EXCLUSIVE: Bachelor Nation could be going digital with Disney weighing plans to launch original spinoffs on streaming service Hulu.
Rob Mills was recently promoted to EVP, Unscripted and Alternative Entertainment, Walt Disney Television, and part of that promotion handed him responsibility for overseeing unscripted for Hulu.
He told Deadline that Disney is absolutely considering Bachelor spinoffs for the streaming service.
“Hulu is an exciting possibility,” he said. “You can certainly experiment with all sorts of different long form Bachelor programming. You’re not hamstrung by running time or even standards. It’s definitely exciting. I think it’s early, but it’s certainly not something that we’re not thinking of.”
The Bachelor already consists of a slew of spinoffs including The Bachelorette, which is launching two seasons this year, one in the summer and one in the fall and Bachelor in Paradise, which is returning this summer. There have also been versions including Bachelor Pad and The Bachelor: Winter Games as well as musical spinoff The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart.
The latter is likely to be replaced in the ABC schedule by the long-mooted senior citizens version of the franchise, which is still in the works with Mills and his team.
Mills said that he was really proud of Listen to Your Heart. “Creatively, it stands alongside the best of what The Bachelor franchise can do. I think it probably was a little convoluted trying to mix the performance element with the love element and I think that something like the senior version is very clean,” he said. “I think that probably we’ll look for that going forward.”
The senior citizens version was floated last year with a casting call during an episode of The Bachelor with ABC looking for the “Grumpiest Old Men” and “Goldenest Girls”, searching for contestants over 65. Mills joked that during casting, they have found some incredible stories, including one woman who claimed that she has slept with a former President of the United States. “These people have great stories to tell,” he said. “That feels that’s a home run idea if we get it right.”
The franchise is now on track to almost have Bachelor programming on year-round, particularly with the extra order of The Bachelorette.
Mike Darnell, President, Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television, told Deadline that the team behind the show, which is produced by the studio in association with Next Entertainment, is used to the continuous workload. “That group is amazing and it is a lot of work. The group really knows what they’re doing. It’s huge but not overwhelming.”
Mills said that they treat The Bachelor franchise in the same way as an NFL franchise: Even in the offseason, they’re encouraging people to talk about it and plan ahead. “It is 100% a franchise. To me, I would put this at least on the television side as important a franchise to the Disney company as any of the other ones that we have that are full-time jobs, whether it’s Marvel or Lucasfilm. In the same way that Lucasfilm is not just Star Wars anymore, it’s The Mandalorian… it’s the same thing with The Bachelor. You have to take care of this and there’s quality control. That’s really important.”
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