Reality show lines up men for 2 Chicago area singles
By Lori Rackl firstname.lastname@example.org July 25, 2012 11:59PM
Rachel Harley, Libby Lopez and April Francis of CBS' 3, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ÃÂ©2012 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Updated: August 27, 2012 11:24AM
LOS ANGELES — Ukrainian Village fashionista April Francis isn’t into reality TV. She’s not much into TV, period. Doesn’t own one.
But the 29-year-old is into the idea of settling down and starting a family. When the opportunity came up to be on CBS’ new reality dating show “3” — filmed in Highland Park — she decided to give it a go.
The series begins with a trio of women — two of whom are local — with different ages, backgrounds and life experiences. They’re put up in a posh home overlooking Lake Michigan. A long parade of men drop by for a quick chat while the ladies sit on a comfy couch and size them up.
The women each get to pick six men with whom they feel a spark. They then go on dates, near and far. If they’re lucky, they’re no longer single at the end of the six weeks.
“It’s actually super efficient to have 100 guys picked out based on your criteria,” said Francis, a consultant who runs three fashion-related businesses in Chicago, including the trendy pop-up Dose Market.
“[Dating] is hard for me because I work so much, and I work in fashion,” she said. “I’ve tried online dating and one of the matchmakers in Chicago. I’ve never had any luck with any of those things.”
Rachel Harley, 34, had already found love on her own. But her husband, Kit, passed away from brain cancer while she was pregnant with their second child in 2010.
The Arlington Heights mom wasn’t sure if she was ready to date again, especially on national TV.
“I was worried about public perception rather than myself,” said Harley, whose daughter, Reese, is 2 years old. Her son, Bradyn, is 4.
“Being a mom with two kids, there’s really no time to date; how do you meet someone when you have one kid on your hip and another holding your hand?” said Harley, who works for a pharmaceutical company. She’s also involved with Harley Helping Hands, a nonprofit foundation that raises money for Chicago-area residents battling brain cancer.
The show’s producers reached out to her through the foundation and asked if she’d want to be on the program. After some hemming and hawing, she said yes and signed the contract the day before filming began in May.
“It fell into my lap at the right time in my life,” she said.
Libby Lopez, 24, is the third woman on “3.” She’s a model who grew up on a cattle ranch in Stockton, Calif. Raised in the Baptist Church, Lopez refuses to date a man who doesn’t share her religious beliefs.
Unlike the women on some other reality dating shows, these three appear to get along. In Los Angeles on Wednesday to do press before the show’s Thursday premiere, the trio looked like any other group of friends gossiping over snacks at the lobby bar of the Beverly Hilton.
“There wasn’t any jealousy or competition between us,” Harley said.
Added Francis: “Women fight each other way too much, and for what reason? It’s important to have great women in your life. … That’s a huge part of this show.”
One of the best parts of the whole experience, they said, was coming home to their Highland Park digs after their dates and giving each other the lowdown over a glass of wine.
Their dates — all planned by the men — ranged from playing tennis at a local park and meeting someone’s parents to bouncing around at a Lincoln Park trapeze school and going hang-gliding. Some of the dates took place around the country, too.
So did any of the women find Mr. Right?
“Viewers will have to wait and see,” Harley said. “But I can tell you we’re all happy.”