marquel-the-bachelorette-ABC-the-bachelor.jpgMarquel Martin was eliminated from “The Bachelorette” this week without much fanfare from Andi Dorfman. She appeared to like him fine, but he has never felt like a frontrunner, plus he didn’t leave under (relatively) much drama, so Marquel simply went quietly into that good night.

However, it’s kind of a boon for the franchise, though I don’t expect “The Bachelor” to capitalize on it.

But here is ABC and “The Bachelor’s” chance to have a non-white anchor of one of its shows. The show has had minority suitors and suitorettes, with more appearing in each cast since the racial discrimination lawsuit was filed (though surely those two things are unrelated, right?). But the leads have almost always been white, with Juan Pablo Galavis as the first Latino “Bachelor.”

One big reason is for this is that the show finally realized around 2007 that bringing back a fan favorite to anchor the next cycle was always the way to go because he or she has a built-in audience. And despite casting more non-white potential mates, none of them have made it far enough and therefore been enough of a presence on their initial season to be the next “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette.”

It’s not an excuse, but the programs are a TV franchise designed to make money, so I understand wanting to pick a beloved former contestant for the next round. It doesn’t always work out so great — look at the Juan Pablo debacle — but by and large, it seems to be a winning formula.

Do the fan favorites tend to be white? Yes, they do, and that’s another race discussion to be had, but the point here is that Marquel is a fan favorite. He’s been around long enough for the audience to get to know him, and the online response to him has been very favorable, especially in light to his graceful response to some alleged racism by a fellow contestant on this week’s show.

Should ABC pick a minority contestant to lead “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” just to say they did it? No. You want a proven brand whom the fans like and who is charismatic enough to anchor his or her own show. But that opportunity has just fallen in the network’s lap.

Marquel would make an outstanding next “Bachelor” and he’s who the network should choose. However, ABC is apparently leaning another way.

Warning: Minor spoilers below.

The online rumors are that Chris, the farmer from Iowa, is the frontrunner for next “Bachelor” and that Marquel is one of the three guys from Andi’s season participating in “Bachelor in Paradise.”

Bummer, and bad form, ABC. Here was your chance, and you didn’t take it.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."