Season 26 of The Bachelor debuted to a much smaller audience than season 25. Loud TV line, just 3.8 million viewers tuned in to see the first episode of Clay Echard’s season of The Bachelor, compared to 5.2 million who watched the previous season’s premiere, which starred the first black bachelor, Matt James. The downward spiral in ratings has been fairly constant.
“The Bachelorette” suffers a similar fate. The Hollywood Reporter claims that the premiere of Michelle Young’s season 18 “opened well below last season’s debut and had the smallest premiere audience ever.” Although both the debuts The Bachelor and The Bachelorette won their slots in the 18-49 age group, both have consistently slipped in overall ratings for years.
Rankings by TV Insider show that season 17 of The Bachelorette starring Katie Thurston was the least watched season up to that point. This was also the first season without Chris Harrison as host.
Will The Bachelor be canceled?
The downward trend in ratings for The Bachelor franchise raises concerns about its future. There are definitely signs of trouble, such as ABC’s decision not to air back-to-back seasons of The Bachelor, originally scheduled for 2022. Regardless, there will be at least one more season of “The Bachelor” as ABC announced it will renew the series and plans to begin filming Season 27. It is not yet known who the next Bachelor will be.
Many fans and critics have long been dissatisfied with the direction the franchise is taking. A fan tweeted “Bring back the old Bachelor basics!” Others Twitter users complained, “I will NEVER understand the popularity of ‘The Bachelor’. It’s poorly written, the female/male is fake AF and most of all the show is cheesy as hell.”
Popsugar blogger and dedicated fan Maggie Panos wrote, “What was once a well-intentioned search for love has turned into a sideshow. Quarrels between cast members are encouraged behind the scenes, candidates cut from the lead role are allowed back on set for the sake of drama, and the finale was chaotic. At the closing rose ceremony – if there is one at all for the season – even die-hard fans like me groaned that they can’t wait for things to end.”
What can be done to save the show?
The series isn’t dead yet, so what can fans do to make it better? One suggestion is to diversify the cast, not only in terms of ethnicity, which the franchise has been working on lately, but also in terms of body type. A Reddit user wrote, “I wouldn’t mind seeing some body diversity on the show. I understand that society has taught us to want to see skinny people on TV, but with so many body positivity movements, I think it’s about time The Bachelor franchise caught up.
Another recommendation for improving the show is to choose leads and admirers who are actually in it for love and not just for their 15 minutes of fame. The phrase “being there for the right reasons” is used extensively on the show, and a common storyline reviews those contestants who aren’t. Panos adds, “I’m all for inviting some candidates who might be there for the wrong reasons, but the majority of them should be on the same page.”
Some viewers believe that the show would be better if it stopped focusing so much on the bullies and the catfights and devoted more time to the romance like it did in the beginning. The show has been accused of creating and even writing the drama, which has damaged its credibility.
A Quora user wrote, “From what I have read and understood, there are a lot of people manipulating this TV show. Whether it’s the multiple producers or the higher ups in the network.”
Another spectator posted on Reddit“I can’t believe anyone thinks this is really about ‘The Bachelor(ette)’ ‘Finding Love,'” to which Another poster replied, “Oh fuck yeah, this show is more fake than the faces of the Kardashians. Anyone who really thinks this show is about finding love is super naive and has a lot to learn.”
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