A Behind the Scenes Perspective on Finding Amorous Connection via Reality TV
Everyone needs love. Regardless of your age or the culture you find yourself in, love is essential to a full life; certainly for a happy one. Watching others seek and find this deepens the appreciation we all feel for the presence of this emotion. Gayani Wanigaratne seems to have a highly perceptive radar of both the potential for love’s cultivation and the epic nature of presenting it to the masses. Known for her work on productions such as the BAFTA Award Winning Britain’s Got Talent and National TV Award Winning I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, Ms. Wanigaratne shines most recently on the new HBO Max series My Mom Your Dad. Gayani’s acclaim throughout the industry as an executive producer and development consultant has led to production companies like ITV Entertainment (the force behind My Mom Your Dad as well as Queer Eye, Hell’s Kitchen, Love Island, and others) to add her to the essential team of its most adventurous and exciting shows. While the premier season of My Mom Your Dad has already wrapped, Ms. Wanigaratne is already at work as a Co-Ep on season 2 of the incredibly popular HBO Max series FBoy Island.
The multigenerational perspective of My Mom Your Dad was conceived of by creator/writers Greg Daniels (of NBC’s Primetime Emmy Winning Series The Office and Primetime Emmy Nominated Parks and Recreation) and Haley Daniels. This father/daughter team partnered with ITV Entertainment and Sam Dean (of Netflix’s Love Is Blind) as showrunner to deliver this Reality TV dating show about college age children helping their parents find love later in life. Hosted by Yvonne Orji (Image Award Nominee and Primetime Emmy Nominated Actress for her role as Molly in HBO’s Insecure), the program will appear on HBO Max in America. The show promises to be the type of storyline that makes one both wince and shed a tear. As Co-Ep of My Mom Your Dad, Gayani had a front row seat from her position running the control room during the production. Filming storylines about potential romance during the pandemic with a large crew was a demanding and potentially precarious scenario but Ms. Wanigaratne reassures, “The experience was very fun and highly unique. It really presents fresh ideas about relationships and what we want for those we care about.”
Based on the exceptional outcome of My Mom Your Dad, Emmy nominated Executive Producer and Showrunner Sam Dean invited Gayani to join the team of FBoy Island Season 2. The strength of Gayani’s intuition in casting and its contributions to story as well as the required mastery of logistics and team management bodes well for the upcoming season of this popular dating show. Hosted by comedian/writer/producer Nikki Glaser there’s an ample amount of comedy meets romantic suspense to both FBoy Island, as there is with My Mom Your Dad. Tempering love with the uncertainty and ridiculousness of it all is not only healthy but establishes a common element that most anyone can relate to. Regardless of whether you’re a hard-body or sporting some well-earned love handles, we all want to find connection with a partner. Realizing that we are all the same in this regard tempers which end of the aesthetic and emotional spectrum you fall on. Ms. Wanigaratne confirms, “I was single for ten years, I’m now in a wonderful relationship. Working on dating shows and being single makes you think that a viewer needs to feel like these people genuinely have a chance of finding love and I think that is really important. As a producer, that is always at the forefront of my mind, especially if I’m working on new formats. I think working on dating shows, especially ones that film on location can also hinder your own love life slightly as they can be all consuming. BUT you have to be a romantic at heart to work on dating shows and I definitely think it should make us all hopeful.”