In what was probably one of the biggest "no brainer" fall schedule decisions in all of Hollywood, ABC has announced that it has renewed its hit The Bachelor series for the 2004-2005 television season.

"We couldn't be happier to have our hit reality series back next season," Andrea Wong, ABC's senior vice president for Alternative Series, stated in making the announcement. "Through brilliant casting and carefully added elements to the original formula, the show is a rock on our primetime lineup.

Excluding Monday Night Football, The Bachelor is the struggling network's top-ranked show, ranking first in both total viewers and the Adults 18-49 demographic among the ABC lineup. "We are thrilled. Hopefully we can be the network's No. 1 show for a fourth consecutive season," said Mike Fleiss, creator and executive producer of The Bachelor franchise.

Two editions of the series, totaling twenty-two hours of programming, have been ordered. A similar renewal decision on The Bachelorette, The Bachelor's spin-off series, has not yet been made. According to sources, the renewal decision is said to be dependent upon whether Fleiss can find the "right woman" to star in the series -- an indication that despite its public comments to the contrary, perhaps ABC is acknowledging the feelings of many viewers -- namely that Meredith Phillips, the star of the network's recently-completed Bachelorette 2 series, was a less than compelling reality star.

In the current fifth edition of The Bachelor, New York Giants back-up quarterback Jesse Palmer is narrowing down the field of 25 women, as he attempts to find one who shares his desire for a serious, long-term relationship.

Hosted by Chris Harrison, The Bachelor is produced by Next Entertainment in association with Telepictures Productions. Mike Fleiss (High School Reunion) is executive producer. Lisa Levenson, Scott Jeffress and Jason Carbone are co-executive producers.