With Warner Bros. continuing its investigation into alleged misconduct on the set of “Bachelor in Paradise,” ABC personnel has been tight-lipped about the show’s future. But, engulfed in controversy, the reality series appears all but certain not to air this summer.
Warner Bros. Television confirmed Sunday that production on season four of “Bachelor in Paradise” had been shut down in the wake of “allegations of misconduct” on set. Multiple media reports have alleged the instigating incident involved an inappropriate sexual encounter between two contestants on the reality dating show, though neither the studio nor network have confirmed those stories.
ABC is waiting for the Warner Bros. investigation to draw to a close before it will give official word on the show’s fate — but considering production and scheduling realities, the writing is on the wall.
Both ABC and Warner Bros. have denied that the show has been canceled.
“I don’t think there’s even a question of, is this the end of ‘Bachelor in Paradise?’ But as for the franchise — who knows how bad is it? What is the truth?” says a top unscripted producer who works on numerous reality dating series.
“ABC is owned by Disney. There is no way that company is going to get anywhere near this situation,” the producer says, in light of allegations of non-consensual sex published yesterday by TMZ. “We do not know the extent of this situation.”
Aside from the bad press, another potentially insurmountable hurdle for getting the show back on the air this summer is the fact that the cast has been effectively disbanded. A fan of the show on Sunday posted on Instagram a photo of most of the new season’s cast members in the airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. By the following day, multiple cast members were tweeting from their hometowns in the United States. On Monday, People magazine quoted one anonymous cast member saying, “People had planned their lives around this. Contestants quit their jobs for this. We all had to step away from our real lives for three weeks.”
Even if cast members could be regathered at the original location or a new one, the slated Aug. 4 premiere date presents a daunting target. At the very least, ABC, which has declined to comment on scheduling for the show, deferring to Warner Bros., would have to push the premiere date on a new season.
It also appears unlikely that Warner Bros. would be able cobble together a significant number of episodes from what has already been shot, given that the production was still in very early shooting stages — according to reports, the alleged incident that sparked the production suspension occurred just on the first day of shooting.
While this season’s cancellation appears to be imminent, the investigation is still underway — and that could potentially lead to even more problems.
“There is no way that Warner Bros. would be shutting down production on that show unless something happened that they could not possibly defend,” the same reality producer suggests. “You’re talking about a franchise that is worth millions of dollars to ABC. For them to shut the whole thing down and send everybody home and walk away, something happened that was not right.”