’90 Day Fiancé’: How TLC Chooses Couples to Cast

90 Day Fiancé is known for having one of the more diverse reality TV casts. People from all over, with lots of different backgrounds, are featured on the show. In fact, the show wasn’t originally going to be called 90 Day Fiancé. It was going to be called “something like International Love,” executive producer Matt Sharp told Kate Casey on her podcast, Reality Life.

Matt Sharp of '90 Day Fiance' franchise, Molly Hopkins, Paola Mayfield and Russ Mayfield of '90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?'
Matt Sharp of ’90 Day Fiance’ franchise, Molly Hopkins, Paola Mayfield and Russ Mayfield of ’90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?’ | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.

But after shopping the show around to several different networks and getting no bites, the name and premise of the show changed. Eventually, the team landed on 90 Day Fiancé and focusing on couples who were dealing with the K-1 visa process.

How TLC finds ’90 Day Fiancé’ couples

There’s one major rule for casting 90 Day Fiancé couples: They have to be “very much in the queue for a visa already,” according to Sharp.

At the 2018 TCA press tour, he echoed the same sentiment.

“We’re not involved in the immigration process. We find couples for the show that are already in the process,” he said. “It’s an authentic process. These are couples who are in love and going through this process. We don’t put people together. Everyone we feature on the show, they found themselves organically.”

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When casting 90 Day Fiancé couples, TLC looked to Teen Mom for inspiration. They wanted to create a show that’s “super authentic.”

“We always wanted this to be a super authentic, warts and all, look at love in this amazing world, very raw, the producers we brought in… a lot of them came from the Teen Mom world,” Sharp said on the podcast. “There’s an authenticity to that show, too.”

Sharp said he wanted 90 Day Fiancé to spark discussions among people following along at home.

“We wanted to do something that didn’t just show one side of love. We wanted to do a show where it’s not black and white. There’s actually a debate on the couches of America. We’re not looking for villains or heroes; We’re looking for real people with interesting backgrounds and stories and potentially interesting situations,” he said.

Many ’90 Day Fiancé’ couples are still together

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While 90 Day Fiancé is famous for its dramatics, the couples actually have a pretty high success rate.

“Our batting average on this show is that out of every 25 couples on 90 Day Fiancé, we’ve only had three divorces,” Sharp said at TCA in 2018. “That’s less than 10% and the current U.S. (divorce) rate is over 40%. It’s one of the reasons why people love this show, it’s so unexpected.”

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