HBO Max is getting into the dating-show game with 12 Dates of Christmas, which, alas, does not actually have twelve episodes! The new dating reality series features holiday-themed dates, spanning across a short but drama-packed season.
Showrunner Sam Dean revealed to People that the first season is set to be a total of eight episodes. That being said, though, the show is taking a pretty unusual release schedule for those episodes. Rather than releasing them all at once in the traditional streaming model or releasing them one at a time like traditional TV, episodes are being released in three minipacks: three on Nov. 26, three on Dec. 3, and the final two on Dec. 10.
If that "package" release schedule feels familiar, that's because it's the same tactic that Netflix used for Love Is Blind earlier this year, spreading out 10 episodes over three weeks, plus a standalone reunion special. It's no coincidence that the two have a similar release schedule: showrunner Dean is also the woman in charge over at Love Is Blind, serving as showrunner and executive producer for that show before signing a deal with HBO Max, as reported by Deadline in June.
12 Dates of Christmas takes a new twist on the dating-show format, and not just because of its holiday theme. Instead of a singular lead, there are three "leads" — two men and one woman — who are staying together at a gorgeous castle in Austria. Each of the three leads is sent on a number of dates with different contestants, each hoping to find someone special they can celebrate the holidays with. From the first look, it seems like the show is trying to address diversity concerns in the reality dating-show genre: the leads aren't all white, nor are they all straight, which is a step in the right direction. We can't wait to see what holiday-themed adventures await when 12 Dates of Christmas debuts on Nov. 26!