Look for more non-white contestants on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” — soon.
“I would very much like to see some changes in ‘The Bachelor,” new ABC programming boss Channing Dungey told reporters at the Television Critics Association TV press tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday. “We need to increase pool of diverse candidates in the beginning.”
Dungey’s statement, carefully worded as it was, signaled that the network will get more involved in pushing the producers to make changes to improve diversity on a signature series. The lack of minority representation on the popular reality dating shows has become a growing source of concern for ABC, with many fans blasting programmers for relying on a TV franchise that looks far too white for today’s America.
Earlier this year, Dungey became the first black woman to oversee programming for a major broadcast network. Before she took over, ABC made a point to seek out culturally diverse programming, with such shows as “black-ish” and “Dr. Ken.”
But that has made the “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” issue stand out all the more. Dungey said the problem was that in recent seasons, the few minority contestants have been quickly eliminated each season, leaving the shows with a white bachelor or bachelorette choosing among a pool of white contenders.
“What we would like to try to do is widen the pool of choices,” she added.
However, getting more diversity into the “Bachelor” franchise may prove difficult in practice. Dungey’s predecessor, Paul Lee, also signaled that the network wanted to improve minority representation on the show. But many fans and critics have found the results so far lackluster.
JoJo Fletcher, of the just-concluded new season of the “Bachelorette,” is Iranian-American. She chose a white contestant, Jason Rodgers.