Forget the most DRAMATIC ROSE CEREMONY OF ALL-TIME for a moment.
Fans of The Bachelor are currently suffering through the MOST DRAMATIC SCHEDULE RELEASE OF ALL-TIME.
In the wake of ABC coming out with a 2021/2022 schedule that does not include this long-running romantic competition, viewers are now left to wonder whether The Bachelor has actually been canceled.
This isn’t just baseless speculation, either.
The franchise went through its most controversy-filled season to date this winter, as Matt James was named the show’s first-ever Black lead.
The topic of race them dominated nearly every episode, especially after a bunch of social media posts by eventual winner Rachael Kirkconnell were exposed to the world.
These photos and messages were years old, yet they featured Kirkconnell, for example, attending a plantation-themed party as recently as 2018.
Due to his mishandling of the scandal, Chris Harrison had to issue multiple apologies, even announcing he’d be stepping away as host for an undetermined period of time.
Some fans were angry over the loss of Harrison.
Other fans were angry over how overtly edited, scripted and manipulated Season 25 turned out to be.
And still other fans simply grew sick of the drama and the politics.
Would ABC really dump the series, though? While it still earns ratings, not to mention buzz all around the Internet?
At the network’s upfront presentation late last week, Craig Erwich, President of ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals, told Deadline that he was excited for Bachelor in Paradise this summer.
He also touched on the back-to-back seasons of The Bachelorette, the first of which will feature Katie Thurston; and the second, set to air this fall, with Michelle Young.
But he remained mum on The Bachelor.
Mostly mum, that is.
“We’ll have more to share on The Bachelor itself soon enough,” Erwich simply told Deadline.
Former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will host Thurston’s upcoming season of the show.
Beyond that, however, the future of Harrison remains unclear — and, in likely related news, the future of the franchise in general remains unclear.
It seems impossible to believe that The Bachelor is over, but it does sound as if The Bachelor as we’ve always known it may be over.
There’s been chatter over bringing Colton Underwood on as the first gay Bachelor, for instance.
Rob Mills — who was recently promoted to EVP, Unscripted and Alternative Entertainment, Walt Disney Television — also told Deadline that spinoffs are under consideration for Disney +.
Case in point: a version with just senior citizens.
“It is 100% a franchise,” Mills told Deadline of all the expansion opportunities.
“To me, I would put this at least on the television side as important a franchise to the Disney company as any of the other ones that we have that are full-time jobs, whether it’s Marvel or Lucasfilm.
“In the same way that Lucasfilm is not just Star Wars anymore, it’s The Mandalorian… it’s the same thing with The Bachelor.
“You have to take care of this and there’s quality control. That’s really important.”
So you can rest each, residents of Bachelor Nation.
The show may not be back in January.
But it will be back in some form or another in the near future.
Until then, Thurston debuts as The Bachelorette on Monday, June 7 at 8/7c on ABC.
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