The Bachelor was conspicuously absent from ABC’s 2021/22 schedule or the bumper list of reality shows that it recently renewed ahead of today’s upfronts.
The long-running dating format is generally a lock for January but there’s still no official word on whether it will actually be back at the start of 2022.
Craig Erwich, who is now President of ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals, told Deadline that he was pretty hot on Bachelor in Paradise, which is airing this summer, and back-to-back seasons of The Bachelorette, one in June and one in fall.
But he didn’t comment on the status of the lynchpin of The Bachelor universe. “We’ll have more to share on The Bachelor itself soon enough,” he told Deadline.
One of the issues may be host Chris Harrison, who departed the shows for an undisclosed time period amid controversy over comments he made during an Extra interview, in which he defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who had posted photos that she attended an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal.
Former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, for instance, are hosting the upcoming seasons of the female version of the show.
It comes as Disney is potentially expanding the universe even further.
Rob Mills, who 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, told Deadline recently that he is considering Bachelor spinoffs for the streaming service.
He added that it was still working on the long-mooted senior citizens version of the franchise.
Mills said, “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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