It was Disney/ABC day at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena on Saturday (1/9). During the executive session with entertainment chief Paul Lee, the question was asked if there will be a black Bachelor cast on the popular reality show franchise, anytime. soon. In the 20 seasons The Bachelor has been airing on ABC, there has yet to be a black Bachelor or Bachelorette.
“Yeah, yeah, we’re doing a whole lot of tweaks,” Lee told the assembled journalists. “We had a Latino Bachelor [Season 18’s Juan Pablo Galavis], obviously. We’re doing a whole lot of tweaks. We have The Farm Team, right? Which allows us to pick the next one. But I’d be very surprised if The Bachelorette in the summer wasn’t diverse. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said that, but I think that’s likely to happen. I think the tweaks that Mike Fleiss [Bachelor producer] have put in place will get us where we want to go.”
It sounds like a black Bachelorette will lead to a more diverse case of suitors, which will eventually lead to more diverse Bachelor casting–considering the Bachelor/Bachelorette is usually chosen from the pool of rejected cast members from a previous season of the series.
Another bit of intel to come out of the executive session concerns the musical drama, Nashville. The ratings have been low throughout its run, but once it hit season 3, conventional wisdom guaranteed a season 4 in order to bank enough episodes for syndication. Now that syndication requirements have been fulfilled, will Nashville get a fifth season?
“We don’t have any plans to finish Nashville,” Lee said. “We have an incredibly passionate audience. The Nashville audience grows by a large amount in our delay viewings. No, at this point, no plans for Nashville other than to keep it going.”
Nashville ratings saw big gains in the Live + 7 numbers, with its fall finale raising 125 percent in the 18-49 demographic (from .8 to 1.8). But are those delayed viewers watching the ads? Lee may be committed to the show, or just blowing smoke to keep advertisers interested while the show is still airing.