BY MARLA SOMMER
As reality show Bachelor in Paradise has come to an end and passed the baton to season eight of The Bachelor, viewer ratings continue to free fall.
Channel 10’s The Bachelor premiered last Wednesday night to 681,000 viewers, continuing the steady decline of hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.
The show follows the journey of bachelor Locky Gilbert, a past Australian Survivor contender, who is dating a group of women to find his life partner.
The Bachelor in Paradise launch on July 15, 2020 attracted even less viewers, with only 507,000 metro viewers – the lowest in the show’s history.
Bachelor in Paradise 2020 contestant Cassandra Mamone said producers are strategic in talking to the contestants and encouraging them to take the show in a certain direction.
“They would often put certain people together and ask us to discuss situations, even at times prompting us to mention something specific,” Ms Mamone said.
“There are parts of the show that are genuine...but there are some narratives portrayed in the show that are not genuine to what truly happened or not shown in full light.”
Ms Mamone was disappointed in the way she was portrayed on the show this year.
“I was perhaps a little naive at the fact that they could edit me in any way they felt would best drive their narrative,” she said.
“The way in which I was ultimately edited was certainly disappointing, as it was an obvious ploy to spark negative emotional responses from viewers.”
Ms Mamone added it is ultimately the viewers who drive the shows, and if they keep watching, then the Bachelor franchise will continue.
“It would be great to see less drama and bad editing, but unfortunately this seems unlikely as it appears to be one of the things that brings the most viewers.”
Viewers and contestants have equally expressed disappointment online about the show’s controversial editing and its lack of originality.
Bachelor franchise sceptic Harrison Brady said he strongly dislikes the franchise as “there is little change on how the show operates between seasons”.
Mr Brady believes the show relies on viewers being interested in watching women fight over a man, and vice versa.
He said these fights often lead to contestants putting each other down.
“The Bachelor makes it seem like whoever you are interested in must be fought over and protected against other people,” he said.
“It makes choosing a partner look like something of a game or a prize.”
According to Mr Brady, the Bachelor franchise only benefits the media industries who profit from running ads about the show.
“[The show] heavily feeds off social and regular media pushing news stories and click bait articles to generate interest in the show,” he said.
“I only see an unoriginal, media-driven and overhyped television show that has long passed its lifespan.”
However, Bachelor franchise fan Vaasanthi Palepu said the franchise still has a place in her heart, especially in 2020 where it has become her escape from daily challenges.
“It’s nice to have something to connect to emotionally, especially for those alone and in lockdown,” Ms Palepu said.
“I think for me it’s more about concept, I enjoy the idea of finding love because I am a romantic at heart.”
Ms Palepu said the declining numbers could be due to a lack of diversity and inclusion.
“I think it still has a place on Australian TV if they make more of an effort,” she said.
“The show will only stay on Australian screens if they portray an accurate representation of reality and not just those who are made for reality TV.
“The world is not made up of one colour.”
Season eight of The Bachelor is currently airing on Channel 10 at 7:30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.