How ‘Swiping America’ Creators Made the ‘Most Inclusive’ Dating Show With No ‘Manufactured Drama’

The new Max dating series “Swiping America,” from “We’re Here” creators Stephen Warren and Johnnie Ingram, follows a diverse group of New Yorkers who try dating in other cities throughout the U.S.

“The beautiful thing about this show is we are the most inclusive, nonjudgmental dating show out there,” Warren told me Tuesday night at the show’s premiere at NeueHouse in Hollywood. “We have queer people, lesbians, we have trans, we have nonbinary. There are no judgments because love is love.”

Calling the show a “rom-doc,” Ingram explained during his intro to the screening that “Swiping America” is not a competition show and “is not about manufactured drama.”

The four New Yorkers include lesbian entrepreneur Ashleigh Warren, gay data scientist Krishnanand Kelkar, real estate agent Kesun Lee and hairstylist Reagan Baker. They travel to Asheville, N.C.; New Orleans, La.; Miami, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Santa Fe, N.M.; Boulder, Colo.; Seattle, Wash.; and Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Warren said the idea for the show came about after seeing how many people on the “We’re Here” team were using dating apps to meet people while on the road for the drag queen makeover show.

“Johnnie and I are watching all of our cast and crew swiping and hooking up with all these different people in all the small towns we were visiting,” Warren said. “So we thought, ‘What would happen if we switch this around, and we took four New Yorkers and took them all across the country and swiped for them?’ Then I wound up having a drink with [HBO and Max boss] Casey Bloys. He was telling me about a show that he was thinking about and I said, ‘No, no, no, no, do “Swiping America.”‘ He said, ‘I want it.’”

If all goes well, they want to expand the show internationally. “I would love to do as many versions of ‘Swiping’ that we possibly can with as many different, diverse groups of people,” Ingram said. “It’s a very fresh, very relatable real-life format that is queer inclusive. When they say you can’t make a queer inclusive show, it’s bullshit. We did it and we’re very proud of it.”

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