'Bachelor' Creator Mike Fleiss Talks Ashley H., Reality Steve and Show's Lack of Diversity
'Bachelor' Creator Mike Fleiss Talks Ashley H., Reality Steve and Show's Lack of Diversity
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
As the dust settles on Brad Womack's second Bachelor finale and the announcement that Ashley Hebert will take up the Bachelorette torch this May, creator Mike Fleiss spoke to EW about the big issues (yes, that's tinged with a tiny bit sarcasm) affecting his franchise, including the lack of diversity in the cast, Reality Steve's spoilers, why Ashley is the new Bachelorette and whether they'll ever go back to casting an unknown Bachelor.

Some of this is ground we've covered before, but I appreciate that Fleiss is never dull in his answers and he seems to appreciate that, even though it's his show, it's not high art or rocket science. He also doesn't shy away from the bold and salty statements, like calling Reality Steve "the Michele Bachmann of reality TV facts." The man knows how to make drama. Check out the highlights of Fleiss' interview below, with commentary from yours truly. (Fleiss in italics.)

Why did you choose Ashley H. as your bachelorette? I don't know, she's kind of cool, she's spunky and she's got a lot personality. It's also the first time we had an actual professional woman as a bachelorette. She's not a party planner, she's a dentist! That's a good step for us. I think it's a cool good lesson for young ladies out there to see an accomplished woman still struggling to put the personal side of her life together. That's something a lot of women can relate to. She will be a different kind of bachelorette!

Another good tagline for next season: The Bachelorette: She's Kind of Cool. Also, she's still a student. And note the knock at all of his past Bachelorettes. None of them were "party planners." (Curious what they actually were? Trista Rehn was a physical therapist, Meredith Phillips a makeup artist, Jen Schefft a publicist, Deanna Pappas a realtor, Jillian Harris a decorator, and Ali Fedotowsky an online advertising account manager) Also, he's the one who picked all of them. If they wanted a female doctor or lawyer or what-have-you years ago, they could have found one. Also, if there are any "young ladies" out there learning their career vs. love life lessons from The Bachelorette, please email me your address so I can come to your house and SHAKE YOUR SHOULDERS UNTIL YOUR HEAD FALLS OFF.

Did you ask Chantal O'Brien? Yeah, Chantal quite possibly would have been our bachelorette, if she hadn't not, quote-unquote,' fallen in love with some goofball in Seattle. I'm sure they'll be together forever.

Sarcasm about the possibility of rushing into everlasting love! THAT IS WHAT HIS SHOW IS ALL ABOUT. Oh man. This guy.

Reality Steve spent most of the season predicting that Chantal will be the winner. Once he owned up to being wrong, fans crowed that he had been `Fleiss'd.' Did you or anyone involved in the show feed him misinformation? I wish I could take credit but he duped himself. He's nuts, a goofball. He says these things with 100 percent conviction but he's right only half of the time. It doesn't matter that much to us, it's just that he acts like he knows everything. He's the Michele Bachmann of reality TV facts. But the leaks are not really coming from production. They're coming from former cast members. That's a hard thing to police. The best way to combat him is to let himself shoot himself in the foot.

In related news, Reality Steve has responded on his blog, including a comeback about the Michele Bachmann crack: "I don't have a clue in the world who that is." AND YOU THOUGHT THE SEASON WAS OVER! This is almost more entertaining than the show.

Will you ever go back to casting unknown bachelors or bachelorettes? I can't imagine how we would ever get back to that. This works so well for us. People are invested in these characters, they are who they are tuning in for. We have enough new blood by design. We have one returning character with 25 or 30 new faces. I don't think we need new blood across the board.

He's got a point. We all remember how thrilled and enthralled we were when Jake Pavelka, who acted like a holier-than-thou, corn-fueled crazy man until he was eliminated four weeks shy of the Bachelorette finale, came back as The Bachelor and removed all doubt that he was, in fact, completely insane. Enthralled like you would be by a double-decker train wreck.

Will we ever see a bachelor or a bachelorette who is not white? I think Ashley is 1/16th Cherokee Indian, but I cannot confirm. But that is my suspicion! We really tried, but sometimes we feel guilty of tokenism. Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it's just that for whatever reason, they don't come forward. I wish they would.

Mike Fleiss "suspects" that Ashley is 1/16th Cherokee. Is that a joke? I can't tell if it's supposed to be a joke. Maybe it's like a The Situation "joke." Anyway, the word "wedge" here is very indicative, don't you think? I find it hard to believe that no ethnically diverse ladies are trying out for the chance to get super-duper-fun-times-famous on The Bachelor. But I don't have a hard time believing they consider casting any of those ladies as "wedging" them in as a pat-themselves-on-the-back-worthy attempt to appear (but not actually BE) diverse. But whether they're not trying out or not getting cast when they do, ladies of all colors (and shapes and sizes and ages, while we're at it), if you weren't convinced before, you should be now: you're probably better off off of The Bachelor.



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