ABC's tenth 'The Bachelor' edition to debut April 2, be supersized
By Steve Rogers, 02/15/2007
Although a formal announcement isn't expected to come for a few more weeks, ABC has confirmed that The Bachelor: The Officer and a Gentleman, the official title of The Bachelor's upcoming tenth edition, will premiere Monday, April 2 at 9:30PM ET/PT with a 90-minute episode.
"[The] information is correct," The Bachelor's ABC publicist told Reality TV World on Wednesday when asked about a recent unattributed thefutoncritic.com report that stated that, in addition to premiering April 2 and bearing a subtitle similar to the well-known 1982 Richard Gere film, the unusual post-Dancing with the Stars 9:30-11PM ET/PT time period would be The Bachelor: The Officer and a Gentleman's regular weekly timeslot.
The Bachelor: The Officer and a Gentleman will be the first The Bachelor edition to use the 90-minute format as its regular broadcast format. All of the long-running reality show's previous seasons have utilized the more conventional 60-minute broadcast format.
The Bachelor's tenth edition will star Lieutenant Andy Baldwin, a 30-year-old Navy doctor and Ironman competitor. According to a report in Monday's New York Daily News, the series is currently filming in Los Angeles and recently taped a bachelorette "triathlon" competition at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel (the same hotel shown on NBC's The Apprentice: Los Angelesa few weeks ago).
While the fact that ABC has decided to give the long-running reality series the plum post-Dancing with the Stars time period no doubt has The Bachelor's producers excited (last fall's Dancing with the Stars performance broadcasts averaged over 20 million weekly viewers and rank third in the 2006-2007 season's viewership rankings), it remains unclear whether the scheduling move is a sign of the network's commitment to the long-running but fading reality series or just an another indication of the ongoing weakness of ABC's half-hour sitcom development slate.
Last fall, ABC had planned to use early season 90-minute Dancing with the Stars 3 episodes as a launch pad for The Knights Of Prosperity and Help Me Help You, two new sitcoms, however the former had its premiere delayed and the later was pulled from the air after failing to catch on with viewers. Additional 90-minute Dancing with the Stars performance broadcasts ended up filling the schedule hole left by Knights' absence. The Knights Of Prosperity finally debuted in January, however despite receiving good reviews, the series has performed poorly in the ratings.
Unless Dancing with the Stars' fourth edition (scheduled to premiere two weeks beforeThe Bachelor: The Officer and a Gentleman on March 19) proves to be an unexpected ratings flop, it will represent the best lead-in that The Bachelor has had in at least several years. Last fall's The Bachelor: Rome, broadcast in the Mondays at 9PM ET/PT time period, had Wife Swap as its lead-in.
In early 2005, How'd They Do That?, a short-lived Extreme Makeover: Home Editionspin-off, served as the lead-in for The Bachelorette 3 and The Bachelor 7's Mondays at 9PM ET/PT broadcasts. Prior to the January 2005 premiere of The Bachelorette 3, The Bachelor and its sister spin-off had aired their last seven editions on Wednesdays at 9PM ET/PT -- the same time period that, until recently, had since been occupied by ABC's Lost drama.
Ironically, Lost's initial season had served as the 8PM ET/PT lead-in for The Bachelor's Fall 2004 sixth edition. Prior to Lost's Fall 2004 premiere, various ABC sitcom combos had served as the lead-ins to The Bachelor and The Bachelorette editions broadcast during the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 seasons.