‘The Real Love Boat’ Boss on New CBS Reality Dating Series: ‘It Brings Back the Feels!’ (Fall TV Preview)

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Reality dating is getting a classic twist this fall with the premiere of “The Real Love Boat,” which aims to bring nostalgia, fun and romance to CBS.

Premiering Wednesday, Oct. 5, “The Real Love Boat” takes inspiration from the classic late-1970s and 1980s-spanning show that combined comedy, drama and romance, as it brings together 10 singles – five women and five men (with additions coming on at various ports) – for an unforgettable Mediterranean cruise and a shot at love.

“It’s super, super fun and it brings back the feels as we always like to say as we’re watching it,” executive producer Jay Bienstock told TheWrap when we spoke to him about the new reality series for our Fall TV Preview.

Real life couple Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn, who are featured in the key art, which TheWrap can exclusively reveal below, serve as hosts of the show, and via their own romance, stand as #CoupleGoals for the singles looking for love.

“For the cast, you watch them; you watch them talk and interact and explain things and they give some anecdotes on their lives, and that’s who you look at and go, ‘I want that.’ You know, ‘I’m on ‘The Real Love Boat,’ I see Jerry and Rebecca; I want what they have.’ They are the prize in that regard. And that’s their role on the show,” the EP said. “And then, of course, they’re there for the moments where someone leaves the ship or they’re there in moments when there’s some sort of activity that the cast is doing. They’re there for all of it; they are the eyes and ears of the audience as you watch our cast search for love with one another.”

"The Real Love Boat" key art (CBS)
“The Real Love Boat” key art (CBS)

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Embarking on a cruise of the Mediterranean with the aim of finding love turned out to be a major lure for CBS when finding contestants for the adventure, which takes place on the Regal Princess Cruise Ship, on a real cruise with real passengers unconnected to the show.

“You have the ship, and you have the Mediterranean, and everything is so beautiful; everything is so intoxicating. I mean, strangers turn into lovers because of this environment that’s around them. What better adventure than to spend your summer on ‘The [Real] Love Boat,’ cruising the Mediterranean and looking for love, and therefore to find the right cast, actually, we had an embarrassment of riches,” Bienstock said. “We had so many people want to be part of this. We were so fortunate and so lucky and ended up with a really, really amazing cast of people that truly wanted to find love in the most exotic places of all.”

“The Real Love Boat” will have its own cast of characters – real life bartenders, cruise directors and a captain — who all consider matchmaking just part of their repertoire, but there will also be some special guests. CBS has already released images of “The Love Boat” alum Ted Lange, who played Isaac, and Jill Whelan, who played Vicky Stubing, who appear early on in the season.

Ted Lange of "The Love Boat" on "The Real Love Boat" (CBS)
Ted Lange of “The Love Boat” on “The Real Love Boat” (CBS)

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The show aims to have a broad appeal – viewers who were around for the original series, or reruns, and those who grew up on reality dating competitions — and it will make its Oct. 5 debut sandwiched between “Survivor” at 8 p.m. ET/PT and “The Amazing Race” at 10 p.m. ET/PT (both of which kick off their new seasons Sept. 21).

“The vote of confidence from CBS was so amazing,” Bienstock said. “We are so fortunate and so blessed to be in between two of the biggest reality franchises ever. We couldn’t be happier to be part of that.”

And for those wondering — yes, the theme to “The Real Love Boat” is part of the show.

“What’s amazing about ‘The Love Boat’ theme is that you can sing it 100,000 times and it never gets old. It always puts a spring in your step. It always makes you smile,” he said. “And what we want to do with ‘The Real Love Boat’ is make you smile. So I can tell you that the theme will be there front and center.”

Jill Whelan of "The Love Boat" on "The Real Love Boat" (CBS)
Jill Whelan of “The Love Boat” on “The Real Love Boat” (CBS)