The fairytale is over for Network Ten after the disastrous start to this year’s The Bachelorette franchise, with WA beauty Brooke Blurton struggling to get viewers to tune in.
But TV experts tells The West Australian it’s all the network’s fault. Although Ten has tried to play the diversity card, they say the show is just exactly what it always was — with the same dates and same old format — and viewers were switching off.
Wednesday night’s episode was the lowest-rated episode in the entire franchise history with just 253,000 viewers tuning in across the five metro cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth).
Thursday night’s episode picked up nationally with 314,000 viewers, but the numbers were still down for WA, with 31,000 watching on Thursday night, compared with 33,000 on Wednesday night.
TV expert Rob Knight told The West Australian viewers are just “Bachelor fatigued”.
“How often have we had back to back … it’s overkill, they’ve really killed the franchise early. People have been grown weary of the series before this, but the addition of a bisexual bachelor/bachelorette just feels desperate,” he said.
“If this was 2012 would have been something new but this just seems like a desperate plea for ratings. Nobody cares and ultimately, as much as we all want diversity, diversity doesn’t sell the product, it has to be engaging.”
While many— including the LGBTQI and Indigenous communities— were excited to finally see some representation on mainstream TV, some viewers are just not ready. “For mainstream Australia, which is essentially conservative, the idea of a bisexual Bachelorette, it’s just like nope, not interested, and the younger people who are into that are just not watching TV,” Mr McKnight said. “It’s going against the grain of conservative values. Now I don’t say that to applaud people not watching diversity, that’s not I’m saying at all — what I’m saying is you have to look at the market you’re in. There is a saying you go woke, you go broke and Ten is sort of proving that.”
A spokesperson for Network 10 said the series has had the “biggest ever live stream audience, up 35 per cent on 2020”. “We have no plans to cancel The Bachelorette Australia. We are extremely proud of this season and Brooke is a wonderful Bachelorette.”
Data provided by 10 also state that this season is the top of its timeslot in Perth for 16 to 39-year-olds, and 25 to 54-year-olds.
Unfortunately for Blurton, her season has come off the back of one of the worst-rated Bachelor seasons, with pilot Jimmy Nicholson trying to find love.
Nicholson’s season had the lowest-ever viewed final rose ceremony in the history of the franchise, the worst launch ever and also the worst finale and final decision ever.
It meant Blurton’s season began terribly. Her premiere episode has now taken over Nicholson’s title bringing in the lowest rated first episode in the franchise’s history.
Earlier in the month — before Blurton’s season began — Channel 10 announced that The Bachelor and The Bachelorette would be returning in 2022. Mr McKnight said this was a “strange decision”.
“The only show that’s really done any business for Ten this year is Survivor,” he said.
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