Ten’s ageing The Bachelor franchise has made an out-of-this-world move by picking an unknown geek as its new leading man, experts say.
After nearly burning down the house last year with ‘Honey Badger’ Nick Cummins – who dumped both his finalists – Ten has handpicked a Melbourne academic to restore intrigue to its flagship seven-year-old romality show.
Clark Kent lookalike Matt Agnew, 31, has a double undergraduate degree in science and engineering and a masters of astrophysics.
His PhD thesis aims “to use numerical techniques to search for dynamically stable planet candidates in the habitable zones of all known multiple planet systems”.
Oh, and he has a steady job at Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing. Unusually for a male on a dating show, he seemingly has no experience as a stripper.
Even more bizarre, Agnew has a private Twitter account and only one post on his Instagram account.
“I think it’s a good move. It has some curiosity appeal,” media analyst Steve Allen of Sydney’s Fusion Strategy told The New Daily, of using a boffin to reinvigorate The Bachelor.
Some past bachelors have struggled talking about anything deeper than a hotel pool.
“It’s very predictable putting sporting stars or people of that ilk into The Bachelor, so this is fascinating. The risk is, it depends on how appealing he is.
“In my youth, brainiacs weren’t the most sought-after people. Bad boys were. It’s unusual to have brainiacs as sexy or devil-may-care.
“This is the edge they’re sitting on. Is he purer than the driven snow or has he got a bit of character? But strategically they must have thought about this and have what they believe is the right talent.”
Media crisis specialist Nicole Reaney from Sydney’s InsideOut PR also believes it’s a “smart” tactic from Ten to reinvigorate The Bachelor with someone completely unexpected and unheralded.
“It will bring back a little more authenticity to the program, with more chance the bachelor is there for love and not profile,” she told The New Daily.
“Unless of course he plans on releasing a new astrophysicist book or course any time soon.”
Because Agnew has travelled internationally and was raised in Adelaide and Perth, it “interests a wider audience and creates buy-in”, Ms Reaney said.
“Matt [Agnew] will come with a clean slate and offer viewers the chance to build an impression and connection with him.”
The show’s producer Hilary Innes acknowledged “old school” romance was missing from The Bachelor last season, and promised Agnew will bring “spades” of it back.
“He comes from such an interesting and different world.”
Hold the bus. If he’s so terrific, why does he need a TV show to find him a partner?
Agnew didn’t go into that in the Ten announcement of his signing, but said he will be “making sure I throw myself into it, be vulnerable and enjoy what comes from that”.
His lady wish-list looks fairly typical for any dating show candidate. He wants a “genuine” woman “who enjoys having a laugh, doesn’t take herself too seriously and has a real passion for life”.
A happy ending depends, of course, on the bachelorettes chosen as Agnew’s dating pool.
They’ll have to be able to hold up their end in a conversation rather than just being goers who look thrilled while hang-gliding or being presented with the inevitable cheese board.
Ten promised the women are “an outstanding group of hopefuls” who will soar on screen with their brainy bachelor.
Production on the series began in Sydney this week, and the show will debut later this year.
Mr Allen said apart from their unorthodox bachelor choice, Ten probably won’t tinker with the vanilla vibe of The Bachelor to make it a Married at First Sight lite.
“The Bachelor is an entirely different kettle of fish [to MAFS] and the odd thing is it’s a bit like my comment about brainiacs and bad boys.
“It’s fairly wholesome, so it’s probably an easier advertising sell.”