The Bachelor has been one of the most wildly successful reality TV shows in recent history.
So it’s little wonder that TV execs are toying with (more) spin-off models to milk the concept for all it is worth.
On Wednesday, Australia said G’day to its latest Bachie – Locky Gilbert, who you might recognise from the current season of Survivor: All Stars.
The announcement left some reality TV fans wanting.
We’ve had The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.
Overseas, studio heads are considering steering away from the spray-tanned 20-somethings and are considering something refreshingly different.
The ABC network in the US is testing the waters for a version of the show starring seniors.
Last week during an ad break in the regular Bachelor, an advertisement aired announcing a casting call for “seniors looking for love”.
The casting page says: “Are you entering your golden years and looking for romance? The producers of The Bachelor are looking for active and outgoing single men and women in their golden years for a new exciting dating show.”
After the announcement there was much joking on social media that in Bachelor speak “seniors” meant anyone over the age of 30.
But tweets from ABC reality chief Rob Mills clarified they are looking for people 65 and over.
The response to the concept has been largely enthusiastic:
They’re making a Bachelor for seniors and you better believe all of my free time will be going to that spinoff
— gab (@gabiclark4) February 26, 2020
I’ve been saying this for years: BACHELOR FOR SENIORS IS THE ULTIMATE DREAM — and now that dream is coming true ♥️ pic.twitter.com/U5jDmOh8rq
— Kate Burnier (@kateburnier) February 25, 2020
News is terrible but I just saw that the Bachelor/Bachelorette people are developing similar shows for seniors and I'm not sure what to feel except pic.twitter.com/er7DilPorc
— Sydney Neilson (@sydney_neilson) February 25, 2020
I abhor The Bachelor and everything it represents, but I would 100% watch an old people version: https://t.co/m0tmcDZMXQ
— Lauren O'Neil (@laurenonizzle) February 26, 2020
The Bachelor . . . for SENIORS? Oh, I NEED this.
"He told me he would take me to bingo. I look over, and he's taking Charlene to shuffleboard." #TheBachelor
— Allie (@Beenthearcher22) February 25, 2020
US TV execs have reason to believe elderly people looking for love may prove to be ratings gold.
In 2019, the Netflix series Dating Around featured six New Yorkers going on a series of dinner dates with strangers.
One of the singles was an elderly widow named Leonard, and he quickly became a fan favourite.
— micwebs (@micwebs) February 16, 2019
#DatingAround on @netflix is such an awesome & inspiring new series, especially the episode with the fun and cool seniors! Their dates seem way more fun, genuine and no bs-I think we younger folks could stand to learn a thing or two from them!
— Jessica Boyer (@JessicaJ1225) February 22, 2019
The relative youth and immaturity of contestants on The Bachelor has drawn criticism in recent seasons – while sometimes it’s fun to see beautiful young people make twits of themselves, for plenty of viewers it’s wearing a bit thin.
So perhaps this new iteration is the perfect antidote.
It raises the question: Would a golden oldies version of The Bachelor fly in Australia?
TV commentator David Knox from TV Tonight sees no reason why it wouldn’t work locally.
“Senior Australians are grossly under-represented on Australian television and dating shows are notorious for focusing on the pretty people – that’s despite older viewers still watching free-to-air television in big numbers,” Knox said.
“Like any show, everything would come down to the casting and format.
“Given advertisers are focused on young demos, it might be a better concept for a public broadcaster.
“Shows like Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds prove you can get big crowds to cleverly packaged programs, and Love on the Spectrum is another example of looking at other sections of the community.”
Steve Molk from TV Blackbox agrees that it could certainly be a success Down Under.
In fact, he says it’s imperative The Bachelor remains agile if it wants to continue raking in the ratings.
“There’s the important reinvention of the franchise [to consider],” Molk said.
“The Australian versions are staring down season eight for The Bachelor, season six for The Bachelorette and season three for Bachelor in Paradise.
“They risk an audience shift away from the show if they maintain the course with no iterative development of the program (but not too far from the original premise, as we’ve seen this year with MKR).
“I can guarantee the producers of The Bachelor/ette Australia will be watching this [US seniors version] like a hawk,” he said.
“If it works in the US, expect an Aussie version shortly.
“If played correctly, I think there’s a lot of interest (even sympathy) for an ‘older’ Bachelor series, because broadly people are very open to supporting older people.”
He said it would have to be handled correctly, though.
“The challenge would be finding your (necessary) villain(s),” Molk said.
“Casting and production would need to be careful, as the audience would turn on the show if it perceived that the participants are being taken advantage of.”
Although the network will be able to control the tone in house, there’s not much they’ll be able to do about the inevitable jokes online (where it’s already been nicknamed “Boomer Bachelor”).
ABC has put out a casting call for a spinoff of “Bachelor” for seniors 65 and older. Its format is mostly the same, expect in this case, the woman who makes the best impression on a group date will be handed a Life Alert pendant and fresh canister of moth balls.
— Howie Fox (@howiefoxjokes) February 25, 2020
Bachelor Seniors is the same as the normal Bachelor except the dates are going to Denny’s and trying to get the waitstaff fired
— Ted (@TedInPittsburgh) February 25, 2020
Sounds like a fantastic idea. But instead of drinking champagne and handing out roses, it's Metamucil and reader glasses. https://t.co/oB1hPKKmp7
— Workhorse (@OrigWorkhorse) February 25, 2020
Bachelor doing seniors?? Sponsored by Depends and polygrip #TheBachelor
— Joey Conway (@J_Conway88) February 25, 2020
For us, the wobbliest part of this Golden Oldies Bachelor concept lies in watching a senior citizen get rejected.
As perfectly summed up by this gent named Brian:
The Bachelor is looking to cast seniors? Its easy seeing young beautiful girls get dumped because they have their whole lives ahead of them but damn it will be really sad when Dorothy gets dumped for Ethel and don’t even get me started on that drama starter Beatrice. pic.twitter.com/1QP9taxe9X
— Brian Drolet (@briandrolet) February 25, 2020
If it were to work for us, everyone would have to be a winner. Nobody goes home alone, or we’re rioting.