Television

Harlequin goes the reality way with 'Mr Romance'

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MUMBAI: Leading publishers Harlequin have found the next 'Mr Romance' to grace the covers of its books. Harlequin has teamed up with Oxygen to find the most romantic man in America on the popular reality show Mr. Romance.

Throughout the series, romancers-in- training entered a veritable "romance boot camp" and competed in front of a panel of celebrity judges/guests and romance professionals, including Fabio, Gene Simmons, Fred Willard and TV personality Tina Malave.

Randy Ritchwood, a truck driver from East Orange, NJ known for his street smarts and big heart, out-charmed the other contests and emerged as Mr. Romance. Andrew Larson, originally from Portland, Ore., a devoted outdoorsman and Alaskan Charter Boat Captain, won the Oxygen Viewers' Choice contest, with over 45,000 fans voting on Oxygen.com.

Both winners were photographed by professional book cover photographer, Michael Alberstat for future Harlequin covers. Ritchwood will grace the cover of The Long Hot Summer by Rochelle Alers (December 2005) as well as an upcoming title from Harlequin's soon-to-be-launched African-American line in July 2006. Larson, on the other hand, will be featured on the cover of a historical romance Midnight Marriage by Victoria Bylin (January 2006).

"I'm honored to be the modern face of romance. I'm certain that being on the cover of a Harlequin romance will change both my professional and love life," said Ritchwood.

"Harlequin covers have evolved considerably and today's covers reflect what our readers want -- a more realistic, edgy and modern image of romance. Harlequin has pushed the boundaries of women's fiction and now provides books for all moods including mystery, fantasy, chic-lit, Christian lines and a new line coming this summer for the women in the next stage of their lives," said Mr. Romance judge and Harlequin creative art director Deb Peterson.

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