While viewers have watched African-American men and women appear on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” over the years, one thing the reality franchise has yet to do is to cast a person of colour in the title role of either show.
That looks to be changing, with the Reality Steve website the first to report that ABC has cast Rachel Lindsay — currently one of the women attempting to woo Nick Viall on this season of “The Bachelor” — as the first black “Bachelorette”.
With a combined 33 seasons of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” featuring exclusively Caucasians in the lead positions, ABC has been widely criticized for not injecting more diversity into its hit franchise.
As ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey — the first African-American woman to run the entertainment division of a broadcast television network — told reporters at this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour, the issue has to do with bringing a more diverse pool of men and women into the show in the first place, since each Bachelor and Bachelorette is typically selected from the show’s previous season.
“It’s worked very well for us because the audiences feel really engaged [in choosing] that candidate” said Dungey. “What we’d like to do is broaden that. We need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning. That is something we really want to put some effort and energy towards.”
Lindsay, a lawyer from Dallas, Texas, received the first impression rose from Viall at the start of this season. It’s expected she’ll be officially announced as the next “Bachelorette” during Monday’s edition of “Jimmy Kimmel Live”.