“The Love Boat” will be back soon and promises something for everyone – but this time as a reality dating series.
CBS and its sister Australian broadcaster Network 10 have both ordered local versions of “The Real Love Boat” to be aired in the US and Australia later this year. The show is exactly what it sounds like: A reality dating competition show, but patterned after the hit 1970s hour-long comedy “The Love Boat”.
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And just as Princess Cruises served as the backdrop for the scripted series, the cruise line’s ships will also serve as the setting for the new unmanuscript shows.
“The Love Boat” was produced by Aaron Spelling, whose company was later acquired by Viacom – which eventually led to “Love Boat” IP being owned by CBS Studios. CBS and Network 10 are now Paramount Global brands.
“‘The Love Boat’ is a timeless, romantic concept with universal appeal, and we’re excited to recreate this popular series for audiences in two different countries,” said George Cheeks, President and CEO of CBS, and Head of Global Content Strategy for Paramount’s free-to-air network (including Network 10), said in a statement. “On the heels of ‘NCIS: Sydney’, today’s announcement is yet another example of our global franchise strategy of using our rich intellectual property and large international footprints to develop new content for viewers around the world.”
Production of the pair of “The Real Love Boat” series begins this summer. According to the log line, ” The Real Love Boat ‘brings singles together to cross the Mediterranean on a luxury cruise ship while searching for love. Destination dates, challenges and surprise singles will test the couple’s compatibility and chemistry. Like the beloved original script series, the indispensable crew members, including ‘Captain’ and ‘Cruise Director’, will play key roles in matchmaking and navigation in the romantic (and sometimes turbulent) waters ahead. “
Participants will spend almost a month at sea, but only one winning pair will reach the final port and win a cash prize plus a trip thanks to Princess Cruises, which serves as the series’ exclusive cruise partner.
“The Love Boat ‘has been synonymous with the Princess brand for more than 45 years since the world was introduced to the glamor and elegance of the Princess experience,” said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises. “We look forward to millions coming aboard our iconic ships as we await you on ‘The Real Love Boat’.”
Eureka Productions produces “The Real Love Boat” in collaboration with Buster Productions. Chris Culvenor, Paul Franklin and Wes Dening serve as executive producers for Eureka.
“The Love Boat” was originally aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986, starring Gavin MacLeod as Captain Merrill Stubing, whose ship had a cast of regulars in addition to weekly guests who came aboard for Love, Exciting and New. A sequel, “Love Boat: The Next Wave”, starring Robert Urich, aired on UPN from 1998 to 1999.
The original “Love Boat” cast – including MacLeod, Fred Grandy (Gopher, lead purser), Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship’s doctor), Lauren Tewes (cruise director Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain’s daughter) reunited over the years for various events, including a celebration in 2015 for Princess Cruises’ 50th anniversary and in 2017 to receive a joint star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (MacLeod died last year.)
This is not the first time a series of scripts has been rethought as a reality show (and that does not even include CBS ‘infamous attempt in the early 2000s to broadcast “The Real Beverly Hillbillies”, which was scrapped after significant outcry). TBS ran “The Real Gilligan’s Island” in 2004-2005, for example. Also in 2004, VH1 had “In Search of the Partridge Family”, a competition to find a new generation of “Partridge Family” stars. ABC ran “High School Musical: Get in the Picture”, a competition show based on the “High School Musical” franchise, in 2008. In the early 2010s, Oxygen aired two seasons of “The Glee Project”, a competition series, where the winner would be cast on “Glee”. Recently, the Fox movie IPs raided this year for the competition show “The Real Dirty Dancing.”
CBS and Network 10 cast for their local versions of “The Real Love Boat.”
“The audience was really connected to the fun and escapism of ‘The Love Boat,'” said Mitch Graham, senior vice president of alternative programming at CBS. “The iconic series embodied the many opportunities for people to create new, meaningful connections. To re-imagine it as a dating show with competition, adventure and romance makes ‘The Real Love Boat’ an ideal fit for our program and viewers.”
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