MTV, home of “Next” and “Date My Mom,” will launch a very different kind of show about dating and relationships in the fall.
“Catfish: The TV Show,” which premieres in November, will follow people who have been in passionate online relationships as they meet their would-be soulmates in person for the first time. It’s based on the 2010 documentary “Catfish,” and the movie’s star, Nev Schulman, guides the show’s subjects through their journey.
It’s a curious jumping-off point for a docu-series, since A) more than a few people questioned the movie’s authenticity when it was released and B) Schulman got a rather large surprise when he traveled to meet the girl he had met online. Similar things happen to participants in the show, but Schulman says it’s not all about pulling the rug out from under people.
“Whether or not two people are totally lying to each other and it turns out to be a huge disaster, that’s only the first part of the story,” Schulman said Friday (Aug. 3) at the TV Critics Association press tour. “We then want to know why they are doing it, who they are, what they are feeling, what led them to this place, and why that resonates with thousands of other young people who have the same feelings, who don’t have someone to talk to or don’t know how to express themselves.”
Executive producer Tom Forman also stresses that “Catfish” won’t just tell “stories of deception.”
“We’ve also stumbled into some love stories,” Forman says. “… We found people who are exactly who they say they are. We are putting those on television, too. We find people who are willing to get past an initial deception and really do make a connection at the end — in person and in real life. That’s been really heartwarming. So I think, when we set out, we really don’t how it’s going to end: good, bad, or in the middle somewhere.”
Max Joseph, a filmmaker who goes on the road with Schulman in the show, says “Catfish” will also delve into the motives of people who put up a false front online.
“We’ve seen everything from just long-distance lovers to revenge,” Joseph says. “The motivations for the person to maybe deceive the other person could have to do with something like revenge, or could have to do with poor self-image or insecurity. So it really runs the gamut.”
“Catfish: The TV Show” is set to premiere Nov. 12 on MTV.