GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – If you come from a farm family and see the promos for “Farmer wants a Wife,” called the newest “dating” show in America – but not the world, we now know – you may have questions.
First of all, are these “farmers” or “ranchers”? A farmer grows things. A rancher raises things. Sometimes they cross purposes. Which begs the question: Should this show be called “Agricultural Contractor wants a Wife?”
And if you examine the four men who will be part of this new reality series, which debuts at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Fox affiliates (including WGHP-Ch. 8), you see how they cross purposes. Some call themselves ranchers. Some are horse breeders. Some are farmers. Some say both. All are interested in finding a spouse.
That would include one man from North Carolina. Ranch-owner Ryan Black, 32, a native of Shelby and resident of Gastonia, is one of the four contestants, joining men from Tennessee, Georgia and Oklahoma to engage with eight “city women” who are interested in rural romance. That’s eight women apiece.
If you think this is quirky and unique, please note that it’s just another idea that has migrated to America, sort of like how “The Office” was adapted from a British sitcom.
“Farmer Wants a Wife” is evolving from what is called by promoters “the most successful dating show in the world,” a program that began in Australia and has been aired in 32 countries. The Australian title is only marginally different, adding “The” for “The Farmer Wants a Wife.” Oh, and it claims to have led to 180 marriages and 410 children by last count.
The trailer for the program shows predictable scenarios – think lush pastures, animal wrangling, poop scooping, dirt rolling, hay handling and lots of sweat – and mirrors the introductions and interactions you see on any find-a-romance show.
Everyone is photogenic, of course. The women are mostly in their 20s. They dress up in gowns and cocktail attire or down to cutoff shorts. The men all wear cowboy hats and caps.
Yes, there are kisses. If anything else goes on behind the barn, that’s not previewed.
For 11 episodes, guided by their host, singer/actor Jennifer Nettles, the four farmers/ranchers will comingle with their groups of eight until they see if the seeds of love take root. That concept blossomed into a few questions for us. You may have more.
Who is Ryan Black?
He has a 44-acre ranch, where he breeds and trains horses. He was educated at UNC-Charlotte, and he is the only African-American among the four men. His bio says he enjoys both training and competing with his horses. He also “loves to build and design houses.” Wonder if he specializes in “ranch-style” design.
Who are “his” eight women?
There are no last names provided for the eight listed with Black – or for any of the women – but by design they all come from cities. Each was matched to Black by producers. We don’t know if they ever have handled a hoe, saddled a steed, traversed a tractor or even visited North Carolina (although they will). Here is what we know about them:
- Brittany, 33, is a blogger from Sacramento, California.
- Haley R., 28, is a recruiter from New York City.
- Lily,24, is a psychology student in Miami.
- McKenzie, 29, is an interior designer from Phoenix.
- Porschia, 29, is an accounting assistant from Las Colinas, Texas.
- Sara V., 27, is a bartender from Dallas.
- Sarah I., 27, works in communications for a global charity in Brooklyn, New York.
- Shartaysia, 29, is a mental help therapist from Los Angeles.
Who are the other contestants?
First, they all are in their early 30s and, yes, wear those cowboy hats. Each is described as “hard-working.” Allen Foster, 32, has a 200-acre ranch in Santa Fe, Tennessee (just south of Nashville). Landon Heaton, 35, is both a cattle rancher and farmer in Stillwater, Oklahoma (home of Oklahoma State University). Hunter Grayson, 31, is a cattle and horse rancher from Watkinsville, Georgia (just south of Athens).
Are any of the other women from North Carolina?
The 32 women include some southerners who likely live fairly close to farmland – think Kennesaw and Cataula in Georgia or Midland, Texas – but nary anyone is from either Carolina. Among the 32 there are six contestants from Texas and five from California, which are both pretty big agricultural states. When you look at cities, there are three each from Nashville, Dallas, Phoenix/Scottsdale and the New York/Manhattan/Brooklyn triumvirate. Miami and Orlando claim two each.
How does the competition work?
Each of the farmers hosts the eight women with a goal of him and one of the hers selecting each other. The city slickers get to see what life on a farm really is like, the producers say. At the end of the first episode, each farmer chooses five out of the eight to go back to the ranch with him. Producers say this is “more about connection over competition.” The five remain as long as they feel connected to their farmer. But when that wanes or one person gets closer to the farmer, some of the women will go home.
Where did they shoot?
Episodes were shot in various locations, including Texas, Florida and South Carolina. Eventually, the women visit their designated farmer’s acreage. Although all 32 women gather for the pilot, there are no elimination ceremonies like you may have seen on “The Bachelor” or a similar show. And the groups are matched specifically to the farmer.