TV Viewers Play Mean-Spirited 'Cupid'

08/29/2003 at 01:07 PM EDT

In a nasty reality twist, it appears that viewers of the reality dating show "Cupid" are conspiring to torture the show's star by ousting the contestants who appeal to her and keeping the suitor she dislikes most, reports the New York Post.

Simon Cowell, "Cupid's" executive producer, says he approves of this unexpected turn of events. "Reality TV should be cruel," the famously snarky Cowell, who also serves as an outspoken judge on "American Idol," told the Post. "Life is cruel."

Lisa Shannon, 25, stars on the reality series, in which her two best friends initially narrowed a field of bachelors. Now viewers are voting to eliminate others until there is only one. The final suitor has the option of proposing to Shannon. If she accepts and stays married for one year, the couple will collect a $1 million prize.

However, viewers chatting via the Internet seem to have an active campaign to promote Robert Amstetler, a fitness model from Los Angeles, whom Shannon appears to actively dislike, reports the Post. "Let's make her wish she was still the obscure nobody that she should've always been! Vote for Robert!!!!" a fan posting on the site says, reports the Post. This week, Shannon appealed directly to the audience for help.

Cowell told the Post that he's not surprised by the turn of events. "I think what tends to happen is that after a while, once they (the contestants) get used to the camera, you start seeing more and more of their true personality, and when it happens it does lead to a bit of cruelty," he said.

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