Bravo's resident cupid, Patti Stanger, has been helping millionaires find love for six seasons. On Tuesday's episode of Millionaire Matchmaker (10/9c), she gets a visit from Denise Richards, but she's not looking for love — she wants to play matchmaker for her dear old dad, Irv Richards. We got in touch with Stanger, who spills her secrets on senior citizens, celebrities and what's to come this season.
TV Guide Magazine: Did Denise approach you about her dad, Irv?
Patti Stanger: [Denise] tweeted or called me, and she said, 'Would you fix my dad's match.com profile?' I said, 'I'll take you further — how about bring him on the show?' [Irv] is a widower and I think he's been grieving. I wanted to kill two birds with one stone — I've always wanted to do the widower story, and I've always wanted to help the seniors. The television studios and networks are so jaded on the 18-49 demo, they forget we're living a lot longer. I really wanted a good-looking senior, and you couldn't have picked a better person than Irv. He's stunningly handsome, he dresses amazing. He's the best-kept secret and catch.
TV Guide Magazine: Was Irv nervous on-set or does he take after his famous daughter and ham it up for the camera?
Stanger: Actually, he was the star. Denise was a little bit more subdued, reserved and a little bit more skeptical, which is what I wanted coming from a daughter. He had the life of the party. You turned that camera on, and that man just jumped off the screen — we were shocked. We thought he was going to be shy and introverted. He was completely the opposite. I'm telling you he'll have his own show soon. Trust me.
TV Guide Magazine: How is the crop of senior citizen ladies that you picked for Irv to date?
Stanger: It was not easy finding attractive senior women to show up. I know they exist, but they're terrified of their own shadow so we were very lucky to have a really good casting company that worked with us.
TV Guide Magazine: Besides Irv, will there be more senior citizens throughout the season?
Stanger: I want Joan Rivers and Betty White on the same night. That's my fantasy wish. I love both those women and think those two would be phenomenal. It would be like sitting down with the Golden Girls. I know Joan went on match.com. I will invite Melissa Rivers on, I will invite Betty's family on, I would love to get Sandra Bullock on to say 'yes' or 'no' because they're so close. I would let them have their piece.
TV Guide Magazine: So what celebs will you have looking for love this season?
Stanger: We have John Salley coming on for Mitch Berger, who is stunningly handsome. He has a very happy ending with his story, and got one of the hottest girls of the season and she is drop-dead gorgeous. Every year, we have an NFL player because I'm an addict. They are my favorite people, better than the NBA. John Salley comes out as Mitch's expert because he was a bit of a player. We also have James Scott from Days of Our Lives doing a gentleman's makeover, and Allison Baver, the Olympic speed skater. She was the one that dated Apolo Ohno for four years so she has a heavy story line. I am obsessed with bringing on celebrities because I know how hard it is to date in the fish bowl.
TV Guide Magazine: Who is your dream celebrity to have on the show?
Stanger: The Kardashians. Kris, Kim and I could sit down and pick a real good woman for Rob. I know Rob and his ticker is totally off. He's got to stop wallowing in self-pity. He's a hot guy with money in the bank, with a mother that is phenomenal. We could so do this as a team. Also, Kirstie Alley tweeted out to me that she wanted to come on, and I'm praying that we get her.
TV Guide Magazine: Besides recruiting the older crowd, what else is new this season?
Stanger: Lindsay Lohanand her mom approached me to come on the show, but the network was not great with that — I guess they had a bad experience on Million Dollar Decorators. But Dina, I've known forever, and Lindsay was like, 'Please, please please,' so I met with her. I felt guilty — and this is all because of Lindsay — so I do something special this season. I don't want to give it away, but the whole episode is a tribute to red heads. All the red heads cannot be mad at me anymore.
TV Guide Magazine: We see more of your personal life this season. Is that correct?
Stanger: You'll see my life for the first time. I look for my biological mother. We find my mother and we're looking for my father right now. We have not met my family yet, we're waiting on that. We have a dark road to go down. We went drama-driven this season.
TV Guide Magazine: How about your love life?
Stanger: I had to ask the question at the top of the season, 'Why am I single? Who am I to give advice if I'm single?' And I welcome it. We went through healers. We bring in everyone to help me. And when it got to my abandonment issue, we bring in a medium. With that being said, I make a decision the first week of the show that I'm going to find the love of my life and that's it — I find David two days after the show starts shooting, and you see the progression of my relationship.
TV Guide Magazine: Why do you think the show is so successful?
Stanger: I'm never saying I know everything — the more I know, the less I know. I'm always finding out the hidden truths in everything, and I will figure it out because I care. I don't think a lot of other matchmakers care. There are over 120 million single people in the United States and we're growing daily. Every day, the world is changing and we're going on our own path so sometimes, it doesn't work out with the guy or the girl you're with. So we're trying to say, 'Well, what's the secret? Is there an ever-after? I'm researching and developing. These people are real, we could not script this if we tried.
TV Guide Magazine: What do you think about other dating shows?
Stanger: The Bachelor was written for the money. It's a fun experiment. ABC did a fabulous job with it, but it gets old after a while.