Count The Bachelor producers And Syndicated Productions, Inc. among Bob Guiney's former fans.

According to the Associated Press, ASP, a division of Telepictures Productions, is suing Bob, the star of The Bachelor 4, and Bob's record label, Wind-up Records, over Bob's continuing promotion of his new CD, 3 Sides. ASP's lawsuit says that it "spent millions of dollars turning the previously obscure Mr. Guiney into 'Bachelor Bob,' a much-loved worldwide celebrity closely associated with the series," but that Bob and Wind-up planned to make a "windfall profit at [their] expense, thereby diluting the value of Mr. Guiney's public image and tarnishing the series' goodwill and public esteem."

According to the lawsuit, Bob signed an exclusivity contract with ASP prior to filming the show. The contract requires Bob to get permission to promote any product other than the show during an "exclusivity period" following the show. Bob allegedly sought permission to promote 3 Sides but was turned down.

We have to admit that we find the lawsuit puzzling, since a higher profile for Bob should mean a higher profile for the show. We tend to believe that the REAL basis for the lawsuit is the producer's ire over the fact that there is obviously no ongoing relationship between Bob and his chosen girlfriend Estella Gardinier, leading viewers (and, probably, Estella) to conclude that the only thing Bob wanted from the show was to boost his CD sales. At the same time, The Bachelor 3 winner Andrew Firestone was breaking up with his chosen girlfriend Jen Schefft, amidst speculation that Andrew had merely been seeking to boost his family's winery via his appearance, further tarnishing the show's image of producing meaningful romances.

We doubt whether this lawsuit will do one thing to restore the image of The Bachelor series, and we can't help but think that a full disclosure of the behind-the-scenes conversations between Bob and ASP would only make viewers more cynical about the motivations of the starring bachelors. Nevertheless, assuming that this suit isn't withdrawn, we'll be watching closely to learn Bob's answer to these charges.