‘True Love Boat’: How it was turned into a reality dating show

Paolo Arrigo was giving the producers behind CBS “true love boatA tour of the Princess Cruises ship he oversaw when the creative team fell in love with the captain. Then they asked the princess if they could borrow Arrigo for a few weeks – which is how, in addition to being a real ship captain, he’s now playing on TV.

“We were exploring the ship and met Captain Paolo, who was the ship’s designated captain at the time,” executive producer Jay Binstock Tells diverse. “When we met him, we thought, ‘Wow, you’re so charming and interesting. We’d love for you to be on the show, rather than being the captain during filming. Then the princess kindly gave it to us.”

An exciting new love. CBS hopes to get aboard. They expect you. “love boatComing soon, but this time as ‘The Real Love Boat’ – a reality rivalry with the classic TV franchise. The show, which premieres Wednesday October 5, features real-life singles looking for love on a deck, along with a legit trio of gamers. Supporters, are there to assist in the matchmaking efforts of the players.

Your captain, Arrigo, who has been with Princess Cruises since 1996, eventually made his way to the ship’s captain. Ezra Freeman, your waiter, joined Princess in 2019. Matt Meacham, your cruise director, has held this job for 14 years (and apparently met his wife on a cruise in 2016).

“We didn’t want actors, we wanted people who did it for a living,” Benstock says. “A real ship captain, a real bartender, a real cruise director. Like the original series, these guys, in addition to doing their day jobs, their roles are to find singles and bring them together in the hope of confrontation.”

Adding more camp to the proceedings: married couple Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell not only host the show, but sing the iconic opening theme (made famous, of course, by singer Jack Jones).

“You can’t underestimate the nostalgia for ‘Love Boat,'” says Benstock. “Then add that lead song.” (Below, the opening song for ‘The Real Love Boat’ sung by Romain and O’Connell.)

“The Real Love Boat” made its debut when Eureka Productions — who coincidentally is also behind a new version of “The Mole,” which premiered this week on Netflix — began searching for a classic IP that might work as a dating show. (a genre that’s definitely seeing progress right now, thanks to blockbuster songs like “Love Is Blind”).

Eureka CEO says: “With The Love Boat, there has been a great brand, and what it would look like if we took it into the unscripted space. Chris Colvinor. “We worked closely with CBS, who were the rights holders for the show, as well as with Princess Cruises, who were involved with the original show. It was a long development process because all the stakeholders involved really wanted to set the tone and make sure we were building on this brand rather than exploiting it. in any way.”

Eureka, which is based in both the US and Australia, was also able to produce two versions of the show for two different regions (and for Paramount Global-owned outlets). Prior to filming the CBS series, Eureka produced a version for Australia Network 10.

“That was very valuable,” Colvinor says. “We effectively did one lap around the Mediterranean shooting the Network 10 version, and then we did another lap around the same lane to shoot the US version. By the time the CBS version came out, we had a finely tuned machine in terms of its production. There were things We did it on the Australian version and it worked really, really well, and obviously we’ve incorporated it into the CBS version. And so far in the post, there are things we might do on the US version that we look at and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s cool, we have to do This is for Network 10 version.”

Shows differ slightly in format – Network 10 will air several times a week, requiring more episodes versus CBS’ weekly release style, meaning the Australian version is a bit like a soap opera, while the US version focuses more on challenges. Both used much of the same production crew in Australia. (Below, Network 10’s trailer for their version, hosted by Darren McMullen, also features Arrigo as the lead.)

“Australians are rock stars,” says Benstock. “After making one trip around the Mediterranean, they’d say, ‘You know what, just as you leave, say, Santorini at about 7 p.m., the sun over part of Deck Nine is perfect. “

There was only one day for the makeover, as the Australian actors and producers left and the American team got on board, which Benstock called a “coordinated dance.”

Of course, the ’70s-era “Love Boat” was filmed on a sound stage that recreated the Princess Cruise. In this case, Eureka wanted to film “The Real Love Boat” on a real ship – and that took a logistical feat.

“It happened during the summer in the Mediterranean,” Colvinor says. “It was literally about spinning around a cruise in the diary and planning everything to get to that schedule, because that boat was on that cruise whether we were on it or not. It gave the preparation for the show some momentum, and a real focus on everyone.”

Racer Marty Hassett with Captain Paulo Arrigo. (Photo: Sarah Malley/CBS)


Bienstock says that meant filming “The Real Love Boat” where 3,200 paying customers were enjoying their vacations at the same time.

“How can we as a production, film our show in the middle of it all without affecting anyone’s experience on board? And that’s where the Princess crew has been invaluable,” notes Binstock. “When can we use Lido Deck? Feast deck. We want to use the basketball court. We want to use the club. We want to use multiple pools. To move around the ship, and it’s a floating city, you can’t run and do things, or you’ll get lost. We were shooting a realistic show in the middle of it all, And the clients embraced him.”

Colvinor adds: “When you’re shooting in a mansion or a villa, you generally have complete control over everything. But when you’re shooting at a ship, there’s a lot that is out of your control. There are some spaces that we’ve completely cordoned off for production. But there were others. We really shared it with the guests. We were obviously well aware that people were already on vacation. I feel like we’ve struck that balance really well.”

In some cases, vacationers have embraced the show so much that the show has developed “crew kits,” as passengers continue to appear in and around the production. But Bienstock and his team have embraced the “extras” background.

“The show gave a real sense of authenticity,” he says.

Ted Lang The True Love Boat

Ted Lang


The contestants were kept close to each other on the decks, with a production crew nearby in order to keep tabs on the tabs. Meanwhile, two familiar faces also appeared in season one: Ted Lange, the show’s original bartender, and Jill Whelan, who played Vicki Stubing, the captain’s daughter.

“It’s really fun when you see the imaginary world and the real worlds collide,” says Benstock. “Here Jill comes to meet Captain Paolo. Now you have a TV show version that reads the story of the captain’s daughter meeting the real-life Captain.”

Benstock said he’s reached out to a number of “Love Boat” stars, but dates have been difficult for most of the stars. “For these two, everything just happened in a row. We were thrilled to have them.”

But one of the staples of “Love Boat” that producers haven’t yet contacted is Charo. “In later seasons, we can have some fun with the people who appeared as guest stars on the original show,” Benstock says.

The series begins with 12 singles, ranging in age from 24 to 36, from across the country and Canada. They go on dates and compete in challenges to test their compatibility; As the show progresses and the boat stops at new ports, new personnel are added while others must return to shore. In the end, a couple will win a cash prize and another trip.

“The idea that love is around the corner, that the corner happens to be somewhere in the Mediterranean, is really intoxicating,” says Bienstock. “And you have a couple driving all of this.”

In fact, Romain and O’Connell were chosen based on the humor that was part of the original “Love Boat” (which, despite being an hour-long series, was considered comical enough that it used a laugh track).

“Jerry and Rebecca are fun by nature, and they have such a great dynamic that 15 years of marriage is clearly in the making,” Colvinor says. “And you see it happening. You can almost imagine some of the discussions that have to be had when they drive together or eat dinner together, because they are so honest and open.”

To prepare for “The Real Love Boat,” Culvenor and Bienstock are back and watching plenty of original series for inspiration.

“I watched a lot of them. Oh my gosh, I watched a ton,” says Benstock. “What struck me about the show I loved was its innocence. Nothing works hard. It’s a very natural, fun, free-flowing show.” Colvinor added: “I grew up in Australia, and the repetition of the show happened every afternoon when I came home from school. What I loved about this original movie was the adventure, the comedy, and the world it took you into. I felt strange. So this origin has probably been sitting in my subconscious mind for years.”

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