In February, which feels like ages ago, “The Bachelor” franchise revealed it was developing a spin-off for senior citizens, airing a casting call for “eligible seniors who want their shot at love” during an episode of “The Bachelor.” That quickly went on the backburner as the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. and everything shut down. But fear not, single boomers and Bachelor Nation, the spin-off is still in the works, and Rob Mills, ABC’s head of alternative programming, has “no doubt” it will eventually get on the air.
“Some of the casting interviews we got, they were just so touching,” Mills told our sister site “Variety.” “It’s such a different way of doing ‘The Bachelor’ because these people are just at a totally different place in their lives. There is an interesting thing about people who have hit the other end of the spectrum, who’ve lived their lives, they’ve raised their kids, some have been widowed or divorced and maybe some have never been in love. We thought that would be an interesting dynamic through the ‘Bachelor’ prism.”
Like with everyone, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the franchise. Season 16 of “The Bachelorette” was delayed the day it was supposed to start shooting in March and is now slated to film in one location starting next week for a month for a fall premiere. TPTB also nixed “The Bachelor Summer Games,” its Olympics counterprogramming, after the Tokyo Games were postponed until 2021. Summer favorite “Bachelor in Paradise” is also off the docket for 2020 as producers focus on its flagships “The Bachelorette” and “The Bachelor,” the latter of which is on track to film in the fall for its usual January premiere.
According to Mills, if “The Bachelorette” and “The Bachelor” go off without a hitch, “Bachelor in Paradise” will be their next priority, followed by the seniors show.
“God willing, we return to some sort of normalcy in the world; we will obviously want to get back to ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ because that will have been off for a year, but then I think we will absolutely want to get back to [the seniors spin-off],” he shared. “We absolutely want to get it done, but we want to do it right, do it safely and not at the expense of the other ‘Bachelor’ cycles. So, it’s on hold, but I have to say, we had never seen a response like we’d seen here.”
Producers have already come up with some tweaks to the young-skewing franchise’s format: Instead of meeting the parents, hometown dates would be about meeting the kids. “It’s everything you love about ‘The Bachelor,’ but everybody loves senior citizens because they have different love stories to talk about,” Mills said. “It was really fascinating, so I have no doubt it will happen some day.”