‘I’m Solo’ is a Korean dating reality show that challenges conventional norms. Participants believe that four nights and five days of focused dating are enough to find true love. The program compresses the time it takes to move from ‘flirting’ to ‘dating’ in real life, making it a refreshing twist in the dating show genre.
The show concluded its 9th season with a self-best rating of 4.5% and garnered massive interest, with the final episode attracting a significant viewership on both SBS PLUS and ENA PLAY.
Chonjang Entertainment: A Familiar Name
Produced by Chonjang Entertainment, the company led by Nam Gyu-hong PD, who previously directed the popular show ‘Matching Survival Show’ (‘Jjak’).
Pioneering a New Genre
As a variety show PD, Nam PD revolutionized the dating show genre through ‘Jjak’ in 2011, introducing a documentary-style dating reality concept. Despite its popularity, ‘Jjak’ faced criticism over the authenticity of its participants, leading to its conclusion in 2014 after a three-year run. However, Nam PD was determined not to abandon the genre he pioneered. He established his production company and launched programs with a similar format on ENA PLAY and SBS PLUS. Today, ‘I’m Solo’ enjoys comparable popularity and attention to what ‘Jjak’ once had during its terrestrial broadcast era. The show has evolved to the point that comparing it to ‘Jjak’ is irrelevant, as the only difference lies in how the participants are addressed, with simple names replacing titles like ‘Youngchul’ and ‘Youngsook.’
Consistency in Vision
Even after leaving SBS and venturing on his own, Nam PD remained true to his vision. In 2020, he launched the program ‘Stranger’ on Discovery Channel, taking time to refine his approach. He made changes such as transforming the narration into remarks by studio MCs and adopting the current naming format instead of the less fitting titles like ‘Mister ○’ and ‘Miss ○.’ Eventually, he launched ‘I’m Solo’ with these adjustments.
The Credible ‘I’m Solo’
Compared to ‘Jjak,’ ‘I’m Solo’ hasn’t faced significant scrutiny regarding the authenticity of its participants. This is a testament to the experience gained from the previous show and the ability to select engaging individuals, even if they appear ordinary and lack notable characteristics.
A Promising Future
With each new season adding to the accumulated experience, ‘I’m Solo’ is expected to continue its popularity for the foreseeable future. Nam PD’s ability to draw from the experiences of ‘Jjak’ and ‘Stranger’ has allowed him to create a dating show masterpiece, setting a new standard for the genre with ‘I’m Solo’ and its pursuit of authentic connections.