An on-set incident is threatening to ding one of the biggest reality franchises on television, The Bachelor. The most recent iteration of ABC’s “looking for love” programming genre, Bachelor In Paradise has been making headlines for a recent incident in which two participants allegedly “looked for love” while fractured.
With production on the series suspended after only a couple of days of filming, it appears unlikely that ABC will air a new season of the hook-up reality series in August as scheduled. ABC had indicated that it will make a final decision until the investigation by the legal tam at producer Warner Bros. TV is completed, a process expected to take 1-2 weeks.
But, on Tuesday, the network floated the idea Bachelor in Paradise might not return. The floating happened on Good Morning America. Returning from an ad break on the ABC News program, Michael Strahan told viewers:
“We are back now with those shocking allegations about sexual misconduct on Bachelor in Paradise. Production has been stopped,” he said, throwing to ABC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo. If you had money on her having opened the report with “Trouble in paradise” – congratulations!
Word broke last weekend that production on the show, scheduled to debut its new season in early August, had suspended indefinitely, after an allegation of sexual misconduct. Warner Bros. has issued a statement, highlights of which GMA put on screen:
“We have become aware of allegations of misconduct…we are conducting a thorough investigation of theses allegations.”
Contestant DeMario Jackson and a “fellow contestant” reportedly engaging in a sex act while they were “both intoxicated” ABC News reported on GMA, as the words:
appeared on screen in an apparent homage to Claude Rains performance as Capt. Louis Renault, being shocked (shocked!) to learn there’s gambling was going on at Ricks as he’s handed his winnings.
“And now, concerns the Female Contestant was allegedly too drunk to consent,” Schiavocampo reported, as
“ALLEGEDLY TOO DRUNK TO CONSENT”
appeared on screen.
For its report on this very serious legal matter, ABC News went all out, interviewing a People magazine writer.
The alleged incident reportedly took place on the very first day of shooting for the upcoming season, ABC News said. Contestants reportedly had been drinking all day, when Jackson and Female Contestant began “an encounter” in the pool, Schiavocampo reported. But Female Contestant was allegedly so drunk didn’t remember any of it following day and, after the watching footage, a producer on the show was so disturbed they filed an official complaint, Schiavocampo added.
In its version of the incident, TMZ (hey, ABC News got its intel from People magazine!) reported Female Contestant may be alleging she was too drunk to consent to “look for love” and may be claiming producers should have protected her, and may have lawyer-ed up.
And the ick of that report, if accurate, could prove a show killer, particularly for a series that airs on a Disney-owned network.
ABC News did reach out to Jackson and Female Contestant for comment on its GMA report, but says it did not hear back.
Lucky thing People Magazine writer was available to inform ABC News this situation is serious enough to raise a lot of internal questions as to whether Bachelor in Paradise can continue, not just for this summer but ever. Because how would ABC News have gotten that information from anyone at ABC Entertainment?
ABC News is to be congratulated getting the “scoop” on BiP host Chris Harrison’s statement about the situation:
“The safety and care of the cast and crew of our show is of the utmost importance to us. It is with this thought in mind that we made the decision to suspend filming.”
Harrison said it is his “sincere” hope there is quick resolution and they “get back to work very soon.” But, maybe more realistically, Schiavocampo told the GMA team – including Strahan, Lara Spencer, Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos, who could not have looked less comfortable – “real questions now about the whole future of the series,” seeming to suggest ABC News, at least, thinks this one’s toast.
Particularly given that Robin Roberts added ominously, “I can understand why there would be questions about that right now.”