One week ago, “The Bachelorette” wrapped up its 13th season with Rachel Lindsay picking a winner — her fiance, Bryan Abasolo.
Lindsay left a handful of hopeful men still single, but the good news? They’re now all in the running to headline their own show and become “The Bachelor.” The bad news? A decision doesn’t have to come for quite some time because “The Bachelor” doesn’t premiere until January 2018 and won’t head into production until early this fall.
“The difference between ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette’ is with ‘Bachelorette,’ we go into filming pretty much three days after the ‘Bachelor’ finale airs. With this, we don’t start until the end of September, so we have about six weeks,” ABC’s head of alternative television Rob Mills explains to Variety. “We don’t have a ton of time, but we’re going to wait and see what the reaction is to the finale.”
The ABC executive says that anyone who was not chosen by Lindsay on “The Bachelorette’s” finale is in the running, but the network will also look at the audience’s reaction to “Bachelor in Paradise,” which kicks off its fourth season Monday night — that means finalists Peter Kraus, Eric Bigger, and Dean Unglert may have some competition from other cast members in Bachelor Nation.
“We truly believe the fans are the final producers here. We listen to them and see who they want cast as the Bachelor,” says Mills.
While the network has not decided on the next Bachelor, they do have some top choices.
“We have some strong ideas. We don’t have anything definitive. I think we’re leaning in a couple different directions,” Mills says. “But I probably would have said that last season and then Nick [Viall] came out of nowhere, so you just never know. I think it’s what is really the best story and who is really ready to find somebody.” (Last season of “The Bachelor” starred Nick Viall, who was a repeat contestant on ABC’s dating franchise, but hadn’t popped until “Bachelor in Paradise” the summer before his season, which ultimately landed him the leading role.)
Casting is currently underway for the female contestants of “The Bachelor” Season 22, and an insider tells Variety that Kraus is currently a favorite among the women who are coming into the casting calls.
Another fan-favorite is Unglert, who was sent home by Lindsay the week before the finale, and since, has said he does not want to be “The Bachelor.” However, his age — he’s only 26 — could impact his chances of being cast next season because casting executives fear he may be too young to want to find love, and the network wants the season and storylines to be authentic.
“That’s been a question mark with Dean — is he ready to find someone? He’s young,” Mills admits. “You’ll see that sort of play out on ‘Bachelor in Paradise,’ so maybe after ‘Bachelor in Paradise,’ he’s somebody we could consider. You look at everybody. I don’t want to say too much about it, but you’ll see his arc on ‘Bachelor in Paradise.'”
Last week after the finale, Lindsay gave her opinion on who should be the next Bachelor. “I actually think Alex should be the next Bachelor,” she said, referring to the contestant on her season who she sent home during week six. “I don’t think you got to see enough of him…He’s funny, quirky, handsome,” and “a serial monogamist.”