The world and internet we live in are constantly flooded with spoilers — which makes keeping a secret from sleuthing TV viewers is almost impossible.
“Bachelor” producer Mike Fleiss first began drumming up the suspense for big news last Wednesday (Feb. 8), tweeting, “The history making, historic announcement could be the most-historic in the history of #thebachelor !!!” Fleiss followed up with another hint on Twitter three days later saying the news “actually doesn’t involve #thebachelor” — and on Sunday (Feb. 12), he revealed, “We’ve decided to let our friend @jimmykimmel make historic announcement during tomorrow night’s show.”
Now, here we are on Monday night (Feb. 13), just after the most recent episode of “The Bachelor” aired, and it turns out the popular reality dating TV series is spoiling itself on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” After 14 years, and a total of 33 cycles of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” combined, the first person of color is finally sitting in the power seat.
Rachel Lindsay, an attorney from Texas, already made history by being the first black contestant to win the First Impression rose on Nick Viall’s season — and now she’ll be the first African-American “Bachelorette” star.
However, Rachel, an early fan favorite, is still competing on Nick’s cycle of “The Bachelor.”
So, even though it’s exciting to learn that a smart, educated, beautiful woman with a sparkling personality in that petite frame is going to be “The Bachelorette,” it’s hard not to think about two obvious issues: One, that this “premature” announcement is actually about 32 seasons too late… And two, that this news is a bit premature, as Rachel is still in contention to be Nick’s future bride. Why did producers ruin their own show? That seems kind of crazy, right?
Not so much. Executive Producers Mike Fleiss and Elan Gale are actually thinking big picture. They’re hoping to cut out the flack the series will inevitably receive when Rachel, the only African American contestant left on Nick’s season, is sent home. Their fingers are crossed this announcement will abate the backlash from viewers lamenting about, yet again, having to watch a white man pick between three white women.
And there’s another big reason to prematurely announce Rachel as their next “Bachelorette” — ABC now has more time to promote her upcoming season. In fact, as viewers watch the next week’s highly anticipated hometown date episode, instead of being bummed that it’s a waste of time, we’ll get to meet Rachel’s family and scope out where she grew up. This will serve as our first chance to get to know the next “Bachelorette” better — you couldn’t ask for better advance publicity.
Based on social media numbers and followers, Rachel is far behind fellow contestants like Vanessa and Corinne in reach. And even though it becomes many former competitors’ main source of income, history shows that producers have never cared too much about Instagram and Twitter followers in making their final casting decisions. Nor is this the first time they’ve chosen to spoil the outcome of their current show to promote the next one.
ABC announced Nick would be the next star of “The Bachelor” while he was still competing on “Bachelor in Paradise.” At the time, many viewers believed he was about to commit to Jen — that Nick was a changed man, ready to settle down. But then Nick was revealed as Season 21’s Bachelor, and audiences had to the watch the inevitable break-up of Nick and Jen on “Paradise.” It could be argued that if Nick truly was in love with Jen he would’ve turned down the offer to be “The Bachelor,” but… We’re talking about Nick here. The man is practically the poster boy of Bachelor Nation. There’s very little he wouldn’t do to keep the reality TV fame going. Nick has no other current occupation to speak of, or a more interesting story to tell, other than being he’s the longest running “Bachelor” contestant of all time.
For the same reason viewers kept watching “Paradise” even after Nick’s “Bachelor” news was revealed, we sadistically want to see how Nick and Rachel end things. Do they leave on good terms? Does Rachel leave because Corinne is so obnoxious? Or does Rachel walk away from Nick in tears, utterly heartbroken? We have to see how this plays out, amiright?
So although it’s way delayed, “Hooray” for Bachelor Nation finally getting on the diversity train. The franchise needed to start somewhere, and Rachel is a fantastic choice. She’s fun to watch, and someone we can easily cheer for in her search to find love, even if it’s on this ridiculous show. We will never give up on the power of some of these romances — Trista and Ryan, Sean and Catherine, Kaitlyn and Shawn — and if it’s a short list, it’s an important one. Here’s hoping we get to add Rachel and [insert worthy suitor’s name here] after next season.
“The Bachelor” airs on Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.