The Bachelorette starts its fifth season this week, not long after the seventh season of The Bachelor finished.
Casting the lead role is key of course to both strains of the franchise and much depends on it. This year the producers settled on the second celebrity that has fronted the series in five years – Kent. She follows Sam Frost, Georgia Love, Sophie Monk and last year’s Ali Oetjen.
Picking celebrities seems to help ratings, but they are not easy to find, Innes explained to Mediaweek. “We have had two – Sophie and now Angie – one well known and the other starting out. It is good to mix it up. As we showed when we went from Nick Cummins to Matt Agnew, to go back to someone unknown can be refreshing. After Nick we needed a circuit breaker and Matt was a great circuit breaker.
“On The Bachelorette most have been known to TV audiences in that both Sam and Ali had been on The Bachelor. [Georgia was a TV journalist.]
“It is a very difficult role to cast. They need to be such unique people and really have an X Factor about them.”
Age is a critical factor in casting the lead because that then impacts the age of the bachelors. “We went quite a bit older with Sophie, she was 36, where the Bachelorettes have traditionally been in their late 20s.
“We like to have a broad age range in the cast for the audience – we usually have a spread of guys or girls from early 20s to late 30s.”
Although casting the lead first in either series is preferable, Innes said that hasn’t happened in every season. “We can then cast around that person to help us to have a love story with a happy ending. It doesn’t always work that way and that is ok. But hopefully we will find someone for them. The person chosen for either series gives us a brief on the type of person they are looking for and we are then mindful of that in the casting.”
Revealing the lead early is helpful in tracking the types of people who would be attracted to him or her.
One of Kent’s requests was for people with a sense of humour. “Otherwise she was quite broad – certainly not just wanting someone tall, dark and handsome. She hasn’t had a relationship for about eight years because she hasn’t been ready again after some earlier in her life.”
Kent has said that appearing in 10’s I’m A Celebrity helped her “find herself” to some extent and made appearing in The Bachelorette appealing.
Network 10 executive producers have a track record of improving on their major franchises each season and Innes said this new season of The Bachelorette is no exception.
“It is jam pack full of content. The challenge was how to fit in all the content we generated during the shoot. Angie has given herself to the role like no one has before. In the sense of opening herself up and being brave enough to show her emotions and vulnerabilities.
“It can be very draining and a physically challenging process to be without any of your usual people around you. During the three-month shoot there is no media, no internet, no phone – none of anyone’s usual toolkit.
“Angie is very serious about finding someone and it was great to see. Viewers will see how good that has been for the program. She is a very upfront girl as viewers would have seen on Gogglebox – she is feisty and funny and tells it like it is to some of the guys which makes for great viewing.”
Innes of course wouldn’t talk too much about how successful the search for love was this season. The series has been finished and 10 only films one ending unlike some other reality shows trying to safeguard the end result.
“We film what happens and there is only one thing that happens when they reveal the person they choose. Or in the case of Nick Cummins they don’t chose anyone!”
Osher Günsberg’s workload
Innes is happy her Bachelor franchise host is also having success away from the formats:
“I am very happy for Osher because he is so good on an entertainment format like The Masked Singer. He has carved out a completely different persona for the new show. It has been made for a broad family audience. Osher is so good at picking the mood for different series.”
The Late Late Show
Shoots on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette can go late into the night. Innes explained: “It can go into the early hours of the morning because we have to film the cocktail party and the rose ceremony in the same night. You can’t stop and come back and get the same emotions.”
Innes is often on set and she said the latest she had arrived home from one of the late shoots was about 5am.