Welcome back aboard! Fans of the classic show, The Love Boat, were thrilled with the recent announcement that it will be making a return to the air. But before you go expecting to see the cast from 50 years ago welcoming people onto the ship, there’s one major change you should know about. The Love Boat reboot won’t be a fictional show. It’s a new reality dating show called “The Real Love Boat.” Keep watching to find out more, as Facts Verse presents: The Love Boat is Back – But Now It’s a Dating Show!
The Love Boat was a hugely popular romantic drama/comedy that aired in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s on ABC. It featured a primary cast, and a regularly rotating cavalcade of famous guest stars who would appear either as characters, or as themselves. And the Love Boat also featured something quite novel: real people. Each episode was filmed aboard a Princess Cruise ship that was currently functioning as a real cruise ship. So that meant the people in the background, and acting as extras, were actual cruise passengers on vacation. It was a fun idea that did a lot to boost sales for Princess Cruise lines. And it appears The Real Love Boat will be returning to the sea, with even more focus on every day people. That’s because the latest iteration of The Love Boat will be a reality dating show.
The New Love Boat
CBS has commissioned the new version of the show for a U.S. version, and Australia’s Network 10 will do the same for an Australian version too. It’ll be somewhat of a standard reality dating show, with the twist of not only being at sea, but thematically based on the classic ‘70s show. While Aaron Spelling owned the rights to the original show, since he served as the creator and producer, his company was purchased by Viacom a while back. Eventually CBS ended up with the right to the legendary drama/comedy, and decided they’d try to use the popularity of the IP to create a dating show that uses it as a backdrop. They’ve struck up a deal with Princess Cruises, whose ships served as the vessels for the original, and they’ll supply the ships for the new series as well.
The premise of the show will be fairly straightforward. Eligible singles will hop aboard the cruise as it sails around the Mediterranean, looking to find the love of their life. They’ll get the chance to compete in dating-based challenges, go on dates at certain destination spots, and much more. And, to match the setup of the original show, the ship will come with its “Cruise Director” “Captain,” “Bartender” and more. As they contestants lose certain competitions, or don’t find love, they’ll be dropped off on land at the ship’s next stop, and be dumped from the show. But at those stops, new contestants will come aboard to stir the pot. One couple will eventually be named the winner, and they’ll not only get a sum of money, but also the gift of another cruise aboard Princess Cruises.
The featured cast
The Captain of the ship is Paolo Arrigo. Amazingly, he wasn’t even being considered for the role at first. Arrigo is actually the Captain on the Princess line of cruises. When the producers of the show were scouting ships, they asked for a tour from Princess. Arrigo was tasked with showing the show’s execs around the ship and answering any questions they had about it. But in the process of this basic tour, the producers fell in love with Arrigo. Instead of going out and trying to cast someone just like him, they figured they’d save time and simply ask him to be on the show as the ship’s captain. They asked Princess Cruises if they’d be able to borrow Paolo for the duration of shooting, and Princess agreed to let him take a hiatus from his real job as a cruise captain to play one on a reality show. One producer, Jay Bienstock, noted that Arrigo was so charming and interesting on the tour he gave them, it was a no brainer.
The show will also feature a Cruise Director, played by Matt Mitcham. And just like Paolo Arrigo, Mitcham is an actual cruise director in real life. A Canada native, he’s been doing the job for almost 15 years. And he actually met his wife on board a cruise ship. So clearly he’s an ideal candidate to not only guide contestants on the ship, but to help them find love as well.
And the ship’s bartender is Ezra Freeman, who has been slinging drinks aboard the Princess Cruise line for several years. And considering she’s already been helping people find love as they enjoy some tasty beverages at sea, she’s a perfect fit for the reality dating show.
Producer Bienstock emphasized that the show wasn’t looking for actors to play the roles of Captain, Cruise Director, and Bartender. He says they were always seeking real people who actually did those roles for their living.
As seems to be the custom with reality dating shows, the producers brought in some big time celebrity talent to play hosts. Fans of “Love is Blind” will be familiar with the chemistry provided by real life celebrity couple Nick and Vanessa Lachey. The producers of The Real Love Boat were clearly inspired by this concept, and hired celebrity couple Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn to act as hosts of the show. The couple will offer their amicable, fun, and sometimes goofy takes on the ins and outs of the dating competition. They also provided a little bonus content in the form of the theme song. They rerecorded the famous tune of The Love Boat, originally sung by Jack Jones. The recreation of that song is an effort to amp up the nostalgia factor that the show is going for, while still making it feel modern and fresh.
Reboots and Crossovers
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen new iterations of the classic show. For starters, while it aired, there were occasional crossovers with other shows. One fun example of this was when they had Robert Reed and Florence Henderson guest star on the same episode. But they weren’t playing their classic characters from The Brady Bunch. They weren’t even acting opposite each other, but rather were cast in different segments of the same episode. However, the writers had a little fun and had them bump into each other in the hallway at one point. Both actors did a double take, seemingly recognizing the other, but then sort of shrug it off and keep walking. It was a fun and clever wink to their many years as a TV couple. Another crossover happened during the season premiere of Charlie’s Angels in 1979. This was another Aaron Spelling show, so it wasn’t too surprising that there would be a crossover. In the episode, the Angels hop aboard the Pacific Princess cruise ship to solve a crime. They are tasked with finding stolen artifacts that have been stashed on the ship as it heads to the Virgin Islands. In addition to the Angels characters, the Love Boat regulars all made cameos during the episode.
There have also been references to The Love Boat in other pop culture staples. For example, Saturday Night Live did a sketch that featured The Love Boat. In it, host Patrick Stewart played the captain. Only he was in character as Captain Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek. The sketch merged the two shows with a hilarious result. And an episode of the sitcom Martin in 1997 featured the cast heading aboard a cruise. It was called “Goin’ Overboard” and while the characters were aboard the ship, they ran into several characters from Love Boat, including Vicki, Isaac, Julie, and Doc.
The show has also been revamped before. In 1990, CBS aired a TV reunion movie called The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage. It featured the cast of the original show, and featured plotlines such as Vicki helping her grieving father after being widowed, jewel thieves trying to escape by hopping aboard the ship, and the new social director trying to plan a bachelor auction for charity. That last story now seems like it was directly setting up the The Real Love Boat!
There was also a reboot called Love Boat: The Next Wave that aired in 1988 and 1999. It was made up of new cast members however. Robert Urich played the ship’s captain, Jim Kennedy. Phil Morris was Will Sanders, the ship’s chief purser, and the cruise director, Nicole Jordan, was played by Heidi Mark. And while the original cast wasn’t a part of the show, they did show up in one episode that was a reunion of sorts. The episode was most notable because they revealed the Doc and Julie were in love, and had been during the original show as well!
The Love Boat was a classic show that mixed humor and levity with drama and intrigue. The mix of regular cast members, along with an unending slew of fun guest stars, made it appealing to audiences for years. And while the new show, The Real Love Boat, isn’t going to recreate the fictional fun that the original show provided, it will certainly try to use the template of The Love Boat to act as the backdrop for their own types of drama. And anyone who has watched shows like the Bachelor or Love Island will tell you that there is perhaps no bigger drama than the type that arises on a reality dating show. Fans of the original Love Boat will likely get a kick out of seeing the thematic crossovers the new show is using, and will feel nostalgic when they hear that classic theme song. But even people who never saw the original will certainly love the show if they are fans of reality dating shows! Now it’s time to hear from you – do you plan to watch The Real Love Boat? Let us know in the comments section below!