By Lori Bizzoco

When it comes to the topic of love, ABC’s The Bachelor, MTV’s Disaster Date, and Shot of Love with Tila Tequila certainly have that in common.  But, finding your amore isn’t the only thing that bonds these shows together.  They’ve also had the fortune of being produced by SallyAnn Salsano, a 37-year-old, fist-pumping dynamo, who is best known for creating the pop culture phenomenon, Jersey Shore.

SallyAnn’s newest reality television endeavor, Love Handles airs on Lifetime Television this weekend.  The show is an hour-long docu-series featuring a dual transformation of overweight couples as they attempt to save their lives and relationships by confronting what lies at the core of the emotional, dietary and physical issues deeply affecting their well-being.  Think Biggest Loser meets Dr. Phil. Whether it’s a couple who gained weight together and are trying to get the spice back in their love life, or the woman who feels overly self-conscious because her man is thinner than her.

We had the chance to catch up with SallyAnn and she gave us the scoop on what we can expect to see this season:

What can you tell us about Love Handles? What makes the show different from other shows of its type?

It’s about couples who feel like they’re stuck, and we show their transformation.  I mean, you have to go to work, raise your kids, go to the gym, cook for yourself, and deal with your life. That’s the situation most people are in when they have to lose weight. Some people are granted the opportunity to shut down their life and dedicate themselves to losing weight, but in Love Handles people have to fend for themselves and just do it.

The other thing about Love Handles is that it’s not just about losing the weight. It’s a show about therapy, and what’s really going on inside. It gives you a rare look at couples that are in complete, raw therapy sessions.  For most of these people, they have never been to individual therapy, so forget about couple’s therapy. For the first time, they talk about what’s bothering them, not only about themselves, but about the person they love the most.  So sometimes they’re just like, ”Well, I don’t know if I love this guy. I don’t know if I could see myself with him.”  You should see their partner’s reactions; it looks like their eyeballs pop right out of their heads because it’s the first time they’ve ever heard that.

What are the relationships like on the show?  Is everyone married?

They’re all in different stages. Some of them are in a relationship, but will not get married until they lose weight.  Others won’t get married to their partner because they don’t want a fat bride or groom.  Some of the contestants are engaged, but can’t buy the wedding dress because they‘re overweight.  There are also newlyweds who are in the first year of marriage and gained 80 pounds.  Some couples have been married for ten years and gained hundreds of pounds along the way and lost the intimacy they once had with each other.  Every couple has their own unique story. Or, it could be that he’s skinny and she’s fat -it’s all stuff everyone deals with and it’s not only women who are self-conscious about their weight, it is men too.  So you put that together – two people who are not feeling good about themselves – and the word toxic doesn’t even do it justice.  They’re in a position where they don’t even love themselves.  They need to figure out what’s going on inside before they can figure out if they want to be with this other person.

How does Love Handles parallel your own life?

Well, I’m 37, in a relationship, and I’m really happy.  But, I was in a previous relationship for seven years. We had a great time, a great house, and all the bullshit. He loved me, I loved him. But, I just wasn’t happy.  I was so overweight, and I think that I blamed my unhappiness on anything but that.  It wasn’t until I got my stuff together and lost the weight that I realized I had to move on.  I threw out everything I owned and gutted my house.  I did a drastic, crazy person clean out, and started over.  I’ve never been happier.  I won’t say that the relationship was bad, because it wasn’t bad at all. It was really me and that’s kind of where Love Handles came from.

I think a lot of girls want to get married and have a family.  And, they’re looking for one guy who says yes. It doesn’t even have to be the right person. For me, it’s not the first person you find to say, “yes.”  It’s the person you want to grow old with, rich or poor, the person you want next to you.

What is it about love that makes these shows so popular?

Well, I think everyone is on the endless search for love.  I think even if you find someone, and you get married, you’re always wondering if this is the greatest love of your life.  Is this what love is supposed to feel like?  I think it’s all anyone ever wants. Everyone equates love with happiness.  Every girl, every guy, every adult, even if you’re married or single, it doesn’t matter.  You watch these shows, and you fantasize right along with them.  Everyone wants a fairy tale.

Before we go, we need to ask some Jersey Shore “LOVE” questions! First, will we see a good love story in Italy?

Well, there are people falling in and out of love in Italy.  I would say that it’s hot and cold in that house.  I love this season.  Every season I do the same thing. I come back, and I’m like, “What if nothing happens? What if nothing goes on?”  Let me tell you something.  I got all the way to Italy, and I was like, “Are you guys kidding me?”  I was sitting there and would not leave the control room for 20 hours a day.  That’s when you know it’s good. This particular season is interesting, because they were away.  They didn’t have all the comforts of home, and all the interactions with their friends and family that they usually do, so there was a bit more conflict than you’ve seen before.

What’s the status of Sammi and Ronnie this season?  Can you give us a little hint?

Well, the status depends on what episode (chuckle)!  You’re going to see a little bit of the Sammi and Ron you knew before, and then the Sammi and Ron who takes a turn.  It’s really interesting.  I think they finally come into their own.  Sometimes, I think you grow up when you’re apart.

Whether it is the crazy, fist-pumping nights out at Karma, the quacking duck phone or Snooki’s ridiculous antics that have you hooked, everyone loves to watch the drama.  Jersey Shore Season 4 will premiere August 4th t at 10pm ET/PT on MTV.

And, don’t forget to tune into Love Handles on Lifetime Television August 6th at 7pm and August 7th at 3PM &4PM.

Cupid’s Pulse sends a thankful fist-pump to Sally Ann for taking the time to talk with us.