Too Hot to Handle (TV series)

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Too Hot to Handle
Too Hot to Handle title card.png
GenreReality dating game show
Created by
  • Laura Gibson
  • Charlie Bennett
Based on"The Contest" from Seinfeld
by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
Developed by
  • Charlie Bennett
  • Laura Gibson
Presented byLana
Narrated byDesiree Burch
Country of originUnited States
United Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes9
Executive producers
  • Viki Kolar
  • Jonno Richards
  • Ed Sleeman
  • Leon Wilson
Production locationsPunta Mita, Mexico (Season 1)
Turks & Caicos Islands (Season 2-present)
Running time36–43 minutes
Production companyTalkback
Original networkNetflix
Picture formatHDTV 1080p
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseApril 17, 2020 (2020-04-17) –

Too Hot to Handle is an American-British reality television dating game show produced by Fremantle production company Talkback. It was created by Laura Gibson and Charlie Bennett. The show consisted of eight episodes, all of which were released on 17 April 2020 on Netflix. The host of the series is a virtual assistant, named "Lana," who announced that the contestants had been tricked into having no sexual contact for four weeks. If they made it, they would be paid $100,000.

On finale night Chloe Veitch, David Birtwistle, Francesca Farago, Harry Jowsey, Kelz Dyke, Lydia Clyma, Nicole O'Brien, Rhonda Paul, Bryce Hirschberg, and Sharron Townsend were all deemed the winners of Too Hot to Handle and split the remaining $75,000 prize.

In January 2021, the series was renewed for two more seasons, with filming underway concurrently amid the COVID-19 pandemic on the Turks and Caicos Islands.[1] The second season is scheduled to premiere on June 23, 2021.[2]

Season 1 (2020)[edit]


The cast was revealed on Entertainment Tonight on 10 April 2020.[3]

Nationality Contestant Age Residence Entered Exited Status Refs
United States Bryce Hirschberg 29 Venice, California Episode 3 Episode 8 Winner [3][4][5]
United Kingdom Chloe Veitch 21 Essex Episode 1 Episode 8 Winner
United Kingdom David Birtwistle 28 London Episode 1 Episode 8 Winner
Canada Francesca Farago 26 Vancouver, British Columbia Episode 1 Episode 8 Winner
Australia Harry Jowsey 22 Brisbane, Queensland Episode 1 Episode 8 Winner
United Kingdom Kelechi "Kelz" Dyke 27 London Episode 1 Episode 8 Winner
United Kingdom Lydia Clyma 22 Portsmouth, Hampshire Episode 6 Episode 8 Winner
Republic of Ireland Nicole O'Brien 23 County Cork Episode 1 Episode 8 Winner
United States Rhonda Paul 27 Atlanta, Georgia Episode 1 Episode 8 Winner
United States Sharron Townsend 25 Camden, New Jersey Episode 1 Episode 8 Winner
United Kingdom Kori Sampson 23 Plymouth Episode 6 Episode 8 Eliminated
United States Madison Wyborny 20 Los Angeles, California Episode 6 Episode 8 Eliminated
United States Matthew Smith 29 Highlands Ranch, Colorado Episode 1 Episode 6 Walked
United States Haley Cureton 20 Jacksonville, Florida Episode 1 Episode 6 Eliminated

Other appearances[edit]

Matthew Smith was a contestant on the twenty-first season of America's Next Top Model.[6] Harry Jowsey was a contestant on the first season of Heartbreak Island in New Zealand.[7] Lydia Clyma was featured on Magaluf Weekender and Sex Clinic.[8] Sharron Townsend appeared on MTV's Undressed in 2017, and he has had minor appearances in Love & Hip Hop and Creed II.[9] Chloe Veitch later went on to appear on season two of The Circle US in 2021. Harry Jowsey, after his participation in Too Hot to Handle, participated in the new reality show of MTV, Match Me If You Can.

Season summary[edit]

Season 1 (April 17 – May 8, 2020) couples
Couples Won Still together Relationship notes
Francesca Farago & Harry Jowsey Yes No Although the couple ended the season together, it was later revealed that they had split for eight months after filming wrapped. The two reconciled shortly after and got engaged during the reunion special. On June 16, 2020, Francesca released a video announcing that the two have broken up.[10][11][12]
Rhonda Paul & Sharron Townsend Yes No Although the two ended the season together, the couple eventually split, citing distance as the demise of their relationship. It was revealed the two still keep in contact, but Rhonda has reconciled with an ex.[13][14]
Lydia Clyma & David Birtwistle Yes No Entering the show in the sixth episode, Lydia[15] struck up a relationship with David and the two ended the season together. David revealed that they ended their relationship.[16]
Nicole O'Brien & Bryce Hirschberg Yes No Bryce and Nicole hardly interacted during the show, but they developed a romantic connection in the days after the show wrapped. The two split in May 2020 after attempts at a long-distance relationship failed.[17][18]


No. in
TitlePrize moneyOriginal release date [19][20]
11"Love, Sex or Money"$100,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
22"When Harry Met Francesca"$97,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
33"Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Hot"$94,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
44"Two's Company, Three's a ... Threesome"$94,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
55"Boys to Men"$75,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
66"The Bryce Isn't Right"$55,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
77"Sisters over Misters"$43,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
88"Lust or Bust"$75,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
99"Extra Hot: The Reunion"N/A8 May 2020 (2020-05-08)

Season 2 (2021)[edit]


The cast was revealed on 15 June 2021.[21]

Nationality Contestant Age Residence Entered Exited Status Refs
United Kingdom Cam Holmes 24 South Wales Episode 1 [22]
Canada Carly Lawrence 24 Toronto Episode 1
United States Chase de Moor 24 Arizona Episode 1
United Kingdom Emily Miller 27 London Episode 1
United States Kayla Jean 26 Florida Episode 1
New Zealand Larissa Townson 28 Auckland Episode 1
France Marvin Anthony 26 Paris Episode 1
United States Melinda Melrose 28 New York City[disambiguation needed] Episode 1
United States Nathan Webb 27 Texas Episode 1
United States Peter Vigilante 21 New York City[disambiguation needed] Episode 1



The show was created by Laura Gibson [23] and developed by Charlie Bennett, citing Seinfeld episode, "The Contest" as their inspiration for the premise of Too Hot to Handle.[24] Laura Gibson, creative director of Fremantle-owned production company Talkback, which produced the eight-part series, told Deadline Hollywood that she had been working to produce a dating show since 2016.[25]

Viki Kolar and Jonno Richards, executive producers for Too Hot to Handle,[26] said they found inspiration for the virtual character from artificial intelligence and virtual assistants, especially in video surveillance. Viki Kolar stated, "[A.I.] is literally everywhere around us. It's kind of governing us, it's taking over," in an interview with Glamour.[27]


On 5 May 2019, Netflix Studios, LLC applied to trademark the phrase "Too Hot to Handle" for all educational, training, entertainment, sporting, and cultural purposes. The application was approved on 24 June 2019, and was extended on 5 March 2020.[28] This has been done with other Netflix original programs such as Stranger Things, The OA, and Big Mouth.[29] Too Hot to Handle was produced by Fremantle production company Talkback.[30]

The show, instead of using a human as their host, used a virtual assistant named Lana. Desiree Burch provided voice-over narration, making snarky and comedic remarks towards the contestants.[31]


In 2018, Talkback announced that casting for an untitled reality television show was open.[citation needed] In total, over 3,000 people auditioned for the show; however, producer Louise Peet stated that the people who ultimately ended up being on the show stood out to the casting team and were chosen quickly.[32]


A luxury resort called Casa Tau[33] in Punta Mita, Mexico opened to guests in December 2018.[34] Soon after, Too Hot to Handle started filming at Casa Tau in late-March 2019[35] and ended filming in April.[36][37] After filming had ended, all fourteen contestants were able to spend several days at the resort with no cameras before going home.[38]


On 10 April 2020, Netflix released the trailer for the first season of Too Hot to Handle.[39] The first season of Too Hot to Handle consisted of eight episodes,[40] all of which were released on 17 April 2020 on Netflix.[41] A reunion episode aired on 8 May 2020, where Desiree Burch interviewed the fourteen contestants.[42] The second season is scheduled to premiere on June 23, 2021.[2]


At the allocation ceremony, the ten remaining contestants became the winners. Bryce Hirschberg, Chloe Veitch, David Birtwistle, Francesca Farago, Harry Jowsey, Kelz Dyke, Lydia Clyma, Nicole O'Brien, Rhonda Paul, and Sharron Townsend all split the $75,000 prize fund, resulting in $7,500 for each person.[43]


Too Hot to Handle became the #1 television program on Netflix during the week of April 20.[44] Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the first season of Too Hot to Handle 35%, holding an average rating of 4.41 out of 10 from 23 reviews.[45] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, gives the series a metascore of 43 based on 10 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[46]

Critic John Serba of Decider panned the show, describing it as "a mashup of Temptation Island, Love Island, "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld and The Peter Griffin Sideboob Hour", stating that "to call it tawdry is to engage in nuclear understatement", calling it "some of the dreckiest dreck ever drecked", and advising viewers to skip it.[47]

Rachelle Hampton of Slate also wrote a negative review, stating: "Despite an irresistibly juicy premise, Too Hot to Handle doesn't know what kind of show it wants to be, and it suffers for lack of direction. (...) Its will-they-or-won't-they concept is ruined as soon as it becomes clear that, yes, they obviously will, even if it means losing tens of thousands of dollars."[48]

Upcoming seasons[edit]

Three contestants of an upcoming season - Matthew Mawhinney, Harry Johnson, and Beaux Greenslade - were named in the media in May 2021 following proceedings in Uxbridge Magistrates' Court. The three were arrested after landing at Heathrow in February, returning from filming on Turks & Caicos. Mawhinney is the son of current Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland.[49]


  1. ^ Kenter, Jake (27 January 2021). "Netflix Renews 'Too Hot To Handle' For Two Seasons; Show Changes Location & Fremantle Switches Up Production". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b Kenter, Jake (19 May 2021). "'Too Hot To Handle': Netflix Sets June 23 Premiere Date For Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b Murphy, Desiree (10 April 2020). "'Too Hot to Handle': Meet the Cast of Your Next Netflix Quarantine Obsession". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  4. ^ "What you need to know about Netflix's wild social experiment Too Hot to Handle". Entertainment Weekly. 17 April 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  5. ^ Nicolaou, Elena (16 April 2020). "Here Are the Too Hot to Handle Cast Members' Instagram Handles and Bios". The Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  6. ^ Pearce, Tilly (19 April 2020). "Too Hot To Handle's Jesus was previously on America's Next Top Model and you totally wouldn't recognise him". Metro. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Harry Jowsey". tvnz. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  8. ^ Fedich, Justin (19 April 2020). "Too Hot to Handle: Everything to Know About Lydia Clyma From Netflix's Reality Show". ScreenRant. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  9. ^ Aye, Walter (19 April 2020). "Too Hot To Handle: Sharron Townsend Appeared on Love & Hip Hop & MTV's Undressed". ScreenRant. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  10. ^ Larson, Tara (8 May 2020). "Where Is The Cast of Too Hot To Handle Now?". Esquire. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  11. ^ Farago, Francesa (16 June 2020). "Our Break Up". YouTube. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  12. ^ Bowenbank, Starr. "Francesca Farago and Harry Jowsey From 'Too Hot to Handle' Break Up After a Year of Dating". Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  13. ^ Larson, Tara (8 May 2020). "Where Is The Cast of Too Hot To Handle Now?". Esquire. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  14. ^ Mackelden, Amy. "Too Hot to Handle's Sharron Townsend and Rhonda Paul's Relationship Is Complicated". Harpers Bazaar. Harpers Bazaar. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  15. ^ Anderson, Alana. "Too Hot to Handle star Lydia Clyma reveals she has a son she didn't mention on the show". OK. OK. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  16. ^ Nicoloau, Elena (23 April 2020). "Here's Where the Couples From Netflix Too Hot To Handle Are Now". Oprah. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  17. ^ Pasquini, Maria (30 May 2020). "Too Hot to Handle's Bryce Hirschberg and Nicole O'Brien Split After 'Many Failed Attempts to Reunite'". People. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  18. ^ Shenton, Zoe. "Too Hot To Handle's Bryce Hirschberg and Nicole O'Brien split". Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Too Hot to Handle – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  20. ^ Harnick, Chris (10 April 2020). "Too Hot to Handle Tasks Horny Contestants With Keeping Their Hands to Themselves for Money". ENews. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
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  23. ^ Arruda, Aline. "Too Hot to Handle: How Seinfeld and Dick Pics Inspired Netflix's Wildest Dating Show Yet". Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  24. ^ Kurkland, Daniel (17 April 2020). "Too Hot To Handle: Awesome Facts About The Making Of Netflix's New Show". Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  25. ^ White, Peter (16 April 2020). "'Too Hot To Handle': Producers Dish The Dirt On Netflix Reality Show That Combines 'Seinfeld's 'The Contest' With 'Love Island'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  26. ^ Nakamura, Reid. "Netflix's 'Too Hot to Handle' Producers Explain Why That Blow Job Cost $6,000". The Wrap. The Wrap. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  27. ^ Tannenbaum, Emily (17 April 2020). "Netflix's Too Hot to Handle Is the Funniest, Least Sexy Reality Show About Sex". Glamour. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  28. ^ "TOO HOT TO HANDLE - Trademark Details". Justia Trademarks. 29 May 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Netflix Studios, LLC Trademarks". Justia Trademarks. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  30. ^ White, Peter (10 April 2020). "'Too Hot To Handle': Netflix Unveils Trailer & Sets Premiere For Steamy Reality Dating Format". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  31. ^ Smail, Gretchen (17 April 2020). "'Too Hot To Handle' Narrator Desiree Burch Is The Perfect Person For The Job". Bustle. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  32. ^ Nicolaou, Elena (18 April 2020). "The Too Hot to Handle Cast and Creators Answer Your Burning Questions". The Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  33. ^ Weaver, Hilary. "WHERE WAS TOO HOT TO HANDLE FILMED?". LPR Luxury. LPR Luxury. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  34. ^ Lague, Adam (27 March 2020). "Is This the Most Luxurious Home in Punta Mita?". Luxury Retreats Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  35. ^ Brockington, Ariana (18 April 2020). "This Is When All The Too Hot To Handle Action Was Filmed". Refinery29. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  36. ^ Blanton, Kayla (16 April 2020). "Where Was 'Too Hot To Handle' Filmed? You Can Plan Your Own Luxury Stay". Bustle. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  37. ^ Nicolaou, Elena (18 April 2020). "Netflix's Too Hot to Handle Was Filmed at This $15,660-a-Night Mexican Villa". The Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  38. ^ Baty, Emma (17 April 2020). "Harry and Francesca From 'Too Hot to Handle' Felt Like the Group Was "Against" Them During the Retreat". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
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  40. ^ Corinthios, Aurelie (10 April 2020). "Netflix Drops Too Hot to Handle Trailer: See 10 Hot Singles Attempt Celibacy for a $100K Prize". People. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
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External links[edit]