ABC may be ready to cast off to Paradise, but are Bachelor Nation contestants ready? A new report indicates that there may be trouble in Paradise – trouble finding cast members willing to compete. What’s the problem, and can ABC fix it?
Scandal Involving Chris Harrison & Rachael Kirkconnell
Multiple former contestants and leads from the franchise have spoken out in the last few months. In February, Chris Harrison came under fire for his interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. She has a new gig as a correspondent on Extra.
Chris Harrison was appearing on the entertainment show to speak about the controversy surrounding Season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. Photos that some found to be racially insensitive leaked online shortly after Matt James’ season began. Taken in 2018, Rachael and her friends pose at an antebellum-themed party.
Some felt that rather than denouncing racist behavior, Chris Harrison was defending it. Due to the backlash, he is on a temporary hiatus from his hosting duties. So far, we know that he won’t be hosting Katie Thurston’s season of The Bachelorette. ABC has yet to announce any plans beyond that.
Bachelor Nation Alums Deserting Franchise
Due to ABC’s slow response in addressing allegations of racism within the franchise, alums are fed up. Another issue is the bullying among the women that viewers saw happen during Season 25.
Many Bachelor Nation alums have spoken out in support of a temporary hosting change. Very few have suggested that ABC fire Chris Harrison completely.
However, insiders tell E! Online that many within the franchise aren’t sure where to go from here. According to the source, the former contestants worry about the focus of Bachelor in Paradise.
The insider said, “Some are wondering what direction the season will take and are curious if it will strictly focus on contestants falling in love.”
Furthermore, the source reveals that alums are “removing themselves from the franchise” over the controversy.
That doesn’t bode well for Season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there wasn’t a season of the popular dating competition last summer. That should give the network a huge field of contestants to choose from.
my favorite thing about watching old seasons of bachelor in paradise is seeing the finale with the excessive declarations of love then googling to see that each couple lasted either 2 weeks, 6 months, or never legally got married in the US— Cassie (@Angry_Cassie) March 30, 2021
But ABC isn’t losing hope. A different insider revealed that for the first time, former leads might show up in Paradise. Usually the cast is made up for former contestants. However, as the insider points out, the network has “two years worth” of Bachelor Nation alums.
And the network reportedly already put out feelers to some big names in the franchise.
One Bachelor Star is a Hard No to BiP
There is one person from The Bachelor that fans should definitely not expect to see. After the heartbreaking end to his season, Matt James is adamant that he won’t appear in the franchise again.
He ultimately gave his final rose to Rachael Kirkconnell, knowing nothing about the brewing scandal. However, after the photos leaked online, Matt James ended his relationship with Rachael.
Another source told E! Online that the contestants from Season 25 “are not” in consideration for Bachelor in Paradise. Blake Horstmann said recently that none of the women are “likable” enough for the audience to root for them.
But Blake himself is in high demand to appear on BiP, sources report. Becca Kufrin and Tia Booth are two other Bachelor Nation alum that the network is eyeing.
Filming for Bachelor in Paradise will reportedly begin in June. Katie Thurston’s season of The Bachelorette is currently filming.
Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming Bachelor Nation seasons.