Netflix has greenlit two new unscripted dating shows, Variety has learned exclusively.
The new series further bolster Netflix’s lineup in the romance genre, following the success of breakout hits ‘Love Is Blind” and “Too Hot To Handle.”
“Indian Matchmaking,” which will debut on July 16, centers around couples paired by an elite Indian matchmaker. “Love on the Spectrum,” premiering July 22, focuses on young adults on the autism spectrum exploring the dating world.
Unlike “Love Is Blind” and “Too Hot To Handle,” both new shows are serialized, docuseries style formats that will follow several characters’ stories over the course of the season.
“Indian Matchmaking” and “Love on the Spectrum” will create a jam-packed summer of romance for Netflix, which just last week announced a new wedding show, “Say I Do,” from the creators of “Queer Eye,” which premieres on July 1. Earlier this month, the streaming giant launched the second season of “Dating Around,” which was Netflix’s first original dating show.
“When I started the unscripted department, we knew that one category that we wanted to try to get into was relationship and dating and love, and those are hard shows to find,” Brandon Riegg, Netflix’s vice president of nonfiction series and comedy specials, tells Variety in an interview conducted earlier this summer, adding that he wants to continue to expand in the genre. “It’s a category of programming that we know people really love, and it’s our job to find the best shows.”
“Indian Matchmaking” follows single millennials who have decided that it’s time to revisit methods from the past and look to the experts, rather than swiping for love on dating apps. Elite Indian matchmaker Seema Taparia is known for learning about her clients with painstaking precision to guide them towards their perfect match. From Houston to Chicago to Mumbai, the young singles will go on first dates, often with their family in tow, to discover whether these good-on-paper matches can turn into a love that lasts a lifetime.
The hourlong series has been given an eight-episode order, and hails from IPC Television. J.C. Begley will serve as show runner executive producer with Aaron Saidman, Eli Holzman and Smriti Mundhra.
“Indian Matchmaking” taps into a world much different than the typical millennial dating apps, Riegg says, describing the show as “full of heart.” The professional matchmaker, who has clients in both the U.S. and India, is located in Mumbai, where arranged marriages are much more common than the states, giving a nod to Netflix’s global footprint.
“Love on the Spectrum” will center on young adults on the autism spectrum as they navigate the unpredictable world of dating.
The series is produced by Northern Pictures, a Blue Ant Media company, with the support of Screen Australia, in association with ABC Television. The show originally aired on ABC Australia in Nov. 2019, and will be branded as a Netflix original in all countries outside of Australia. Cian O’Clery is director and Karina Holden is executive producer. “Love on the Spectrum” will span across five hourlong episodes.
“Love on the Spectrum” is a notable moment for mainstream content, as individuals with special needs are rarely represented on TV, especially in the unscripted space, although A&E’s critically-acclaimed “Born This Way,” which followed a group of adults with Down syndrome, was praised for its realistic depiction, winning several Emmys and receiving a Television Academy Honor in 2016. ABC’s medical drama “The Good Doctor” revolves around a highly-skilled surgeon with autism, played by Freddie Highmore, and the network’s former sitcom, “Speechless,” revolved around a disabled teenager. And Netflix’s own scripted coming-of-age comedy “Atypical” centers around on a teenager with autism, and has been renewed for a fourth and final season.
As far as reality dating shows, television has seen a recent surge in the space that has been largely lead by “The Bachelor” franchise, thanks to competition from Netflix’s breakouts “Too Hot To Handle” and “Love Is Blind,” which has been renewed for two more seasons.