It’s been over a decade since The Bachelor franchise launched, and in all that time, there hasn’t been a single African-American or Asian Bachelor or Bachelorette. In fact, out of 20 seasons of The Bachelor and 11 seasons of The Bachelorette, the franchise has only featured one non-white lead, Latino Juan Pablo Galavis.
None of this is news, obviously. In fact, critics and fans alike have been voicing their concern for quite a while now about the show’s staggering lack of diversity and pervasive whiteness. The simple fact is that the show’s contestants in no way represent the real world and the criticism has been getting (rightfully) louder.
Earlier this week at the TCA (Television Critics Association) conference in Los Angeles, the panel for the Lifetime scripted series UnReal (which is centered around a reality dating show) announced that the star of its second season would be a black Bachelor-type character. So basically, we’re getting a fictitious bachelor of color, even before The (actual) Bachelor makes any kind of move.
ABC President Paul Lee addressed these diversity concerns at TCA, and hinted that we might possibly see more diversity in the upcoming seasons of the popular franchise. According to Variety, Lee said, “We’re doing a whole lot of tweaks. We have the farm team, right, which allows us to then pick the next one. But I’d be very surprised if The Bachelorette in the summer isn’t diverse.”
While we realize that’s a rather vague statement, the fact that the president of the network is addressing such concerns gives us hope, as does his reference to the “farm team.” The farm team is the pool of contestants vying for the heart of the Bachelor or Bachelorette each season. So far the casting of those contestants has been far more diverse than the casting of the leads. Still, we’d like to see some real changes up ahead. As would UnReal’s executive producer, Sarah Gertrude. “There are few things more pressing than this conversation,” she said at TCA.
We couldn’t agree more.
[Images via Twitter and ABC]