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Ten CEO flags changes to Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises

Ten’s CEO Paul Anderson has admitted the Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises will have to evolve if they are to continue to bring in the big audiences drawn by this year’s star Sophie Monk.

Paul Anderson with the AFR’s Max Mason at Screen Forever 2017

Anderson said Monk – who is “real, if not slightly unusual” – had taught the network a lesson on who to cast, and the learnings needed to be applied in order to move on from simply having “head-boy types” fronting the program.

“At the end of the day I think what we’ve proved over the past couple of years is that it’s all about the casting of that main role, and we’ve learnt some lessons and Sophie Monk I think was a good lesson for all of us, in terms of actually, you know – one, having someone in that role that is real, if not, slightly unusual. And I think without getting in too much trouble from my programming team, there needs to be some real colour and variation in the shows – picking the nice Bachelor, the ex head-boy is not going to sort of drive those shows into the future,” he said at Screen Producers Australia’s Screen Forever conference this afternoon.

Anderson denied this meant Ten would deliberately be courting more controversy with the franchise – despite the launch of Bachelor in Paradise in early 2018 – and said all programs had to be suitable for his 14-year-old daughter.

Bachelor in Paradise will launch in early 2018

“I’m saying that all of these shows need to have light and shade and we’ve had, I think you can look across the various seasons that we’ve had with Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise and they’ve all been different and what we’ve taken out of that is there are learnings from each of those series that we try and build on,” he said.

“I have what I call ‘The Millie Test’ – which is my 14-year-old daughter – that I have to be able to sit down and watch all of our shows with her. Now I can say that with Masterchef and Survivor quite easily, but I think in conjunction with the way that we cast our shows and having Beverley McGarvey as our head of programming, I can safely say that I can sit down and watch Bachelorette and Bachelor with her [Millie] as well.”

The programs also have to remain safe for advertisers, he said – particularly with linear broadcast television’s declining audiences and the increasing costs of content.

Anderson: Ten shows will remain brand safe

“Bachelorette this year with Sophie Monk has been a breakout success on all fronts, not just our overnight ratings, but on our catch-up, it’s gone gangbusters and beat Game of Thrones. So, yes, there are little lessons our of each series, but you know we talk about brand safe, advertiser friendly shows, at our network, so we don’t court controversy and program our shows or cast our shows like that.”

How the comments will translate into 2018 casting decisions is not yet clear, however Anderson was asked point blank if Shane Warne would be fronting the franchise, as per tabloid media reports.

There was no confirmation or denial, with Anderson simply joking: “I think Julia Morris said it was going to be called Nicorette, not Bachelorette”.

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