Variety reports that during Wednesday's Television Critics Association press tour, ABC announced that the third edition of its "The Bachelor" reality series will premiere Wednesday, March 26, 2003 at 9PM ET.

Responding to questions regarding ABC's high levels of reality TV programming, ABC Entertainment president Susan Lyne commented "there's no way the networks are going to ignore a genre that has this kind of appeal," "Our 18-34 numbers are up across the board, and we credit that to 'The Bachelor' as a promotional platform." Still smarting from the demise of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," ABC Entertainment TV Group chairman Lloyd Braun said he had no idea how long shows like "The Bachelor" would hold on to their mega-audience numbers. "We've resisted every opportunity to milk those 'Bachelor' arcs," he said. "We're going to be exceedingly careful in not exploiting it. It's impossible to know how long it's going to go."

Braun also said unscripted shows were not the driving force behind ABC's slow climb out of Nielsen hell. "The success we've had this year has not been on the back of reality," he said.

Sure it hasn't Braun... it's actually due to shows like "Push, Nevada" and "Dinotopia -- whatever let's you sleep at night...