Nor has Davina, who remains contracted for another three months to the show's producers, been a turn off for wannabe stars, with more than 10,000 applying to audition for the show, with a national casting tour kicking off in May to see who will make the next series, due to go into production in September.

Last month MAFS's executive producer, Tara McWilliams, denied claims Davina was paid to have an affair with Dean on the show.

“They came to us and told us there was an attraction, we purely followed it,” McWilliams assured reporters, also confirming them all participants were real people rather than actors.

However two decades since Big Brother first introduced the reality television genre, exactly what counts as "real" when it comes to the people going on these shows is open to interpretation.

"You don't paint a picture with one colour, so we do need to have characters of all different shades to create a compelling narrative," explains casting agent Graeme de Vallance, who has been working in the "reality television" sphere for more than a decade.

"I look for two things: authenticity and warmth. And if that person is polarising, they have to be authentic about it … something that engages with the audience."

De Vallance and his company Cast Of Thousands is currently casting a new dating show for Channel Ten called Blind Date, trawling social media for likely candidates.

He, along with just about every other television executive, is on the hunt for the next Davina.

In 2018, thanks to shows like MAFS and the never-ending Bachelor franchise, dating and romance reality television has conquered the previous genres of cooking and renovating shows as the golden formula for commercial television.

And boy have they proliferated, not only do we have The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Married At First Sight and Blind Date coming up, but there will also be another series of Date Night, the new local version of Love Island (which is all about "hot" singles cavorting about on an island with each other — revolutionary no?) and Nine's The Last Resort (though it was a big ratings dud and the jury is out if it will see the light of day again).

Even the grand-daddy of them all, Farmer Wants A Wife, has spun-off versions around the world, the latest in Belgium, with a crew recently filming potential farmers in outback NSW.

Magician and would be television god Apollo Jackson.

Photo: Channel 10

Not that the quest for stardom is all that it is cracked up to be.

In the last season of The Bachelorette, Sophie Monk was smitten with a hunky young magician named Apollo Jackson, who was tipped to be the next big thing on the showbiz radar.

Last week PS was offered an exclusive interview with Apollo about his new big gig: becoming the face of a menswear store that specialises in plus size fashions.

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Andrew Hornery

Senior journalist Andrew Hornery is the man behind The Sydney Morning Herald's Private Sydney column, keeping tabs on everyone from socialites to social climbers. If they are worth knowing about, you can bet they are on the PS radar.

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