When you search Married at First Sight on Google, not only does the U.S. version pop up but so do results for the Australian version of the show. That's because both MAFS series are extremely popular in their respective countries. And now, some fans are curious about what the difference is between the U.S. and Australian versions of MAFS.
Both shows have the same concept. They're about individuals at the mercy of a panel of experts who match them with strangers to get married. And on both shows, these strangers go through with their ceremonies without ever having met in person beforehand. But there are some differences that we can't ignore.
What's the difference between 'Married at First Sight' in Australia and in the U.S.?
The U.S. version of MAFS premiered in 2014, and the Australian MAFS premiered the following year. But the international version didn't totally copy the original series. In fact, there are a few key things that separate the U.S. MAFS from the Australian one. Not only do they each take place in different countries, but there are rules and standards that set them apart.
For starters, there are different experts and matchmakers in each show. The U.S. MAFS stars Pastor Cal Roberson, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, and Dr. Viviana Coles as the experts in charge. The Australian MAFS experts are John Aiken, Mel Schilling, and Alessandra Rampolla. And the latter show has featured same-sex couples and individuals with children.
The U.S. version of MAFS has yet to focus on same-sex couples. And you never see participants who have children. Chris Coelen, the CEO of Kinetic Content, which produces the U.S. version of MAFS, addressed the lack of same-sex couples in an interview with TheWrap.
"It's a casting thing," he explained. "We'd love to but it's very difficult. … Because we have to put all the women and all the men in the same room in workshops [during the casting process], there is a chance they could see each other [before meeting at the altar]. If we could figure out logistically how [to] do it, we'd love to do it."
Another huge difference between the shows is that the weddings on the Australian MAFS aren't legally binding. On the U.S. show, the marriages are legit and the participants sign paperwork to make it official. On the Australian version, however, that's not the case. A representative for the show told Now to Love that the stars on that show have commitment ceremonies in order to comply with marriage laws in the country.
How can you watch the Australian 'MAFS'?
Regardless of which version you watched first, both MAFS shows are rife with drama from the start. The U.S. version airs on Lifetime and there are older seasons on Prime Video. The Australian version airs on Channel 9 In Australia and full seasons are available on the 9Now app. You can also find episodes on YouTube.
Watch Married at First Sight on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on Lifetime.