Known for his epic phone pranks on The Steve Harvey Morning Show, radio personality “Nephew” Tommy Miles says his first thought when he was invited by producer Will Packer to host the OWN dating series Ready To Love was that he, himself, was being pranked.
Blame his skepticism on Hollywood’s reputation for being a bit fickle. “You know, I’m a country boy out of Houston, so when somebody tells me something I believe your word is your bond,” says Miles, Harvey’s real-life nephew. “But, you know, when you get to Hollywood, it’s like, ‘Oh, we’ll do lunch.’ And, we never do lunch. Or, ‘I’ll have my people call your people.’ Yeah, right,” he laughs.
Though he had met Packer (Think Like a Man, Girls Trip) years earlier and says the prolific producer told him he’d have something for him one day, he didn’t really take it to heart. So when “one day” came it took him by surprise. “I’m like, ‘Come on, Will. Stop playing with me,” Miles recalls. Packer wasn’t playing, and told Miles he had a production deal with OWN, and was creating a dating show that he wanted him to host. “Man, I fell to my knees and started crying like a little baby,” shares Miles.
Though humor has been his calling card through his radio and stand-up comedy career, Miles started out as a serious thespian, studying theater at Texas A&M University and even training in London with the Royal Shakespeare Company. And yes, he can quote The Bard, which could come in handy when offering guidance and advice to the Romeos and Juliets seeking mates on Ready to Love.
“I think the reasoning for choosing me [to host RTL] is that this coming June will be 20 years for me and my wife [Jacqueline],” Miles says. He also notes the longevity of his parents’ marriage. “My parents were together until my dad died [in 2015]. …I don’t know anything else. Till death do us part.” This season, viewers got to meet Miles’ wife when she joined him to co-host the first episode where the contestants—10 women, 10 men—were introduced.
“This particular [dating] show is different because [contestants] are in their 30s, 40s, some people are in their 50s, been married, divorced—career-driven [folk who] haven’t taken time to find a relationship,” he says. “I don’t want to knock anybody, but we’re not throwing drinks on each other; we’re not fighting. We’re trying to find love. So this is grown and sexy over here on the Ready to Love show.”
If you haven’t yet tuned in, the season kicks off with a mixer where the 20 potential lovebirds meet and mingle. In the episodes that follow, the sexes trade off in eliminating individual contestants who they determine aren’t really clicking. “There is no prize; there’s no trip around the world; there’s no million dollars,” Miles notes. “The prize is love. And you can’t put a price on that.”
Miles doesn’t see his role so much as a matchmaker, but rather a guide who helps contestants down the road to finding love. He says, “I’m the person who’s guiding these people through this journey as they try to find a soulmate, somebody that they really, really want to connect with.” And while his advice may be softened with wit, it is pretty on point in trying to dispense his own sage lessons on love. He recalls a tip given to him by his late father that he says was the best romantic advice he’s ever received: “Do not stop dating your wife, your spouse—continue the romance as if you’ve just jumped the broom last week.”
Here are some additional tips from Miles:
Step out of your dating comfort zone: Don’t stick with what you perceive as your “type.” Because if what you’ve been doing worked, you wouldn’t be on the show.
Stay the course once you find love: I really try to help brothers who give up and run off. I hate that. Stay in there and ride it out [because] there are things about this woman that you are going to find out later that you’re going to love even more.
Love is a journey: There are some couples [on the show] that are still together, though there aren’t any that have actually gotten married [yet]. I track how the relationships are progressing and love learning that new bonds are forming. You look up and here’s another spark; here’s a couple that got together way after the show. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that sooner or later one of my couples is going to pop up and we’ll hear wedding bells.
Ready to Love airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.