Contestants in Bachelor Nation are usually in their 20s, sometimes in their 30s and rarely in their 40s. Yet, ABC put out a casting call for the 65 and older crowd shortly before the coronavirus pandemic halted all production.
While this “senior citizen” version of the dating franchise was originally discussed to air in 2020, ABC Executive Rob Mills provided Variety with an update.
“Part of the problem was that during the whole year of the pandemic, obviously, the most at-risk group was older citizens,” Mills told the publication. “Now, the fact that we’ve found a way to shoot in a bubble, if we have to do it in a bubble, we would be able to figure that out. We love this idea and the fact that people have really responded to it, we want to try to make that happen.”
The “bubble” Mills is referring to was used for the last season of The Bachelorette and the current season of The Bachelor. To accommodate safety protocols and travel restrictions, the production team created a closed set entirely at one resort. All cast and crew had to quarantine and test negative for COVID-19 before filming. While Mills expressed hope for a widespread rollout of the vaccine, they are prepared to pursue this bubble format until that is the case.
After being removed from the 2020 schedule, Mills told the publication Bachelor in Paradise’s return is currently the top priority. Though, they still want to make this new series work because of the “massive response” they receive whenever it is mentioned.
“If The Bachelorette starts shooting in March after The Bachelor airs, like normal, and if we can figure out Paradise soon, then perhaps we can figure out how to do this as soon as the fall, in between cycles of Paradise and shooting the next season of The Bachelor,” said Mills.
This is not the first time the show has played with the format. Aside from Bachelor in Paradise, the franchise has created the spinoffs Bachelor Pad, Bachelor Winter Games and Listen to Your Heart.
The New Series Will Feature Contestants 65 Years and Older
According to the casting page, ABC is “Now casting Seniors Looking for Love! Are you entering your golden years and looking for romance? The Producers of The Bachelor are looking for active and outgoing single men and women IN THEIR GOLDEN YEARS for a new exciting dating show!”
Mills clarified the age requirement on his Twitter account, writing, “To be clear, this is 65+.”
While the exact format of the show has not been announced, some adjustments will have to occur. As Mills told the publication, hometowns will now look different with suitors meeting the children rather than the parents.
“It’s such a different way of doing The Bachelor because these people are just at a totally different place in their lives,” the ABC Executive told Variety in July. “There is an interesting thing about people who have hit the other end of the spectrum, who’ve lived their lives, they’ve raised their kids, some have been widowed or divorced and maybe some have never been in love. We thought that would be an interesting dynamic through the Bachelor prism.”
Casting has already begun.
Mills Said the Senior Citizen Edition of the Franchise Has Received a ‘Massive Response’
When asked about the casting process, Mills told Variety that “The casting was amazing and anytime we ever talk about it, it gets a massive response.”
He’s not wrong. When he tweeted out the news, he received a variety of responses from the cynical to the comical.
The franchise has faced criticism for its often young cast. As one woman wrote, “I thought this was a ploy to get 30- and 40-year-olds.”
That criticism led some Bachelor Nation fans to call for a “senior citizen” or “geriatric” Bachelor. Confirmation of the show led to jokes, such as, “If you don’t have a romantic staring window or an early bird special restaurant date I’ll be disappointed.” Another wrote, “Please tell me you’re at least considering calling it the geriachelor.”
“HOLD. THE. PHONE. You’re telling me that they are having a senior citizen’s bachelor? Shuffleboard dates? Cruises? Fantasy suites with late-night talks in rocking chairs. I STAN ABC,” another person tweeted, hypothesizing about possible dates.
Not all responses were positive. As one Twitter user wrote, “They made senior citizen bachelor/bachelorette but won’t make a gay/lesbian one?????”
No official production dates have been released.