours of footage that we couldn't air, but the date made it on the air."
To be fair, most dates end up as G-rated affairs.
They have even introduced a couple that eventually got married to each other, and another episode sparked an engagement.
"We've done 1,200 dates," Lodge says. "In L.A. that's not bad odds."