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Love Is Blind's Nick and Vanessa Lachey fail to meet the "Chris Harrison Line" criteria for reality TV hosts

  • The married couple co-hosts Netflix's newest dating reality show, premiering today. But the Lacheys don't do much to qualify as actual reality hosts, says Kathryn VanArendonk. "It’s time to draw a line in the sand, a line that measures the bare minimum someone must do to function as the host of a reality show," she says. "Let’s call it the Chris Harrison Line. And let’s also agree that Nick and Vanessa Lachey absolutely do not qualify. Reality show hosts have a variety of accepted roles, and whether or not you cross the Chris Harrison Line depends on whether you meet the needs of your specific reality subgenre. On some shows, the host participates significantly throughout the process: Survivor’s Jeff Probst, for instance, or Padma Lakshmi on Top Chef. In a competition reality show, the host often acts as a judge, or at least participates in the judging conversations. Some hosts might also act as a bridge between the contestants and the judges, like Ryan Seacrest does in every reality show he has ever hosted. And on reality shows where competition doesn’t involve a judges’ panel — shows like Love Island, Love Is Blind, or Netflix’s other recent reality series The Circle — a host often holds an important third-person narrator role, contextualizing or commenting on the action." VanArendonk adds: "Now, let’s look at Nick and Vanessa Lachey on Love Is Blind. At first they seem like hosts. They stand in front of the assembled contestants and explain what’s about to happen. They greet the contestants. Sometimes, very rarely, they’ll even say a contestant’s name. That opening sequence in the first episode, though, where Nick and Vanessa walk out and gravely intone the important purpose of this experiment? That’s the high-water mark of their hosting duties. At no point do they demonstrate knowledge of, or interest in, any specific detail about the contestants or the show. They do not deviate from their scripts. They do not express emotion."

    TOPICS: Love Is Blind, Netflix, Chris Harrison, Nick Lachey, Vanessa Lachey, Reality TV