It’s not the holiday season without a little romance, and HBO Max reality series “12 Dates of Christmas” provides the mistletoe for three hopeless romantics.
From Love Is Blind producer Sam Dean, 12 Dates of Christmas is the ultimate festive reality show. The holiday dating series follows Faith, Chad, and Garrett as they live in an Austrian castle, complete with surprise appearances from their exes, suitable singles, and elimination ceremonies to find who they want to bring back to meet their respective families. All of the drama takes place in a stunning winter wonderland, with dates involving masquerade ball, skiing, and ugly sweater parties. In this rom-com come to life, who will truly find their soul mate before New Year’s Eve?
Lead Chad Savage opens up to The Knockturnal about being finding love onscreen, why no one should give up on dating app Hinge, and the importance of taking risks for romance.
The Knockturnal: First of all, how did you end up on a HBO Max dating reality show? What was the casting process like?
Chad Savage: To start, I got reached out to on Hinge, the dating app. It was funny because immediately when I saw it, I responded to it. It was very upbeat. I appreciated them reaching out, but initially I didn’t think it would be something I would be interested in. It’s funny because when I relayed that information to my sister, she was like ‘are you kidding me?!’ I told her probably not, it’s probably not something I’d be interested in, and she was like ‘call them back right now!’ So I did, I called them back and I went through the process.
It was a lot of interviews. What I really liked about it was I got more and more comfortable with the process, with the people, and the concept of the show as I went along…even to the point when it was tiresome and repetitive. I got asked a lot of personality questions and relationship interest questions over and over, but now I couldn’t be more thrilled with how the process was because that’s how it’s done. That’s how you connect people that are going to last and are going to have true chemistry. It was a couple months of interviews and things like that, and then a final interview which was face-to-face. I love being around people so when it came to the final interview, I was all jazzed up. I was doing push-ups in my room, haha.
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The Knockturnal: How was relocating to Austria and living in a castle?
Chad Savage: Yeah, [it was just] a small feat of relocation! Haha. The castle was amazing. I purposefully tried to not have any expectations and not even think about it because that’s how I am. I didn’t know what to expect so i wasn’t going to try to guess-timate here or there, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because the castle just exceeded my expectations tenfold. It’s just this magical winter wonderland. Even the history of it with the Sound of Music…it was encapsulating. The lights, the ambiance, it was really something special.
The Knockturnal: The show follows three different love stories with a trio of leads. What was it like getting know Faith and Garrett as well?
Chad Savage: I wouldn’t have been able to get through it all without them. We were soundboards with each other. This is a strange situation; dating multiple people is not normal in any setting. You need somebody to talk it through, so I really appreciated having them there for that, and just the camaraderie. We were the first people to meet and we were the only people to go through the exact experience that we went through, so it was really special to have them along. And it was fun! You share the love, sort to speak. I love my nicknames so if I wasn’t calling [Garrett] G, I was calling him Gar-Bear. It was really special to have those two.
The Knockturnal: Showrunner Sam Dean had an incredible year with Love Is Blind also premiering on Netflix. What are some of your favorite reality tv shows?
Chad Savage: Actually my main producer that was with me this whole time— I couldn’t have gone through it without him, he’s amazing and a close friend now. We had a couple days of downtime when we first arrived to the castle and that was the first thing he said was, ‘have you ever seen Love Is Blind?’ and it was so new at that point because you’re talking mid-February. I hadn’t even heard about it. I haven’t watched a lot of reality tv, specifically dating reality tv, but I actually binged that the first few days before we started shooting, so that was fun.
The Knockturnal: Did that Love Is Blind binge help prepare you for what to expect on 12 Dates?
Chad Savage: It was funny because [the producer] did preference, ‘so this show isn’t anything like that.’ But the fact he worked on it I thought was super cool. Even just watching the show, there are two different points of view for sure, but I think it was just nice to see and mentally it was nice going into it. But I didn’t know what to expect going into it all.
The Knockturnal: Obviously you can’t share how the season ends, but are you happy with the result?
Chad Savage: Thrilled. Over the moon. Or what’s a Christmas reference? Over the Christmas tree star, something like that. Yes, I’m very, very happy.
The Knockturnal: What hope viewers take away from series this holiday season?
Chad Savage: I actually hope that viewers can relate to this. I think everybody has at least once wrestled with the thought of bringing someone home for Christmas or introducing someone special for the holidays. I just find it super relatable and I’m really proud of the fact that it encompasses people from all races and orientations and backgrounds, as is life, as is the U.S. We’re an ever-growing melting pot, as is the world, and I’m really proud of that.
I also hope people become inspired to just take a chance. This was super outside of my comfort zone. That’s an understatement, even saying that, but when I look back on it, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It is one of the best decisions hands down i’ve ever made in my life.
“12 Dates of Christmas” premieres on November 26th on HBO Max.