Producer Will Packer says that Oprah warned him that his “Ready to Love” series could not be drama-filled if he wanted a place at the OWN Network.
The world-famous director and founder of Will Packer Productions recently sat down with Essence, where he detailed how his hit reality dating series, “Ready to Love,” came to fruition after pitching the show to Oprah Winfrey herself. Most commonly known for films “This Christmas” and “Think Like a Man,” Packer had never tried his hand at a reality dating show but had a vision for mature Black singles finding love in front of the cameras without the messy and blog-worthy tea of other reality series, such as “Love & Hip-Hop.”
Packer says that Winfrey loved the idea but told the producer, “You can’t have me looking crazy.” After assuring her he would not, the show began scouting for African-American singles on the prowl for serious romance. On October 23, 2018, “Ready to Love” made its debut on the OWN Network and was an instant hit. The inaugural season took place in Atlanta, Georgia, a city widely known for being a hub for creatives and Black success stories but a complete letdown when it comes to dating. Hosted by comedian and radio host Tommy Miles, aka Nephew Tommy, 20 singles participated in the process of mingling with other thriving singles and making connections. Each week, both genders faced eliminations until only three couples were standing.
Since then, the show has taken off and has followed the love journey of singles in Houston and, most recently, Washington D.C. Now in its fourth season, Packer attributes the show’s success to its realistic yet positive portrayal of the Black dating experience.
“I’m super proud of the fact that now we have gone to multiple cities, multiple seasons, and have had a host of people. And we have people from the show that have actually found love and stayed together, and some folks that met when the cameras were on, got together when the cameras were off,” Packer stated.
Some of the series standout couples have been Mike and Shea from season one, London and Devyne from season two, and Liz and Jason from season three. It remains to be seen which couples will end the journey of season four together and capture viewers’ hearts.
Though the series is free of violence and drink throwing, “Ready to Love” has seen its share of jaw-dropping moments. One of the most shocking blowups is the recent altercation between new cast members Zadia and Dante, which resulted in her poking him in the nose. Their heated argument stemmed from disagreements regarding their relationship status and Dante’s blossoming connection with others on season four, episodes nine and ten.
Not familiar with the television gold that is “Ready to Love?” Catch all-new episodes every Friday at 8:00 p.m. only on the OWN Network. Also, head over to www.oprah.com/app/ready-to-love.html to read up on the cast and get updates on past couples.
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