A History of China’s TV Matchmaking

It’s called “Heart Signal,” and — as the name suggests — the ordinary singletons with extraordinary looks must give only romantic signals to their crushes, not full-on confessions. Each night, the contestants — who include a sports car racer, a model, and an English teacher — must text each other anonymously in an attempt to woo the object of their affections.

The show is a Chinese spin-off of a popular South Korean show of the same name and premiered on tech giant Tencent’s video site at the end of August. Since then, the four episodes have sparked plenty of discussion online — especially about whether the show is scripted and what covert techniques the contestants use to express their love. The show has a 7.4 out of 10 rating on China’s popular reviewing site Douban, and millions have tuned in to watch each of the episodes.

You may think a show about beautiful young people gazing dreamily at each other sounds slow-paced — and you’d be right. It follows a similar formula to Japan’s “Terrace House” — a low-drama reality show with minimal intervention from producers that has gained a following in both Japan and the United States. The producers of “Heart Signal” keep viewers interested by arranging dates between possible lovebirds. There’s also a panel of presenters made up of entertainment celebrities and an expert on analyzing facial expressions, who play love detectives by trying to sift through the clues to figure out the contestants’ romantic intentions. Read the full article here.


– This is original content by Sixth Tone and has been republished with permission.