Ever wanted to ask Taye Diggs to dinner? Now could be your chance. On The Celebrity Dating Game — a retooling of The Dating Game, a matchup show that first aired in the 1960s — three singles try to win over stars, including Diggs, Modern Family’s Nolan Gould, and Hannah Brown from The Bachelorette. Overseeing the flirtatious affair: Grammy-winning singer Michael Bolton and his cohost, actress Zooey Deschanel (New Girl).
To get to know their potential dates, who are hidden behind a partition, the stars ask questions: “If you were in a beauty pageant, what would your talent be?” or “Name a fun, romantic activity we could do together at home.” Bolton, meanwhile, gives hints about the celeb’s identity by singing his songs (and other artists’ hits) with altered lyrics! Here, he clues us in some more.
You must have a good sense of humor to parody your songs.
Michael Bolton: My manager and I had been pitching shows since the Jack Sparrow [music video] viral experience [on Saturday Night Live], which was ginormous. When this show came along, I thought, “How can I have fun with it?” The thing is, [the song] has to be funny. If it’s not, I go back and say, “I’m not feeling this one.”
Can you give an example of one of the lyrics that you’ve tweaked?
In the case of [Alabama native] Hannah Brown, I used part of the song “I Found Someone,” which I had written for Cher. “I found someone…she’s from Tuscaloosa…”
How is your dynamic with Zooey?
In a lot of ways, she’s doing the heavy lifting on the hosting, while I’m singing and chiming in on the dialogue. She’s got a lot of responsibility, but she handles it all so seemingly effortlessly. She lights up the stage.
The celebrities and contestants don’t see each other during questioning. Does that make for some interesting choices in the end?
Yes. Sometimes, a celebrity picks somebody and I’m like, “Ahhh…maybe they didn’t hear that last answer well enough?”
The Dating Game, Series Premiere, Monday, June 14, 10/9c, ABC