Nick Viall is helping to solve The Bachelor’s diversity problem—one rose at a time. Viall, who’s currently filming his fourth go-around on an ABC dating show, gave his first impression rose to a gorgeous African American woman, according to spoiler king Reality Steve. If you don’t think this is a big deal, let’s explain. In 32 previous combined seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, a person of color has never been the recipient of that first rose.
The lucky lady who received Viall’s all-important first impression rose is named Rachel Lindsay, and she is a total catch. The 31-year-old Dallas beauty is a lawyer, so she’s clearly a smart cookie. Nick Viall would be crazy not to notice her, so it’s not a shock that she caught his eye.
(SPOILER): Nick and his date at Cafe du Monde. They will then head to One Eyed Jacks for the LOLO performance pic.twitter.com/bH55rchyMh— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) October 12, 2016
Still, Reality Steve points out that Nick Viall is all about making good TV, and with his very first move that mission will definitely be accomplished. Viall’s one-on-one date with Lindsay in New Orleans makes it clear that they connected in a big way. Nick and his date are showing plenty of PDA in spoiler pics.
(SPOILER): And a still picture of them w their faces stuck together... pic.twitter.com/RV9YQu2cM0— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) October 12, 2016
Nick Viall turned up on two previous seasons of The Bachelorette and last summer’s Bachelor in Paradise, and he has reportedly been eyeing the lead Bachelor role for three years now. While Nick expressed shock at beating out frontrunners Luke Pell and Chase McNary for the coveted gig, Steve points out that Viall is extremely media savvy. Viall moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes after his first Bachelorette season, and he is very focused on pleasing the show’s producers.
So, what does this have to do with his first impression rose pick? It’s no secret that the woman who gets the first impression rose often makes it very far into the competition. In other words, Rachel Lindsay isn’t going back to the law firm anytime soon. Also, Bachelor producers have long been slammed for the show’s lack of diversity. With a black woman as a frontrunner, that will help to quell the controversy over the predominantly all-white cast.
Earlier this year, ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee hinted that the next star of The Bachelorette would likely not be white after the Bachelor franchise’s lack of ethnic diversity was called out.
“I’d be very surprised if [the Bachelorette] in the summer isn’t diverse,” Lee told reporters in January, according to TV Guide. “Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, but I think that’s likely to happen.”
Showrunner Mike Fleiss even posted a tweet that teased he was ready to make a change to the white leads on the show.
After 5 years of BBQ chicken as our Night One dinner, I'm thinking of mixing things up this year. Maybe a little Thai food... Yum!— Mike Fleiss (@fleissmeister) March 6, 2016
But after the announcement that Fletcher would be the new Bachelorette, Fleiss posted another tweet revealing that he chickened out.
I chickened out and went with BBQ chicken. If it ain't broke... #Bachelorette— Mike Fleiss (@fleissmeister) March 17, 2016
Indeed, while a more diverse Bachelorette was promised, JoJo Fletcher was cast as the lead, and she chose all-American white football player Jordan Rodgers as her final guy. (As a side note, Rodgers received Fletcher’s first impression rose and her first kiss.)
In fact, all 12 Bachelorette stars and 20 stars of The Bachelor have been white. The franchise has never featured a black male or female lead, and a person of color has never even made it to the final two spots in any season of the show. Venezuelan soccer player Juan Pablo Galavis remains the only “non-white” lead in the long history of the ABC reality franchise.
The Bachelor franchise clearly needs to embrace diversity like WETv did with the reality series Match Made in Heaven. The rival dating show starred Shawn Bullard, an African-American Philadelphia real estate developer. At the time, Bullard said he was ready to be the first black TV bachelor.
“For me, it was a great opportunity to show America that men of color, black men, are educated, are successful, we know how to court a woman,” he told Philly.com.
As for Nick Viall, Reality Steve makes it clear that he does not think Nick isn’t into Rachel Lindsay, or even that he chose her just because she is black. But it is an interesting theory that Nick is trying to do everything he can to appease the ABC hands that feed him by making this a more diverse season. And with any luck, Nick won’t give Rachel his final rose, and she’ll go on to become the next Bachelorette. Now that would be good TV.
Take a look at the video below for more on Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor.
[Featured Image by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for boohoo.com]