Inside Tinder’s Secret Streaming Series (EXCLUSIVE)


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Popular dating app Tinder is set to release a choose-your-own-adventure-style original series in early October, marking its first outing as a content financier and distributor, numerous individuals close to the project told Variety.

The series is set against an impending apocalypse, one of the insiders noted, and asks the question “Who would you spend your last night alive with?” The show will upload directly to the Tinder app, and users will be able to swipe right or left (the service’s basic function of approving or denying a potential love match) and advance the plot as they see fit.

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The untitled six-episode project just wrapped production in Mexico City, and was directed by sought-after newbie Karena Evans. The helmer and actress has directed numerous music videos for rapper Drake, including the viral hit “In My Feelings” and the star-studded “Nice For What.” She also directed the pilot episode of the Starz stripper drama “P-Valley.”

While the show will air first on Tinder, producers are mulling a later run on a more traditional streaming or broadcast platform, said another source. It’s unclear if creators would deliver a definitive version of the narrative, or seek a partner that can support the user-controlled story options. Netflix certainly has the capability, having released their own choose-your-own-adventure story in 2018’s “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.”

The series clocks in at over two hours total, said sources, who added the content was shot to be viewed vertically on smartphones.

Known as “Project X,” the production was budgeted north of $5 million and shot entirely on location with up-and-coming actors. Advertising agency 72 and Sunny was a producer on the series. One of its former agency executives, Jenny Campbell, was named Tinder’s chief marketing officer last year. A premiere date has been targeted for the first week of October.

The startup, owned by Match Group, is not jumping into the content game solely for the love of filmmaking. Yet another insider close to the project said Tinder intends to create an algorithm based on how its users make decisions within the series, and then match them with romantic interests based on those choices. A Tinder user’s particular view on how a group of characters should spend the eve of the apocalypse will lead them to others with similar takes, the thinking goes, and then, perhaps, to an awkward first date in real life.

A spokesperson for Tinder declined to comment on the series at this time. Representatives for Evans had no immediate comment.

Experimental content like this will come fast next year, as Jeffrey Katzenberg prepares to launch his mobile-first video platform Quibi. Top creators including Steven Spielberg and Jason Blum, and talent from Anna Kendrick to Stephan James and Kevin Hart, have signed on to create shortform content that lets users burn through story via app breaks. The platform is set to launch in April 2020.

News that production had wrapped was first reported by Reuters.

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