Bravo, hoping to pull viewers closer than ever into its programming, next month is set to debut “The Singles Project,” a reality dating show that will invite fans to weigh in on each week’s events via social media — and potentially even land a guest appearance.
The NBCUniversal cable network’s eight-episode “Singles Project,” slated to premiere at 10 p.m. Aug. 12 , follows a group of six young and single New York professionals hitting the Big Apple’s dating scene.
In a first for Bravo, the docu-series will be produced in “real time,” which for the cabler means that after episodes air Tuesday nights, the next one will be shot and edited the following week.
The format is designed to give viewers the chance to chime in on the show — to opine about individual cast members, their dates and and even their fashion sense — via Twitter (@singles_project), Facebook, Tumblr and other social media. Bravo execs tout “Singles Project” as giving fans an unprecedented opportunity to interact with a TV show.
“It’s not just another dating show,” said Shari Levine, senior VP of current production for Bravo Media. “It really is a show that lives and reacts and is a moment in time as you are seeing it. … It breaks the fourth wall.”
The social feedback loop will work like this: Comments from each “Singles Project” episode will be screened and passed along to each of the six cast members, who will be tweeting about the show and their dating lives themselves. Cast will be encouraged to respond on-camera, Levine said.
Bravo also will include a form on the show’s website to invite viewers to sign up for a chance to meet, or even date, their favorite single: “We will absolutely be going to that pile,” Levine said.
Compared with other reality TV shows, the challenge for the “Singles Project” producers will how to create a story arc without knowing what will happen.
“It’s a little bit terrifying,” Levine acknowledged. “It’s a completely different production model.”
The series is produced for Bravo by All3Media America, Goodbye Pictures and Lime Pictures. Eli Holzman and Stephen Lambert will serve as exec producers for AllMedia; Rich Bye will serve as exec producer for Goodbye Pictures; Kate Little, Claire Poyser and Derek McLean will serve as exec producers and Phil Harris as co-exec producer for Lime Pictures; and John Platt will serve as exec producer and showrunner.
The “real-time” production concept is not entirely new: AllMedia and Lime Pictures have previously teamed up for U.K. docu-soap “The Only Way Is Essex,” which is filmed less than a week ahead of air and features social-media interaction with viewers. “We are taking the things (from ‘The Only Way Is Essex’) that work for us that focus on the experiences of dating singles in New York,” Levine said.
What happens if viewers are actually inspired enough to show up on-location in New York at one of the cast member’s dates? That’s OK, Levine said: “New York is really a backdrop for the show … anything can happen.”
The show’s six cast members are:
- Kerry Cassidy, a “gal-about-town by night” and an art consultant by day;
- Lee Gause, a dentist originally from North Carolina who recently ended a five-year relationship;
- Joey Healy, a specialist in eyebrow shaping looking to “meet the man of his dreams”;
- Tabasum Mir, a cosmetic dermatologist with her own line of skin-care products;
- Ericka Pittman, currently VP at Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Blue Flame Agency, where she oversees brand development who is currently in a solid relationship … with her BlackBerry; and
- Brian Trunzo, a former a self-described “Staten Island guido” who became a successful corporate lawyer before opening his own menswear store in SoHo, Carson Street Clothiers.
Watch the trailer for “The Singles Project”: