It’s no secret that ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise lives for drama — and there’s no better controversy than when someone on the show’s own network slams the series.
It all started Tuesday, when ABC’s “Live With Kelly and Ryan” co-host Ryan Seacrest shared the exciting news that Hannah Brown — the star of “The Bachelorette” Season 15, which kicked off Monday night — was an upcoming guest on the show. Kelly Ripa looked confused. " I don’t know who that is or what that means," she said.
“ ‘The Bachelorette,’ she is the bachelorette,” Seacrest clarified.
Turns out, Ripa thought that since Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph didn’t get married last season on “The Bachelor,” that meant that Cassie was the new Bachelorette. Seacrest tried to explain, but Ripa wasn’t interested.
“You guys, you know how I feel about the show. It disgusts me. And I thought that I was disgusted because I couldn’t understand the idea of 25 exceptional women fighting over one ordinary fella, in my opinion. Do you know how I feel, ladies?” she asked the studio audience. “We are too special to be arguing over a guy.”
“You know, people keep watching the show,” Seacrest pointed out, which is true, even though ratings dropped for Hannah’s premiere.
Ripa couldn’t deny it. “Having said that, all you women watch that gross, gross show,” she said.
Although people rightfully disparage the dating series all the time, this was apparently too much for sensitive host Chris Harrison. “Look out #BachelorNation, @KellyRipa is coming after you and your ‘disgusting’ Monday night habit,” he tweeted Tuesday night.
Mike Fleiss, the franchise creator, also didn’t take kindly to Ripa’s diss. “Easy, @KellyRipa...#The Bachelor franchise pays your salary!” he crowed.
Ripa did not respond to these comments, but an anonymous “source” let loose over at People magazine with the following incredible burns, and also implied the “Bachelor” executives are “desperate” for publicity:
“It seems the fear of rejection runs deep over there. Do these guys really want to bring attention to the fact that people should stop and look more closely at the completely outdated misogynistic nature of this show and its offensive premise of demeaning its participants? They can’t handle lighthearted criticism from a successful woman who has been on TV longer than their contestants have been alive ... Kelly’s time at ‘Live’ predates these shows by years, so if anything, her success in syndication and promotion of these shows pays their salaries.”
As if that wasn’t enough, on Thursday morning ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo weighed in, further sparking a network war and also making fun of Fleiss’s Twitter handle and taking a swipe at the show’s well-established issues with diversity.
Naturally all of this culminated on the same day that Hannah showed up on “Live" on Thursday. Ripa addressed the elephant in the room immediately: “I’m not sure if they told you backstage, I’m not behind this at all,” Ripa joked. “You just blink twice; I will get you out of here.”
As Hannah laughed, Ripa admitted again that she is “very against women fighting over a guy" on “The Bachelor."
“I don’t believe in it, I think it’s weird and sets us back,” she said. “But now, you’re in the power position, right? So take me through that."
Hannah, who certainly wasn’t going to bash the show that she’s starring in, defended the premise, even though she admitted that she “wasn’t a big fan” of the franchise before she starred on it.
“Being a part of the show, it’s not women fighting against each other. Really, some of my best friends came from the show and were really supportive,” Hannah explained. “You know, when you have a group of 30 people together, there’s going to be people who don’t like each other. ... But really, it was one of the empowering things that I ever did, because I had to push myself and grow as an individual.”