Time for a new plan? Just days after the Bachelorette‘s season 12 finale revealed that JoJo Fletcher is engaged to Jordan Rodgers, ABC president Channing Dungey spoke at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles on Thursday, August 4, about whether the network is taking the right steps to continue finding diverse candidates to lead the franchise.
Dungey, who was hired as president in February, was asked by a reporter if she would make a greater effort than her predecessors to increase diversity, particularly for the series’ lead singleton.
“I would very much like to see some change there,” Dungey said. “And I think one of the biggest changes that we need to do is we need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning. Because 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. So that’s something we really want to put some effort and energy towards.”
But couldn’t the show just alter its typical template and anoint an African American Bachelor who wasn’t one of the 25 contestants from a previous season? (The Bachelor initially plucked Bachelors from obscurity before moving to its current model of promoting a key Bachelorette standout.) Dungey acknowledged the possibility of that happening, but didn’t seem excited about it.
“We could,” the exec said. “The show has been very much in a cycle where the first runner-up in one cycle becomes the person who leads the next cycle. And it’s worked very well for us because the audience feels really engaged in helping to choose that candidate, so I think what we’d like to try to do is just widen the pool of faces.”
In a later conversation with reporters, she said that the announcement of the season 21 Bachelor would be “forthcoming.”
Fans have gone back and forth recently over which guy should hand out the roses next year. Memorable season 12 standouts Chase McNary and Luke Pell have both expressed interest in the gig.
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