Some 36 years after audiences bid farewell to The Love Boat, the series is making a return to television. However, it will look a lot different from what fans remember, with the reboot serving as an unscripted reality dating show.
American television channel CBS and its Australian counterpart, Network 10, have each ordered their own reboots of the series, which are scheduled to premiere in late 2022. While taking on a new direction, the shows will be modeled after the original and will see the return of Princess Cruises as the primary cruise operator.
“The Love Boat is a timeless, romantic concept with universal appeal, and we’re excited to reimagine this popular series for audiences in two different countries,” said George Cheeks, president and chief executive officer of CBS and the head of global content strategy for Paramount’s free-to-air networks.
“On the heels of NCIS: Sydney, today’s announcement is another example of our global franchise strategy to use our rich intellectual property and vast international footprint to develop new content for viewers around the world.”
Adding to the comment, Mitch Graham, senior vice president of alternative programming for CBS, said, “Audiences really connected with the fun and escapism of The Love Boat. The iconic series embodied the many possibilities of people making new, meaningful connections. Reimagining it as a dating show with competition, adventure and romances makes The Real Love Boat an ideal fit for our schedule and viewers.”
According to the show’s tagline, “The Real Love Boat brings singles together to cruise the Mediterranean on a luxury cruise ship while looking for love. Destination dates, challenges and surprise singles will test the couples’ compatibility and chemistry. Like the beloved original scripted series, the indispensable crew members including ‘captain’ and ‘cruise director’ will play pivotal roles in the matchmaking and navigation of the romantic (and sometimes turbulent) waters ahead.”
Contestants will spend a month at sea, with only one couple making it to the final port, where they’ll be awarded a cash prize and a trip courtesy of Princess Cruises. Eureka Productions is producing the show, in association with Buster Productions. Paul Franklin, Chris Culvenor and Wes Dening will serve as executive producers.
The original series of The Love Boat aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986, and was executively produced by Aaron Spelling. Each episode featured a main cast of regulars, as well as different groups looking for love aboard the MS Pacific Princess. Following the end of the series, a reunion movie was made in 1990 – The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage – and a reboot series on UPN in 1998-99, titled Love Boat: The Next Wave.