How many times are Bachelor Nation viewers going to watch Nick Viall look for love? Four times, apparently. He’s been on “The Bachelorette” twice, the current season of “Bachelor in Paradise” and will be next season’s “Bachelor.”
Sure, he could turn out to be the star of the show, as my colleague Emily Yahr wrote Wednesday morning. But here’s the problem: Bachelor Nation already casts slightly different versions of the same person over and over again. Now the producers literally have cast the same person four times.
On all the shows in the “Bachelor” franchise, the contestants are overwhelmingly white; frequently there’s more than one man or woman with the same generic first names — Ben, Josh, Joshua, Shawn, Ryan, Nick are just some of the men Viall competed against on “The Bachelorette.” The final four men on last season’s “Bachelorette” were so similar they all had the same haircut. There’s even another TV show, “UnREAL” on Lifetime, calling out Bachelor Nation for its race problem. And yet, this pick says: We’re not changing a thing.
Early this month, ABC’s new programming boss talked about the importance of adding more diverse contestants. “I would very much like to see some changes in ‘The Bachelor,’” Channing Dungey told reporters at the Television Critics Association TV press tour. “We need to increase pool of diverse candidates in the beginning.”
Indeed, the pool of contestants is the root of the problem. When minority contestants are frequently cut early on, there are not a lot of different-looking faces to choose from. But choosing Viall as the new “Bachelor” also says: We’re making no attempt to mix up our lineup.
Wednesday on “Good Morning America,” “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison explained the casting decision: “It just got down to the final question: Who is the most deserving? Who is the most sincere? Luke and Chase were good guys, but we all just kept coming back to Nick.”
At least he has a different haircut.