The Bachelor creator replaced as he steps down after 21 years
Monday night saw millions of fans tuning in to an epic three-hour finale for the latest season of The Bachelor, which challenged eligible singleton Zach Shallcross to find his perfect match. However, the ABC reality show could look a lot different when it returns next year.
Creator Mike Fleiss has confirmed he’s stepping down from The Bachelor after 21 years.
The series debuted in 2002 and has launched several successful spin-offs, including The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.
According to Variety, he’ll be replaced with three new showrunners; Claire Freeland, Jason Ehrlich and Bennett Graebner.
The 58-year-old producer congratulated the show’s latest winning couple before saying his farewells to the iconic series.
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“First and foremost, congratulations are in order for Zach and Kaity. I wish them a long and happy life together,” he said in a statement.
“I want to thank WBTV and ABC for 21 extraordinary years.
“They've found the perfect creative team for me to entrust 'The Bachelor' franchise and keep this lightning in a bottle bold and moving forward. Let the journey continue.”
Thankfully, the series will remain in safe hands as all three new showrunners have previous experience with the franchise.The Bachelor: Zach and Katy got engaged in the season finale (Image: ABC) The Bachelor: Fleiss launched the franchise in 2002 (Image: Getty)
Ehrlich has worked behind the scenes on several seasons of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor Pad.
Graebner has also worked on all shows in the franchise as an executive producer for over 15 years, and Freeland served as showrunner for The Bachelor in Canada.
Fleiss’ exit came four years after he was accused of attacking his wife Laura - the showrunner denied the charges, which have since been dropped.
She obtained a temporary restraining order and the couple filed for divorce, but have since reconciled.
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ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said: “The charges have been dropped and from what we understand and were told, the situation was resolved amicably between the parties.
“So given that, it does not affect production on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette in any way that we know of.”
His stepping down was confirmed the day after The Bachelor’s most recent season finale, which ended with a happy ending for Shallcross and Biggar.
The pair were engaged on a beach in Thailand, and have remained together since the time of recording.READ MORE Gareth Gates admits 'it's hard for me' as viewers praise BBC interview
Biggar was thrilled with Shallcross’ decision and showed off a sizable engagement ring, designed for the show by Neil Lane.
Despite the happy event, there was some backlash from fans as the season finale was stretched to a staggering three-hour runtime.
Furthermore, a huge sound issue meant Shallcross’ date with Biggar’s rival contestant, Gabi Elnicki, was completely inaudible for several minutes.
The Bachelor airs on ABC in the USA.
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