By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS) — “3” is the new CBS dating reality show that follows three women looking for true love, and two of the cast members are Chicagoans.

They tell CBS 2’s Jim Williams that they’re actually learning a lot about dating from being on the series.

The show “3” is described as an emotional journey to love. But the two Chicago members of the cast, April Francis and Rachel Harley, were reluctant to make that journey right after the show reached out to them.

“I thought it was kind of nuts, but it snowballed,” April says.

“I had a few days where I thought absolutely not, no way,” Rachel says.

Rachel’s mother, Terri Ast, even grilled the show’s producers.

“I don’t want to see her get hurt,” she says. “I want to make sure that it was on the up and up and that what they were saying was real.”

It’s understandable Terri would want to protect her daughter. Rachel, 34, a pharmaceutical rep, is a widow with two young children.

Her husband, Kit, died of brain cancer two years ago.

“One of the biggest things I say is I don’t want someone to fill Kit’s shoes. He did that on his own,” she says.

Her late husband was “just an amazing person, an amazing man, an amazing husband, an amazing father,” she adds.

April, 29, who runs her own business as an event planner and stylist, has never been married. But she’d like walk down the aisle, eventually.

And toward that end, for the first time in her life, April says she’s learning how to date, thanks to the show.

“I think I was really doing it wrong,” she said.  “It makes so much more sense for me, and I think for everyone, to just become friends first and to develop a meaningful relationship outside of (romance). But the romance has got to be there.”

Both April and Rachel say along with finding the right man, they hope “3” offers positive messages.

April wants to convince young girls that nerds rule.

“A lot of the people I admire are really smart, and I think they consider themselves nerds,” she says.

For Rachel, it’s a chance to show life goes on after tragedy.

“For the people that are in my same situation, it takes a lot of guts and a lot of strength to be ready to move on and not feel guilty about it,” she says.

“3” airs at 8 p.m. on Sundays on CBS.

Join Rachel for a special viewing of the premier of “3” from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. this Sunday. The party includes pizza, beer and wine, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Harley Helping Hands. Click here for more information.