New ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey laid out the network’s plan for a non-white choice to lead its “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” franchises.
Among the many things she inherited from her predecessor, Dungey — who’s the first black female to lead a major network — has shouldered the pressure of bringing diversity to the man and woman being courted on its long-running reality dating show.
“I would very much like to see some changes there,” she said of picking a minority bachelor and bachelorette during the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday.
“I think one of the biggest changes we need to do is we need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning,” Dungey continued. “Part of what ends up happening as we go along is that there aren’t as many candidates to pull out as the next bachelor or bachelorette.”
Dungey sounds as if she won’t trade ratings and fan engagement for simply making history. She’s looking for the process to be more organic and that could take another season or two.
“We could,” she said of just picking a non-white bachelor or bachelorette. “But the show has been very much in the cycle of where the first runner-up of one cycle becomes the person who leads the next cycle. That works really well for us, because the audience feels engaged.”
Part of the pressure of choosing a non-white bachelor comes from the Lifetime series “UnReal.” On its second season, the drama chose a black bachelor to lead the next season of its fictional “Bachelor”-like dating show.
When asked if ABC has had any conversations about “UnReal,” Dungey responded, “I don’t think we’ve had full network conversations on ‘UnReal.’ I enjoy watching it as a viewer.”
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