Nashville Star Jennifer Nettles Hosts a Rural Romance Reality Show

As her celebrated career in music continues, Jennifer Nettles has been building another one in unscripted television

Charm on the farm

A winner of many awards (including Grammys) as a member of country duo Sugarland, Jennifer Nettles also is a solo artist, and she has extended her brand by serving as a judge on the series Duets and Go-Big Show, plus PBS docuseries American Anthems. Here, she expands her reach again by playing emcee as four rural men seek mates from a group of city gals in Fox’s revival of Farmer Wants a Wife

Originated in England, Farmer Wants a Wife has yielded a number of international versions, the first U.S. one having aired on The CW in 2008. The friendly Nettles admits that reality television is “not my favourite genre, so I’m super-selective about the projects I choose. This one really stood out to me because it’s so different. Everyone who’s involved gets a chance to really look at everyone else, so it’s authentic, and that’s what I appreciate.” 

Farmer Wants a WifeFoxDeeming herself a “storyteller” no matter the medium or genre , Nettles believes this particular dating show also fulfills that designation for her. She calls it “a television fairy tale. It’s really heartwarming to see these folks who are out there looking for love… and who doesn’t love a love story? That’s what really drew me to it, to see that take place in real-time, and for people who are in it for the right reasons.” 

Explaining that she’s much more involved directly with the farmers on the show than with the women who are candidates to become their wives, Nettles likens her Farmer Wants a Wife role to that of “a fairy godmother, in a ‘mentor’ sort of way, to help them through this process. It is quite intimidating, I think, for them to take on a task like opening up their hearts and making themselves vulnerable—and doing it while cameras are around.” 

Farmer Wants a WifeFoxAlso an actress, having starred on Broadway in Chicago and Waitress and having made a couple of Dolly Parton-inspired TV holiday movies, Nettles notes that music remains the strongest part of her professional mix. Her most recent solo album was the 2021 cover-version collection Always Like New, and for curious fans, she maintains that she isn’t quite certain when she might reteam with Sugarland partner Kristian Bush again. 

“There are lots of ways to tell stories,” the multihyphenate reflects. “While music is obviously my first love, I’ve been expanding over the past 10 years into TV and film and theatre. That’s mostly been on the scripted side, but it’s fun to do unscripted things, too. It’s all worked out wonderfully well.” 

Farmer Wants a Wife premieres Wednesday, March 8 on Fox