Korean dating reality shows

Many of us are familiar with dating reality shows such as Love Is Blind, Terrace House, and Love Island. These shows are often described as a guilty pleasure – they are generally frowned upon, but somehow they manage to secure a wide audience. Korean dating reality shows are slightly different as they are not viewed as a guilty pleasure, and the country is a land of lovebirds brimming with cute couples everywhere you go. If you are curious about Korea’s dating culture, these 8 dating reality shows on our list will help shed some light. 

1. Heart Signal 

Korean Dating Reality Shows - heart signal
Image credit: Channel A

With a total of three seasons, Heart Signal is one of the most popular dating reality shows in the country. Heart Signal follows eight participants – four men and four women. They have to live together in a shared space for a month while going on dates and getting to know each other.

These participants come from all walks of life, with occupations ranging from lawyers to chefs, and there’s even a traditional Korean medicine doctor!

Although the participants are allowed to develop feelings for each other, they are not allowed to express their interest directly. Instead, every member gets to anonymously send a message to the person they are interested in.

Also, there is a panel of celebrities and experts who watch these eight members to predict the possible “love lines”.

Season one of Heart Signal aired in 2017, followed by season two in 2018. Season three aired in 2020.

A show titled Friends was produced in 2021, and it featured some of the participants from seasons two and three. Unlike Heart Signal, which mainly focuses on romantic relationships, Friends is about developing both friendships and romantic relationships.

Watch the teaser of Heart Signal season two here:

[하트시그널 티저] 그 남자의 시그널이 시작됐다. / 채널A 하트시그널 시즌2
play button
[하트시그널 티저] 그 남자의 시그널이 시작됐다. / 채널A 하트시그널 시즌2

Video credit: 채널A

2. Transit Love 

Korean Dating Reality Shows - transit love
Image credit: TVING

Transit Love first aired in June 2021. It’s a reality show where four couples who have broken up come together to look back on their relationship and ultimately find new love. Some participants hope to reunite with their exes, while others are ready to meet someone new. 

This show focuses on the inner world of the couples. In order to capture their raw and genuine emotions, the production crew remains hidden and the participants do not know when they are being filmed. This enables a realistic and unfiltered portrayal of the participants.

Lee Jin-joo, the producer of Transit Love, said that casting the eight participants was not easy, and the process took close to five months. 

Initially, there were about 100 participants who expressed interest. However, after she revealed what Transit Love is about, there were only two or three participants who stayed till the end. The production team even had to contact and persuade the participants’ ex-partners to join Transit Love.

Catch the teaser of Transit Love here: 

EXchange ǀ 換乘戀愛 Teaser 3
play button
EXchange ǀ 換乘戀愛 Teaser 3

Video credit: tvN Asia

3. Love Catcher

Korean Dating Reality Shows - love catcher
Image credit: Mnet

Love is complex. Throw in money and the situation gets even more complicated. 

In Love Catcher, there are ten participants divided into two groups – “love catchers” and “money catchers”. “Love catchers” are in it to find a partner, while “money catchers” participate to bring home KRW50,000,000 (~USD44,730).

Love Catcher features participants who live together for a month under the same roof, and panelists who offer advice. At the start of the show, participants have to choose whether they want to be a “love catcher” or “money catcher”. This status is kept secret from the rest of the participants throughout the show.

There are rules that all participants must abide by. Firstly, love catchers should strive to avoid money catchers since they can’t be paired up eventually. Secondly, money catchers can only win the prize money if they find a love catcher. When two money catchers are paired, they will be eliminated from the game.

Check out the teaser of Love Catcher here:

[러브캐처 인 서울] 남자는 다섯, 여자는 넷이라..  이거 숫자가 안 맞는데? 벌써부터 추리잼 흥미돋😏 | 출연자 프로필 공개 티저 영상
play button
[러브캐처 인 서울] 남자는 다섯, 여자는 넷이라.. 이거 숫자가 안 맞는데? 벌써부터 추리잼 흥미돋😏 | 출연자 프로필 공개 티저 영상

Video credit: TVING

4. Single’s Inferno 

Korean dating reality shows - single's inferno
Image credit: @netflixkr

The two keywords that summarise this dating reality show are: Hell Island and Heaven Island. Gaining traction as the new Netflix hit, Single’s Inferno involves six men and six women who are trapped on an island.

Although the premise of this show revolves around finding a romantic partner, it’s also about survival. Participants must be partnered up in order to escape Hell Island and advance to Heaven Island. Those who fail to achieve this criteria will remain in Hell Island.

Couples who make it to Heaven Island get to enjoy a luxurious night at a grand hotel. On the other hand, singles who are left behind in Hell Island will have to endure the night with substandard accommodation, such as sleeping in tents. 

Don’t miss out on the teaser of Single’s Inferno here:

솔로지옥 | 공식 예고편 | 넷플릭스
play button
솔로지옥 | 공식 예고편 | 넷플릭스

Video credit: Netflix Korea 넷플릭스 코리아

5. Somebody 

Korean Dating Reality Shows - somebody
Image credit: Mnet

In Somebody, all the participants are dancers. 

The cast of Somebody comprises ten professional dancers who specialise in different genres, such as Korean traditional dance, hip-hop, and ballet. Each dancer has to carry out an individual performance in front of participants of the opposite gender. Participants who show interest in a particular dancer get to choose a song for them to dance to.

The participants even have to film a dance music video as a pair to show off their dance skills and chemistry.

Choi Jung-yoon, the producer of Somebody, said that she tried to cast participants who are the most earnest and dedicated not only in terms of dancing, but also in building a romantic relationship through the show. 

There are two seasons: the first season aired from November 2018 to February 2019, while the second season aired from October 2019 to December 2019.

You can watch the teaser of Somebody season two here:

[티저] 벌써 설렌다...♡ 춤으로 시작된 달달한 로맨스ㅣ썸바디2 10/18 (금) 저녁 8시 첫방송
play button
[티저] 벌써 설렌다...♡ 춤으로 시작된 달달한 로맨스ㅣ썸바디2 10/18 (금) 저녁 8시 첫방송

Video credit: Mnet TV

6. Divorced Singles

Korean Dating Reality Shows - divorced singles
Image credit: MBN

Divorced Singles is about four divorced men and four divorced women who come together to find love and romance. However, this show goes beyond finding a potential life partner – matched couples will cohabit for a week during the show

Divorced Singles grapples with an unconventional format as participants get to know each other without revealing their age, background, occupation, and why they got divorced in the first place. 

The backgrounds of all eight participants vary, ranging from a divorcee of eight years to a divorcee of one year.

The first episode aired on 11th July 2021, and the participants were given their first mission by the production team. They were divided into two teams, and the first team was tasked to grocery shop while the second team was assigned to cook. 

Catch the teaser of Divorced Singles season two here:

[돌싱글즈2] 10월 17일(일) 21:20 첫 방송, 더 화끈해진 돌싱들이 보여주는 현실 연애!
play button
[돌싱글즈2] 10월 17일(일) 21:20 첫 방송, 더 화끈해진 돌싱들이 보여주는 현실 연애!

Video credit: 돌싱글즈 – MBN 공식 채널

7. Love & Joy 

Korean Dating Reality Shows - love & joy
Image credit: WATCHA

Love & Joy features four male and four female participants who come from all walks of life. However, they share one thing in common – they are stuck at the crossroads of friendship and love. 

This show attempts to tackle the question, “Can a friendship between a man and a woman be purely platonic?”

Love & Joy is co-organised with YouTube stars Enjoy Couple, a Korean channel with more than two million subscribers. The channel is owned by a comedian couple of eight years, Son-Min-soo and Lim Lala. 

Besides co-organising the show, Son Min-soo and Lim Lala also play the role of the host, cupid, and relationship mentor in Love & Joy. Whenever participants face any problems or struggles, Son Min-soo and Lim Lala will listen attentively and give advice.

Check out the teaser of Love & Joy here:

러브&조이 2차 티저 공개💘
play button
러브&조이 2차 티저 공개💘

Video credit: 왓챠

8. Change Days 

Korean Dating Reality Shows - change days
Image credit: kakaoTV

Change Days revolves around three couples on the brink of breaking up. Through this show, the six participants share the reasons behind their desire to break up, as well as other concerns they have regarding the relationship.

Besides talking about their relationship troubles and worries, the three couples are also paired with a partner that’s not their current significant other. They get to know each other, go on dates, and even share a room together.

Eventually, the six participants must make a decision to either work on their current relationship or break up and begin a new journey with a different partner. 

The first episode of Change Days aired on 18th May 2021, and the show came to a close on 7th September. At the end of season one of Change Days, the production team announced that they will be back with season two.

Despite the controversy surrounding this show, the first episode garnered a wide viewership of more than 1.2 million views within just six hours of its release.

Watch the teaser of Change Days here:

play button
"너랑 너무 재밌어서.. 여자친구 생각이 안 났어" [#체인지데이즈]

Video credit: 카카오TV

Korean dating reality shows that will give you the butterflies

These eight Korean dating reality shows will tickle your fancy regardless of your relationship status. Who knows, you might learn a thing or two about relationships and apply what you learnt to your dating life!

Also check out: 

Cover image adapted from: Channel A, TVING and Mnet

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.