Holly Robinson Peete On Why Queens Court Is A Standout Among Dating Shows - Exclusive Interview

Holly Robinson Peete may be known for playing Officer Judy Hoffs in the original "21 Jump Street" series — as well as dozens of film and TV roles over the years — but the multi-talented entertainer, singer, and producer has an exciting new project in the works. Robinson Peete and her husband Rodney Peete, a former pro footballer, have worked together as executive producers on "Meet The Peetes" and "For Peete's Sake," reality shows featuring the stars' four shared children. Now, the pair are hosting Peacock's new dating show, "Queens Court," a reality show where three celebrity ladies are on the search for their kings. 

As Holly Robinson Peete says in Episode 3 of the series, "This process isn't for guys who get intimidated." The show includes an initial masquerade ball, plenty of laughs, and exciting new connections. And while some contestants may get the dreaded response, "You are not our king," the three stars at the center of the action are opening their hearts to happily ever after. In her exclusive interview with The List, Holly Robinson Peete shared what she's learned from working with the women on the show and how "Queens Court" is set to defy our dating show expectations and avoid common reality TV dating mistakes.

The show is a family affair

You've talked about how your marriage of 30 years hasn't been perfect. Do you have a piece of advice that you considered especially important during the first season of Queens Court?

Get used to apologizing. If you're someone who doesn't like to apologize, you are going to struggle in a long-term relationship. You got to be able to be wrong. Now, I'm talking to myself because I haven't always been able to accept the fact that I can be wrong sometimes, but apologies extend the relationship. Take accountability for your own behavior, and everybody appreciates that.

What appealed to you about hosting this show, especially with your husband?

I was excited to work with Rodney. We've worked together before, but it's been a minute. When we got the offer, we were thrilled. We actually watched a lot of these types of shows together — it's a bonding thing for us. It's our guilty pleasure, or it doesn't even have to be that guilty. It's just a pleasure. Especially during COVID, we were holed up and we were bingeing shows, so when we got this offer, we liked the idea that it was about women who have been through a lot in their lives and are in a place of ... Their BS meter is on full tilt, and they want a committed relationship and were willing to be vulnerable and come on TV and do it.

When they offered Rodney and me to host, I thought, "This could work out. We can impart some wisdom." We're not perfect. We haven't had a perfect relationship, but we know enough through the decades that if someone is curious and wants to ask us what works for us, we definitely have built up decades of wisdom on how to make a marriage work.

These women seem adept at finding the red flags and making sure that they're taking care.

They were a little too adept at the red flags. My job ... I wanted to come in and say, "Okay, guys, we don't need to red flag everything, because not everyone's perfect. We're not perfect. We have red flags too, as women, so let's go easy on the red flags." That was part of what I wanted to help them with, because you can red flag yourself right out of a great relationship. That was important to me to get them to lower — not lower their standards, but throw the bar down a little bit.

The show is more than fun and games

How did the concept of the masquerade party come to be when the women are meeting their dates for the first time? Was it to keep the men from recognizing the stars?

The point of the masquerade scene at the beginning of the first episode is because [of] the extra added element of surprise to be in a room with these three celebrity women and to see their bodies and everything and feel their energy, but not see their faces. That was very effective because we were immediately starting with not judging a book by its cover. The whole cocktail time when they're talking to each other, they're connecting with each other about other things in their life, who they are, what their experiences with relationships were. I love that element, the masquerade element, and that reveal was really fun.

What was it like hearing these women's stories that included serious issues like intimate partner violence and verbal abuse?

I didn't know when we signed up who the women were. They assured me that I probably would be familiar with some of them, but turns out, I actually knew two of them quite well, and I know their stories. I followed their stories, and especially with Evelyn ... What's interesting is that when Evelyn was going through what she was going through, I DM'd her, or sent her a little note giving her some encouragement.

On the show, she revealed that when we were hanging out and working in Atlanta together, she revealed how much that meant to her. I had forgotten that I sent that to her. But I was very familiar with her story, very familiar with Tamar's story ... did not know Nivea yet, but now I feel like I've known her my entire life in a good way. I want to take her home with me. I love her so much.

I like the fact that these are women that have been through a lot publicly, have been through some bangs, and [are] able to open up and be [like], "Listen, we've gone through some stuff and now we're looking for authentic love through different lenses." A lot of them, several of them, have had therapy and they've worked on themselves, and that's what makes the show so unique — because as the public, we've experienced a lot of this publicly with them.

We've had one side of the story, and we are getting their intimate perspective. I'm sure that a lot of women out there feel solidarity with their stories, so I'm sure it's doing a lot of good.

They've all shared their stories publicly and they've always been an open book, which can have its drawbacks. When you share, not everybody is willing to accept that as a learning experience or a learning moment, and they could be judgmental and all those things. What I love most was the vulnerability of these women and their willingness to try something new ... Again, I had to keep those red flags down a little bit. "Okay, so what? He got a few extra kids. You don't know. Let's get to know who he is." I wanted them to be open, and the sharing of their stories was what sets this show apart from others.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

She's got some dating advice to give

What makes the show stand out in a world full of a lot of television dating shows?

The fact that it's celebrity women, so we know who the women are. The other part that I love is [that] you think [you know] these women because they've been on reality shows or they've done a lot on unscripted TV before or they're all over social media, but you get to know a different side of them. This show has so much heart and humor. We laughed, we cried, we cussed, we had fun. There were moments that were very serious, but then moments that are fall-on-the-floor laughing.

They tell it. They're very authentic, all three of them. That made going to work every day so much fun. I couldn't wait to hear what they said about their dates. Genuinely, I was authentically, "How did it go?" Because what sets this show apart for me and Rodney and our involvement is that we get to be there from the moment they meet everyone, and we get to interact with them as couples, interact with the guys, interact with the girl.

They didn't have us walk in and say our lines and leave. We were involved in the whole journey, and that made us invested. We wanted to find love for them — I think my husband was way more invested than I was. There were scenes when it would just be me and the girls, and before I could even get off set, he was texting me, "What they say? What happened?" He wanted to know. We genuinely enjoyed this journey, and as hosts, we were so involved from soup to nuts, from the masquerade party through all the episodes, through all those weeks, and we couldn't wait for them to find somebody. That was so important for us.

That comes across as your level of involvement and showing up to the dinner parties where these women are having to send people home. That is a really unique element.

The dinners were ... That's our moment. That's the money moment for the show. I was so impressed production value-wise with how beautiful the table was, the charcuterie boards, the cheese boards, the chandeliers, the lighting. It was so beautiful. Every time we would get dressed up to go sit out there, it was a moment you felt like you were at something special, a really special party. Sadly, that was where we had to say goodbye, and some of them got a little intense, but I love that moment and [am] super proud of this show ...

I'm excited for everyone to watch. They're going to binge it in one sitting — it's that good. I don't know how you don't just keep going and going, so maybe start on a Friday and go through the weekend so you're not at work like, "Oh my goodness, I was up watching this show all night." It's that good.

When you do a show like this, you don't know ... So much is out of your hands, editing, music. There were things that we didn't see when we were there. The interviews with each woman and the guys. By the way, shout out to the guys and a shout out to the casting of the show. They did such a good job. The men came to play. They were funny. The idea is they're intimidated maybe a little bit by these women, but I loved the choices of guys, and this is a fun one. This is a good one.

All 10 episodes of Queens Court will be available on Peacock March 16.

This interview has been edited for clarity.