Much has been made over the lack of diversity on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
On Thursday, new ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey gave assurances that changes may be coming in regard to how the “bachelor” and “bachelorette” are picked in the first place, in an effort to more accurately reflect the country today.
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“I would very much like to see some changes there,” Dungey, the first black woman to lead a major broadcast network, said at ABC’s summer Television Critics Association press day of the franchise’s diversity issue.
“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 there aren’t as many candidates to ultimately end up in the role of the next Bachelor or Bachelorette,” she added. “That is something we want to put some energy and effort towards.”
Last month, ET learned that the next season of The Bachelor will either feature Luke Pell or Chase McNary, both white, and who were finalists on JoJo Fletcher’s recent season of The Bachelorette.
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When asked what the chances were for The Bachelor or The Bachelorette to stray from that status quo, Dungey said it’s always a possibility for them to go rogue: “We could.”
“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 very engaged in helping to choose that candidate,” she explained. “I think what we’d like to try to do is widen the pool of choices.”
While ABC has yet to feature a black Bachelor heading into its 21st season, Lifetime’s UnREAL -- a scripted drama set in a world that mirrors The Bachelor -- has dived headfirst in dealing with the realities of doing so.
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Longtime Bachelor and Bachelorette host Chris Harrison has been vocal about his distaste for the hour-long drama, calling it “terrible” in a 2015 interview. Dungey was far more diplomatic in her response.
“I don’t think we’ve ever actually had a full network conversation about UnREAL,” she said. “I enjoy watching it as a viewer, however. I think that those two women are incredibly compelling.”