“The Bachelorette” has just ended its season 12 run, and fans are now speculating as to which of JoJo Fletcher’s former suitors will end up to be the next “Bachelor.” While viewers are hoping that their favorite will end up as the one who will give out roses next year, new ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey has her own take on casting the next season of the reality show, as well as future seasons of the entire “Bachelor” franchise.
At the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday, Aug. 4, Dungey said (via Us Weekly), “I would very much like to see a change there. 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.”
The franchise has been criticized for the lack of diversity of its cast, particularly when it comes to its leads. Prior to Fletcher’s casting in the series, it was reported that Caila Quinn, who was one of Ben Higgins’ finalists in his season of “The Bachelor,” was going to be named as the new “Bachelorette.”
Many thought that this signaled a change for the franchise, as Quinn is of American and Filipino descent. However, it was reported that a last-minute change was done and Fletcher was cast instead. At the time, a source told E! Online that the producers had nothing against Quinn, but Fletcher’s storyline was “just so compelling.”
Dungey added that not too many diverse candidates end up in the role of the next “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette,” and that it is a problem that they want to “put some effort and energy towards.”
When asked whether the franchise could eschew its formula of picking a lead from former contestants and naming someone who wasn’t a contestant as the “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette,” Dungey said that it is a possibility.
“We could,” Dungey said. However, the ABC boss said that having the runner-up of a cycle as the lead in another series has worked well for them, as viewers feel engaged in helping choose the candidate.
“So I think what we’d like to try to do is just widen the pool of faces,” the executive said. Dungey also revealed that the announcement of the season 21 “Bachelor” would be “forthcoming.”
“The Bachelor” season 21 premieres in 2017 on ABC.