Is Mike Fleiss’ Exit the Starting of the Finish for ‘The Bachelor’?

Somebody name Jesse Palmer, as a result of we’ve received one other emotional breakup to debate. On Tuesday, The Bachelor and its creator, Mike Fleiss, parted methods after greater than twenty years of (largely) pleased matrimony. Fleiss gave no motive for his exit, however the timing of the announcement—which comes at some point after a disastrous finale of an particularly boring Bachelor season—does the present’s narrative no favors.

However what is going to turn into of this compulsively controversial collection with out its equally controversial creator, who has remained in his place for greater than twenty years regardless of his personal private scandals?

In an announcement about his departure, Fleiss congratulated Bachelor Zach Shallcross and this season’s winner, Kaity Biggar, and thanked Bachelor producer Warner Bros. and ABC “for 21 extraordinary years.” Concerning the long run, he wrote, “They’ve discovered the right inventive crew for me to entrust The Bachelor franchise and hold this lightning in a bottle daring and shifting ahead. Let the journey proceed.”

For higher or worse, Fleiss’ exit marks a sea change for a franchise that’s largely stayed the identical course for upwards of 20 years. Chris Harrison would possibly’ve been The Bachelor’s longtime acquainted host, however it was Fleiss who most appeared to mirror the present’s ethos by changing into an avatar of kinds for its implicit sleaziness and zeal for controversy. On Twitter, he has turn into recognized for teasing plot particulars and character twists—that’s, when he’s not sneering at Kelly Ripa for criticizing his creation. In the summertime of 2019, life started to mimic artwork even additional. After a number of back-to-back scandals inside the Bachelor franchise, a choose ordered Fleiss to remain 100 yards away from his now ex-wife, Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, who on the time alleged that he’d verbally and bodily abused her throughout an altercation wherein he allegedly demanded that she get an abortion and referred to as her a “$50,000 whore.” Fleiss denied the allegations, and Kaeppler Fleiss withdrew the criticism weeks later, after the 2 settled their divorce for $10 million.

Months later, former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe claimed that Fleiss had blocked her from showing on Dancing with the Stars when she was requested to affix the collection. “Mike Fleiss is a bit of shit… and he hates girls,” Bristowe mentioned on the time, per Individuals.

Fleiss’ work on The Bachelor has continued till now, however the franchise has been languishing for years amid ongoing scandals and diminishing rankings. There was contestant Lee Garrett, whose publicly out there racist tweets someway evaded the present’s background screening for Rachel Lindsay’s 2017 season as the primary Black Bachelorette. That very same 12 months additionally noticed a production-halting intercourse scandal on Bachelor in Paradise between Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. There was additionally Garrett Yrigoyen, whose problematic Instagram “likes” received the present in bother, in addition to the unmitigated catastrophe that was Matt James’ season as the primary Black Bachelor. (For many who don’t bear in mind, that season ended with longtime host Harrison leaving the franchise on a golden parachute after defending season winner Rachael Kirkconnell’s option to attend a plantation-themed social gathering in 2018.)

To some, Fleiss’ exit would possibly appear to be a chance for The Bachelor to course-correct. Whereas his exit as an government may present a chance for a rebrand, nevertheless, sources advised Selection that Fleiss has not been concerned within the present’s day-to-day manufacturing for greater than a decade. His incoming replacements, in the meantime, all have long-term ties to the franchise, the commerce notes: There’s Claire Freeland (former showrunner for The Bachelor in Canada), Jason Ehrlich (who has overseen a number of Bachelor seasons within the U.S.), and Bennett Graebner, whom Selection studies “has labored on all exhibits throughout the franchise for greater than 15 years.” All three are approaching board as government producers and showrunners, and all three are already engaged on Chastity Lawson’s upcoming Bachelorette season.

This is perhaps the tip of an period, however solely time will inform how a lot Fleiss’ exit truly adjustments The Bachelor. Ought to producers select to grab the chance, they might make actual adjustments that some followers have been suggesting for years, together with revamps of the casting course of and the present’s more and more dated format. Given how this franchise historically strikes, nevertheless, it appears much more probably that we’re in for extra of the identical. In any case, irrespective of how thrilling a brand new relationship is perhaps, it’ll solely work if each events are actually prepared and keen to let themselves be modified.