Part of the non-surprise was because Reality Steve, the reality TV blogger who reveals spoilers every season, reported this news Aug. 25, and it was quickly picked up by many websites. But it was also not shocking if you know the typical lead producers usually choose: A handsome, somewhat bland guy who a) hasn’t caused too much trouble in his previous season and b) if he did cause trouble, had a redemption story arc about how he’s just looking for love.
Viewers often complain about the choice for “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” star, but the outrage is even more pronounced this year, particularly because of many fans’ preference: Mike Johnson, a 31-year-old portfolio manager from San Antonio, who also appeared on Hannah’s season and the most recent “Bachelor in Paradise.”
When the news of Peter made its way around the Internet, many fans were unhappy, as they felt Mike was the much more dynamic pick; he was the rare combination of charming, kind and extremely good-looking. Plus, he could have been the long overdue choice as the first black “Bachelor” in show history.
The series, which launched in 2002, has long been criticized (and was once sued) for its lack of diversity. Rachel Lindsay, who was “The Bachelorette” in Season 13, is still the first and only black star of the franchise. (In its news release announcing Peter, ABC added that one of his hobbies is “embracing his mother’s Cuban culture.”)
Ladies... are we gathering at ABC studios to riot tonight when they announce Peter as the next bachelor or should we just go directly to Mike Fleiss’ house with our pitchforks?— Woozey F. Baby (@bahannahammock) September 17, 2019
We just wanted representation. Mike was the most popular black man they’ve ever had in the franchise & passed on him.There has never been a black bachelor. Rachel has only been the only Bachelorette of color.I don’t hate Peter but he will be the same as all the other Bachelors— 💞Rachel💞🌸💫🦋 (@XoBabyDollXo) September 17, 2019
I am still mad and bitter that Mike is not their pick for #TheBachelor— Chrishell Hartley (@Chrishell7) September 13, 2019
Nothing against Peter-he seems nice. But Mike really would make a better Bachelor in my opinion. WHY do they always pick what seems to be the unpopular choice?? 😩 #MikeForBachelor #bachelornation pic.twitter.com/z10Z3xXMC2
Mike was a clear front-runner early on, along with Tyler Cameron, also from Hannah’s season, and Derek Peth, who was in the spotlight this summer on “Bachelor in Paradise.” Last month, E! Online reported that Derek was “a long shot,” and given that Tyler is now dating supermodel Gigi Hadid, he was out. An inside “source” told them that Mike was also unlikely to be picked.
“Pete was always the first pick but producers wanted to see how ‘Paradise’ went with Mike,” the source told E! “They love him but aren’t sure if he is ready to carry a whole show.”
Apparently, that was a franchise talking point: Former contestant Wells Adams told “Entertainment Tonight” that although Mike would be a great choice (“He’s got a million-watt smile, he’s tall as a house. And he’s a veteran.”), he didn’t think he was star material because of his lack of airtime on “Paradise.”
“I think what people fail to grasp is you have to build a show around that person, and I don’t know if he’s ready for it, just in terms of the spotlight being on him that much,” explained Wells, the “Paradise” bartender. “The only reason I say that is because when you watch back, he’s just not on the show a lot.”
Mike seemed to see the writing on the wall, telling “Entertainment Tonight” he assumed Peter would land the role, saying “history repeats itself” and “I think Peter looks the part.”
“He’d be a safe Bachelor, meaning that he won’t do anything crazy obnoxious,” Mike said. “I think it’d be a good, safe, clean season if he were the Bachelor.” (In the meantime, Mike reportedly recently went on a date with pop star Demi Lovato, so seems like he will be just fine.)
Peter had one potential scandal crop up while “The Bachelorette” was airing, as his ex-girlfriend, model Calee Lutes, went public and said Peter “absolutely betrayed” her — and claimed he broke up with her just so he could audition for “The Bachelorette.” In response, Peter said their breakup was “months” before his first casting interview. And frankly, it was drowned out by the fact that Jed, the eventual winner, never broke up with his girlfriend before he left to film the show.
Meanwhile, Peter appeared at the end of the three-hour “Bachelor in Paradise” finale Tuesday on the verge of tears as he talked about what this opportunity meant to him. “My entire life, I’ve looked forward to finding my girl,” he said, adding that his role models are his parents, who have been married for three decades. “I feel like the luckiest kid ever.”
And of course, because it’s “The Bachelor,” he alluded to drama.
“This is not normal, dating 30 women at the same time. There’s going to be ups and downs, I know that’s coming. I’m not going to be perfect,” Peter said. “The possibility of making the wrong decision, it’s out there. But I’m going to follow my heart.”