The first season of “Finding Prince Charming” is going where no other reality dating show has gone before. The upcoming Logo series, which has 13 male suitors trying to win the heart of bachelor Robert Sepúlveda Jr., has cast a contestant with HIV.
Host Lance Bass confirmed the news Monday, following reports that a contestant’s positive diagnosis will become a main storyline on the show. “This is one of the things I love about the show — it’s a fun reality show, it’s dramatic, but there’s a lot of heart in it and amazing storylines that you’re going to shed a tear over,” he told People Now. “And one of those is finding about this guy’s HIV.”
Bass told the outlet that a brotherhood formed once the contestant — who’s not being identified as to not spoil too much of the show — opened up about his diagnosis to the cast. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch,” he said, adding: “All of us know someone that is living with HIV, and I think the stigma is still really bad out there — people are just so uneducated about it. … I’m excited for people to watch it, especially this episode.”
Sepúlveda Jr. also opened up about the reveal, telling People Now that the contestant revealing his HIV status with him never affected how he treated their relationship. “For me, it’s like: Is someone HIV-positive not worthy of love?’” he said. “That’s really the question, and it doesn’t matter to me. ‘Prince Charming’ would be accepting of anyone, and that’s how I am,” he said. Sepúlveda Jr., a 33-year-old interior designer from Atlanta, went on to say that he doesn’t believe in ruling out dating a person just because they have a disease.
“In the gay community, in just any community, if you have a disease, it’s not going to be anything that someone’s going to push you away from,” he said. “Again, me being ‘Prince Charming’ — the guy that everyone’s vying for their attention — I’m not going to not date someone they’re HIV-positive. That’s ridiculous. It’s really a stigma that we have to resolve now.”
According to TMZ, producers knew right away that the contestant was HIV-positive but initially kept the news hidden from the cast members. The show’s bachelor was informed of the news early on while taping the series.
The HIV reveal isn’t the only big storyline being teased for the show. In an interview Friday with “Entertainment Tonight,” Bass hinted at the possibility of some of the suitors falling for someone other than the bachelor. “It’s a whole different ball game. There’s a chance that these suitors might fall in love with each other, so there’s a whole extra element in this layer of uncertainty that could happen in this house,” he said.
“Finding Prince Charming” premieres on Logo Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. EDT. To see the full list of contestants, click here.