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‘Singletown’ Producer on How British Dating Show’s ‘Genuine’ Nature Helps It Stand Out

Series premieres in the U.S. Thursday on HBO Max

HBO Max’s newest reality dating series “Singletown” makes its U.S. debut on Thursday nearly a year after airing on the U.K.’s ITV2 as a companion to the wildly popular “Love Island.” It’s a comparison producer David Williams says forced the series to be able to stand out from the crowded reality dating space from very the beginning.

“It’s so different than a traditional dating show,” Williams told TheWrap. “We advertised it as the ultimate test to your relationship.

The show revolves around five real couples whose break-up is caught on camera prior to their arrival in “Singletown,” a.k.a. London. There, they take on a crash course in dating other people with the goal of reevaluating their own relationships at the show’s “love locket ceremonies,” where they can decide whether to stay in the game or get back together.

“I was really keen that they have to be genuine couples of some length and merit,” Williams said. “From the moment they split up, everything was much much more charged. It was quite an emotional undertaking.”

With those high emotional stakes in place, the freshly split couples are forced to come to terms with the reality of their decisions — all while living down the hall from their newly-single exes.

The result is “quite a bold social experiment,” Williams said. But in the end, a little distance can be beneficial — whether that means breathing life back into their relationship or letting it go.

“Even if the outcome was that the couple didn’t choose to get back together, the sense of this is positive, because they realized that they weren’t fully nourished by this particular person,” he said. “Hand on heart, having had lots of further communications with all the cast… I think all of them are glad they did it. Even the individuals who didn’t get back together with their ex-partners, some did come out stronger.”

All 15 episodes of “Singletown” premiere Thursday on HBO Max.