Has ABC cast another minor celebrity in the mold of The Bachelor 5's Jesse Palmer as the star of its next Bachelor installment? It has if the word of E! gossip columnist Kristin Veitch (who's historically delivered a mixed bag when it comes to Bachelor gossip) is to be believed.

According to the E! columnist, this spring's seventh edition of the sagging ABC series will star Charlie O'Connell, a D-list Hollywood actor who's probably best known for being the Baldwin-like brother of Jerry O'Connell, the one-time Stand By Me tubby boy, Sliders genius, and Jerry Maguire stud quarterback who's currently appearing in NBC's Crossing Jordan television series.

Kristen reports that 29-year-old O'Connell's selection marked the culmination of a months-long search for an under-30 doctor, celebrity, or "someone with a celebrity angle" -- with the younger O'Connell (who, in true hanger-on fashion, reportedly lives at his older brother's place) apparently satisfying a liberal interpretation of the later description.

Spotted in The Hamptons town of Montauk where his parents own a home last weekend, O'Connell was reportedly openly admitting his status as the show's new Bachelor. Asked what he was doing visiting the summer hotspot during the dead of winter (and with a camera crew in tow) the publicity-seeking O'Connell didn't even attempt to mask his involvement with the show, telling curious parties that "I'm the next Bachelor."

According to Kristen, The Bachelor's producers believe that the newly single (and rebounding) Charlie has the "right charisma" to return the sputtering reality franchise to its glorious ratings days of yesteryear. While Charlie might have "charisma," the comment would seem to imply that the show's producers still aren't fully recognizing that it's been the show's woeful relationship record -- not its lack of dynamic personalities -- that has been the primary cause of television viewers' growing apathy about the series.

And based on Kristen's note that a source close to O'Connell believes that he is "just doing this for the fun... and the press" it also doesn't appear that The Bachelor 7 will provide the type of genuine television that will recapture the interest of the show's increasingly jaded former viewers. Perhaps it's just us, but somehow the idea that the brother of a Hollywood actor who's presently dating former swimsuit model Rebecca Romijn needs to go on national TV to meet women rings just as insincere and implausible as that of handsome and rich NFL backup quarterback Jesse Palmer -- who ended his relationship with selected bachelorette Jessica Bowlin less than a month after The Bachelor 5's finale aired.