The Korea Herald


‘Love Catcher,’ a complicated mind game between love and money

By Hong Dam-young

Published : July 9, 2018 - 14:55

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Money is often considered a counterpart of love for those weighing the two in the course of setting their life priorities or goals. Mnet’s new variety show “Love Catcher” brings the two together to create a complicated situation in which the program’s contestants struggle to find true romance.

“I came up with the program after having the thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could tell whether he/she dates me for money?’ said producer Jung Min-seok during a press conference for the program in Seoul on Monday.

The show follows the format of the highly successful show “Heart Signal,” which featured eight strangers -- four men and four women -- living together for a month in the same house under the watch of panelists, mostly love experts, who observed and commented on the developments of romantic relationships in the house in a separate studio. 

Panelists of Mnet’s upcoming reality show “Love Catcher” pose during a press conference in Seoul on Monday. (Mnet) Panelists of Mnet’s upcoming reality show “Love Catcher” pose during a press conference in Seoul on Monday. (Mnet)

Mnet’s new program, however, changes the format by dividing 10 participants into “love catchers,” who are out to find true love, and “money catchers,” who join the game with the goal of winning the prize of 50 million won ($44,600).

Love catchers should avoid money catchers when finding their partners. On the other hand, those going after the money can only win the prize by partnering with love catchers. If they end up with other money catchers, they are dropped from the game.

The participants will live together for eight days under one roof during the mission. TV personality Shin Dong-yup will be the main host and an observer, along with others, such as love expert Hong Suk-chun, comedian Jang Do-yeon, JR of NU’EST, Lady Jane and mystery author Jun Gun-woo. By using psychology and their own experiences of love, the eagle-eyed panelists will join viewers in picking up traces of possible romance and find out who the “money chasers” are.

With a recent flood of dating reality shows in Korea, such as “Cafe Amor,” “Love Naggers” and “Heart Signal,” there have been concerns over how “Love Catcher” will set itself apart from its predecessors.

Asked about differences between the show and “Heart Signal,” producer Jung stressed that at the core of “Love Catcher” is the sophisticated mind game among participants.

“I originally planned this program to have more focus on the ‘mind game,’ than romance. Contestants have different goals, love and money, and the prize money is offered. No dating reality show had a prize in it,” he said.

“The program is different in that the topic is love versus money,” Jang said, while Hong said, “Predicting the contestants’ relationship to continue in real life, that’s hard to tell since this show is different from other programs. The game of deduction that the show features will also appeal to viewers.”

“Love Catcher” will air starting at 11 p.m. Wednesday.