Simon Cowell, the British judge whose scathing comments about the performers on the talent show American Idol have made him a pop culture icon, is putting his own talents up to be judged with his new show Cupid.
Cowell, who has just signed on for another three years with American Idol, originated the concept for Cupid, the latest in a stream of reality shows revolving around dating. It begins this week on US television and Cowell, as well as being an executive producer, appears in it every week as the host and narrator.
Cupid revolves around a 25-year-old woman who, with her two best friends, goes on a nationwide search for the perfect mate. They audition potential suitors who will have 30 seconds to impress the trio. After the friends narrow down the field the viewers will play cupid as they vote to eliminate the men until the perfect mate remains.
“I wanted to make it real,” Cowell tells the Los Angeles Times. “This is not going to be a sweet fairytale. There’s a bite to it. Dating is cruel. These other dating shows don’t have the humiliation factor. They’re like romantic soap operas with roses and all this ghastly soft focus.
“There’s not an ounce of true reality. Anyone who says the dating process isn’t cruelty doesn’t know what planet they’re on.”
Cowell professes to be unconcerned about ratings or criticism: “I’m quite sure that this show will work,” he said. “There might be harsh criticism, but if it’s deserved, then there should be.
"It doesn’t matter, though. I see it as the critics being on one side and the audience on the other side, and I believe the audience will respond to this.”