The Bachelor is once again being criticized for not being diverse enough. Zap2it explained on Thursday that there’s been a lot of criticism of The Bachelor over the years because there’s never been an African-American lead. ABC’s president recently came out in an interview to let fans of The Bachelor know that more effort will be made to make sure upcoming seasons of the long-running reality TV dating game show will feature a more diverse set of cast members.
Channing Dungey, ABC’s president since last February, said on Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles that her predecessors didn’t try very hard to make sure the “lead singleton” was diverse enough. According to Us Magazine on Thursday, most of the problems stemmed from the fact that The Bachelor was usually chosen from the previous season.
Previous cast members from the last cycle typically carry over into the next cycle depending on who viewers are most rooting for. Zap2it even says that the sets of losers from previous seasons usually aren’t people of color, resulting in a continuous cycle of only Caucasian bachelors.
Dungey wants to switch things up a bit and begin the next new seasons of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette with a whole new diverse cast from the “get-go.”
“Part of what ends up happening as we go along is that there just aren’t as many candidates to ultimately end up in the role of the next Bachelor or Bachelorette.”
However, Dungey somewhat contradicted herself during the 2016 TCA summer press tour interview. When asked if she could just pick a non-white bachelor, Dungey explained that the show may lose some of its audience engagement.
The Bachelor has hung on for 20 long seasons with an audience of mainly adult viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, who can only be assumed are probably mainly female viewers and possibly also mainly Caucasian, an assumption that can be deduced from what Dungey said in the interview. According to Dungey, the network fears that just choosing a more diverse lead without letting the audience participate would hurt The Bachelor’s ratings.
As reported by Us Magazine, Dungey acknowledged that an African-American bachelor could be “anointed,” but she didn’t seem too excited about doing that.
“We could,” said Dungey, but she went on to say that the most logical solution to increasing the diversity of The Bachelor is to just start choosing a more diverse “pool of faces” for The Bachelorette.
The chosen bachelor for a new season of The Bachelor is usually one of the losers from the previous season of The Bachelorette and is usually the first runner-up. But Dungey says the audience also plays a huge role in choosing a new bachelor.
“When asked later if the audience’s investment in the next cycle’s lead is more important than featuring a person of color, Dungey says they would really like find a person who fits both bills.”
Zap2it also shared that ABC has already had a chance to make both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette more diverse with Marquel Martin, an African-American male from Season 10 of The Bachelorette, and Caila Quinn, who’s half-Filipino, from Season 20 of The Bachelor, but failed. Both were popular contestants with the viewers, but ABC instead chose Chris Soules over Marquel Martin and Joelle Fletcher over Caila Quinn.
Always starting out with a more diverse cast of contestants would increase the chances of a person of color making it to the end of The Bachelor more often and possibly becoming the next new bachelor. But it looks like there’s no chance of that happening until maybe Season 13 of The Bachelorette. According to Hollywood Take, the next new bachelor for Season 21 of The Bachelor will likely be either Luke Pell or Chase McNary from Season 12 of The Bachelorette.
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