With the upcoming season of “Bachelor in Paradise” kicking off in a little over a week, the scandal surrounding contestants DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios was top of mind during the ABC portion of the summer Television Critics Association press tour.
When asked how the Warner Bros.-produced series will handle the alleged incident and the aftermath onscreen, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey made assurances that the scandal would be handled in a humane way.
“Promos are very different from the show. I would not say that we are planning on handling it in a cheeky way, I think we are handling it in a respectful way,” Dungey told reporters Sunday.
In mid-July, ABC released the first promo for the new season of “Bachelor of Paradise”, which addressed the season four controversy head-on with a “cheeky” teaser that has since been pulled from air.
“We were never looking for a way to sensationalize it. Bachelor Nation is very engaged so there’s nothing in that universe that happens that they’re not completely up to speed with,” Dungey said of the ill-received teaser. “The promo in question did not refer to the incident at all. It actually was compiled from a bunch of tweets from Bachelor Nation who were expressing their initial disappointment that there wouldn’t be a season and then their joy when there would be. We thought it was cheeky and funny and in line with the show, however the response told us otherwise and then we pulled it.”
On June 11, Warner Bros. announced that production on “Bachelor in Paradise” had been halted following a producer’s claims of misconduct after a sexual encounter between cast members Olympios and Jackson — neither of whom appeared in the season’s first promo. On June 20, Warner Bros. and ABC announced the show had been cleared of any wrongdoing, and the cast — minus Olympios and Jackson — returned to Mexico to resume filming. Both will appear in an upcoming “Bachelor in Paradise” special.
Dungey shared that the “Bachelor in Paradise” scandal forced them to look at how the show was run.
“In terms of all the conversations we’ve had with [Warner Bros.], it brought to light some safety issues that we wanted to make sure we are more on top of moving forward, in terms of making sure our contestants are safe and protected at all times,” she said. “When something like this happens, it’s always a bit of a wake-up call to have all of the right processes in place. I think we feel good that we do.”
When asked to clarify what she meant by “safety issues” and whether she was referencing alcohol, Dungey was diplomatic in her response: “Just generally, making sure everyone participating in the shows are taken care of and in safe hands.”
“Bachelor in Paradise” premieres Monday, Aug. 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.