The executive producer of “Naked Attraction” is speaking out about the polarizing response audiences have had to the provocative dating show in the wake of its U.S. premiere.
All six seasons of “Naked Attraction,” which debuted on Britain’s Channel 4 in 2016, were released on the streaming service Max last month. Episodes follow a single (clothed) guest who is asked to choose a prospective date from a panel of six contestants as their nude bodies are slowly revealed “bit by lovely bit” from the bottom up.
Guests are permitted to eliminate contestants if their physical appearance doesn’t meet their standards. The “picker” is then sent on a fully clothed date with the winning contestant.
Though episodes of “Naked Attraction” begin with a disclaimer clarifying that the show is intended only for mature audiences, the show’s embrace of full-frontal nudity has ignited controversy. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Monday, executive producer Darrell Olsen dismissed accusations that the series is “pornographic” and objectifies its participants.
“What’s happening in the States right now is [like how the U.K. reacted] seven or so years ago,” Olsen explained. “You have, ‘I can’t believe this is onscreen’ — shock and outrage — mixed with, ‘This is quite amazing.’ The show isn’t for everyone, but everyone is interested in it.”
Watch the trailer for Max’s “Naked Attraction” below.
He went on to note: “I think what will happen with you guys is, hopefully, what happened over here, where the ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this is on TV’ turns into, ‘It’s a pretty good show.’ Also, the stories get better and we push more boundaries [in the latter seasons].”
Olsen, however, sees it differently, noting: “The irony of the show is, by having a load of people naked, it makes you feel better about yourself.”
“What it proves is that every person is different, and not just facially,” he said. “We’ve all got different genitals. We’ve all got different big toes. It’s amazing. So there’s no reason to feel bad about yourself, and it’s empowering to see we’re all different.”
Criticism aside, “Naked Attraction” is a certified smash. In terms of viewership, the show catapulted to Max’s No. 1 spot shortly after its Sept. 20 debut.
Though Olsen says the success of “Naked Ambition” in the U.S. has taken him and the rest of the show’s creative team “by surprise,” he hasn’t ruled out developing an American version or even one featuring celebrity participants ― provided that they’re willing to appear au naturel, that is.
“We wouldn’t want to do a watered-down version,” he said. “So if [a streamer or network] said, ‘Let’s have everyone wearing underwear but they’re topless’ or whatever, that isn’t honoring what this show is about. But we’d like to have a show with U.S. [contestants] who have so much energy and new stories to tell.”