Adam Rose/CW Katie Thurston
Katie Thurston is done with roses.
The former Bachelorette is returning to reality TV in the new season of FBoy Island, which will air on the CW after its first two seasons ran on Max. The Seattle-based comedian, 32, no longer watches the Bachelor franchise that first brought her fame — and she had actually never watched FBoy either, until she was approached about joining the show. "It was literally the complete opposite of what I'd gone through before," Thurston tells EW, adding that she found herself "laughing out loud" while binge-watching season 2. "[I] was pleasantly surprised [by] how feminist it was, how kind of satirical and comedy-focused it was," she says. "So I was like, well, why not? This sounds like it's gonna be a really fun time."
Adam Rose/CW Men of 'FBoy Island' season 3
Instead of dozens of suitors vying for one man or woman's heart with the promise of a Neil Lane engagement ring at the end, the Nikki Glaser-hosted FBoy Island puts a twist on the reality dating genre: three women vs. 21 men, who are all self-described "Nice Guys" or "FBoys"... and the women have to determine who falls under which category.
Let's let Thurston define these categories for us: "An FBoy is someone who makes decisions selfishly. You know, they're not taking into consideration the person that it could impact. They're doing things for their own gain, pleasure, reward, whatever that is. Whereas a Nice Guy is going to look at the bigger picture of his actions and take you into consideration, in terms of how will that make you feel, should he be honest, how does a decision he makes impact everybody else."
If the women pick a Nice Guy at the end, then the couple gets to split the prize money. But if they pick an FBoy, he gets to decide what to do with that $100,000.
The show's emphasis on fun was a distinct change of pace for Thurston. "A lot of the guys were very light-hearted, and it was funny," she says. "Oftentimes in a show like The Bachelor, that's not the tone, right? You're almost kind of redirected, like, 'Okay guys, like let's be serious now.' Whereas on FBoy Island, we really got to just have fun and laugh, and that was embraced."
The uninterrupted conversations made for a dating scene that better mimicked real life, Thurston says. "I got to sit down and just have uninterrupted, organic, non-produced conversations. There's no, 'So do you want to get married and have babies?' So it was very just, like, realistic of what it's like to date in my real life in my 30s."
Another obvious distinction from the Bachelor-verse? Thurston had some company.
Adam Rose/CW Daniella Grace, Hali Okeowo, Katie Thurston on 'FBoy Island'
"There's this sisterhood element," Thurston points out, adding that leading the show with two other women — model Hali Okeowo and influencer Daniella Grace — was a huge draw toward her saying yes to joining. "I get to do this with two other women and so worst case, I don't find a man, I don't leave with money, but I have sisters, you know?"
Okeowo, 28, and Grace, 33, had no idea that Thurston was already a reality star. "I think at one point they thought I was this like wholesome, sweet, shy girl, and like really protected," Thurston says with a laugh. "And then they see I'm this really like, bold comic who speaks her mind, [and] they're like, 'Katie's gonna be just fine.'"
The new season of FBoy Island premieres Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.