Ahead of Married At First Sight‘s first-season finale, FYI has renewed the social experiment docu-reality series for an 11-episode second season to air in 2015. The show, in which three couples agree to get married the moment they first see their mate, chosen by a team of experts, was the first original unscripted series to debut on FYI, A+E Networks‘ new lifetime network that replaced Bio. It became a breakout, with the most recent fifth episode averaging 661,000 total viewers and 429,000 adults 18-49, a growth of 188% in 18-49 and 145% in viewers from the premiere.
Based on a Danish format, Married At First Sight was pitched by Kinetic Content to a number of networks, with several interested. FYI, under new head Jana Bennett, who previously led TLC, was the most aggressive and the only one to offer a straight-to-series order. The project was set up there, but as cuts started to come in, other A+E networks started buzzing about the show, with talk about possibly airing it on one of the company’s more established channels. In the end, I hear A+E topper Nancy Dubuc made the call to keep the project at the network that had been the most passionate about it. The bet paid off, with Married At First Sight becoming a breakout hit and putting the rebranded FYI on the map.