As “The Golden Bachelor” nears the end of Gerry Turner’s journey of love, new and seasoned “Bachelor” Nation fans are all wondering the same thing: will there be a “Golden Bachelorette?”
While nothing is official yet, showrunners for the ABC reality dating series feel “hopeful” about the odds of another spin-off.
“We know that if we do [“Golden Bachelorette”], it will be very different,” co-showrunner Jason Ehrlich told TheWrap. “We’re really interested to see how that will play out, but hope that we do get the opportunity and that we get the same genuine feeling of reasonable people who are looking for love.”
Co-showrunner Claire Freeland added that the team is “standing by” for a potential green light from the network. “[With] the success of ‘Golden Bachelor,’ and the fact that it’s resonating so much with people, hopefully, there’s another iteration of that that happens, but we’ll wait and see.”
“I love the idea of a ‘Golden [Bachelor in] Paradise,’” co-showrunner Bennett Graebner joked, referencing “Bachelor” franchise spin-off “Bachelor in Paradise.” “60- [and] 70-year-olds hitting the beach — sign us up — sounds fun!”
Below, Ehrlich, Freeland and Graebner walk through the choice to pursue three hometown dates on Turner’s season, how fantasy suites were approached and the show’s widespread support from “Bachelor” Nation.
TheWrap: This season, viewers were surprised to see only three hometown dates, as opposed to the traditional four hometowns on “The Bachelor.” Why did you choose to only pursue three hometowns instead of four?
Ehrlich: That was more of a function of the one-hour format, but also that this is a new version of a hometown, where you have someone going to meet not just their family, but kids and grandkids. We wanted to basically leave space for all of those conversations, rather than having to rush through all of it. Three just seemed to fit well.
Graebner: There’s going to be some changes when you go from ten two-hour episodes to eight one-hour episodes. We started with only 22 women — only three hometown dates — That’s just what’s going to happen.
Freeland: [We had] two dates per episode instead of three — just runtime.
It seems like that spilled over into fantasy suites being with just two women. I’d love to hear about that choice and how you approached fantasy suites for this new format as well.
Ehrlich: We will hear the phrase “knockin’ boots” more times than we ever expected or anticipated… It was important to show these people at this age for who they really are, and to show the world that, as long as we’re breathing, we have life in us and that there’s an opportunity for overnight dates.
While there are only two of them, and only three hometowns, what happens in both of those episodes, it’s pretty unbelievable, and really leaves Gerry in a position where he has these impossible decisions to make. People are going to be shocked in both of those episodes by what happens and what goes down.
Graebner: I was a little surprised that we got that question, prior to shooting — the question of, “will there be fantasy suites?” I mean, of course there will be fantasy suites. Just because you turn 60 or 70 doesn’t mean you don’t crave that same level of intimacy. Now what a fantasy suite means to Gerry and the women who were there, that’s up to them. What they choose to do or not do or talk about or not talk about — that’s up to them.
Freeland: Whatever they choose to do in there is the same as what we tell anyone going into the fantasy suite at any time: it’s entirely your decision and at your own discretion. [It] was no different here.
Ehrlich: I think people will see themselves in Gerry and these women. [It] opens up really great conversations to be able to say, “yeah, I’m in my 60s or 70s, and I still like to knock boots, as they say.” [It] gives an opportunity to see [people in that age range] more as people and less as just, “that’s my grandpa,” or “that’s my dad.” They are humans — they are people. They’ve lived these rich lives and they’re still active.
“The Golden Bachelor” seems to attract a new demographic of “Bachelor” Nation through senior women and men, and has hooked many fans’ parents. Have you been noticing an uptick in senior members of Bachelor nation?
Freeland: I’ve been making the show for 10 years, and [my dad has] barely watched a stitch of it. With “Golden,” he’s constantly calling me after every episode, because he can’t believe someone went home.
People have been asking for this show — this is the iteration that I think has been requested more than any other over the years of this franchise. I also think that there’s a younger group of people who are sampling the show, again, and they seem to be really responding. It is an all-inclusive program — You can watch it safely and comfortably with your parents or your kids or your grandparents. I’m not surprised of the broadness of its appeal.
Graebner: All I know is I’m getting blown up by my mom’s friends, so something must have changed.
Ehrlich: I sadly lost my mother about two years ago, and one thing that kills me [is that] she would have loved to watch the show — she would have definitely thought Gerry is a hunk. My father [and I] were having conversations about how he felt that he was really living in the past, and I think through Gerry, he has given him the idea that there is a future, there is a present — there’s a lot more. My dad signed up for a dating website two weeks ago — I know he can’t be the only one saying, “I’m gonna get back out there,” whether they’re 60s or 70s. I hope we’re having that effect on people.
The Golden Bachelor” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.