Why is Mike Fleiss leaving 'The Bachelor'? Franchise creator steps down after 60 seasons
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: The creator of the famous reality series 'The Bachelor,' Mike Fleiss, has revealed his departure from the show after 21 years at the helm. On March 28, he made the announcement in a statement congratulating Season 27 lead Zach Shallcross and fiancee Kaity Biggar on their engagement.
'The Bachelor' has been on ABC since 2002, when it debuted with its flagship program. The series subsequently produced numerous spinoffs, including the female-fronted 'The Bachelorette' and the summer entry 'Bachelor In Paradise.' Over the years, nearly 55 seasons of those combined programs, all developed by Mike, have aired, as well as other spinoffs. The franchise is presently in production on its 20th season of 'The Bachelorette,' which will be broadcast this summer.
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Why is Mike Fleiss leaving 'Bachelor' franchise?
Variety has confirmed that the franchise's creator Mike, is leaving the ABC reality behemoth after 21 years. Mike, in a statement obtained by the source, congratulated the newest winning pair, Zach and Kaity, before revealing his departure.
"First and foremost, congratulations are in order for Zach and Kaity. I wish them a long and happy life together," he said. "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."
Mike was accused of assaulting his wife Laura four years ago, a charge he disputed. She secured a restraining order against him, and they divorced, only to reconcile. The restraining order was also withdrawn. Warner Brothers, the company behind 'The Bachelor,' stated at the time that they were investigating "serious allegations" against Mike. Mike would remain with the series, ABC announced in August 2019.
Mike created the hit show in 2002 with their first Bachelor, Alex Michel, and host Chris Harrison, who stayed with the franchise for years before leaving in 2021 due to a scandal. The program changed over time, culminating in the debut of their female-led spin-off, 'The Bachelorette,' in 2003. Trista Rehn, the original Bachelorette, recently marked 22 years of marriage with her final rose choice, Ryan Sutter. The show's popularity spawned spin-offs such as 'Bachelor Pad', 'Bachelor Winter Games', and the highly popular 'Bachelor In Paradise'.
Mike was already involved in reality television before he became known for 'The Bachelor' - he developed the Fox program 'Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?' However, not everyone admired Mike during his rule. Former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe claimed Mike barred her from competing on 'Dancing With The Stars' after her season broadcast, and Mike notably feuded with Kelly Ripa.
Who will replace Mike Fleiss on 'Bachelor'?
According to Variety, the producer who started the reality TV phenomenon in 2002 will be succeeded by three showrunners who are already associated with the franchise: Claire Freeland, Jason Ehrlich, and Bennett Graebner. The three new showrunners taking over for Mike have all worked on 'The Bachelor' and its numerous spin-offs.
According to Variety, Claire previously worked as a showrunner for 'The Bachelor' in Canada, Jason has worked on multiple seasons of 'The Bachelor,' 'The Bachelorette,' and 'Bachelor Pad,' and executive producer Bennett has worked on all the programs in the franchise for over 15 years.