“My last question – and this is kind of a serious question, because I was having a conversation with somebody from the network earlier – do you think it would be a good idea at some point to have a gay or bisexual bachelor?”
“Just ‘cause… I respect them but, um, honestly I don’t think it’s a good example for kids to watch that on TV . . . There’s this thing about gay people it seems to me . . . they’re more ‘pervert’ in a sense. The show will be too hard to watch.”
Simon held the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger and let out a heavy sigh. No matter what he’d done he couldn’t make this disappear. He devoted an entire season to just badmouthing Juan Pablo, but the ratings hadn’t improved and there was still a stigma attached to the show. Especially after the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, “The Bachelor” just seemed “old fashioned, sexist, and bigoted,” according to a recent focus group.
So he’d resorted to doing exactly what the banished bachelor had spoken out against – having an openly not-straight bachelor. They’d selected their candidate extra carefully, going through five times the regular screening procedures and even a preliminary week in a test bachelor scenario. The final choice: a high school choir teacher from North Carolina named Louis Tomlinson. They’d specifically chosen a bisexual bachelor to not totally scare anyone away from the traditional setup of the show, but intrigue anyone who had stopped watching because of the scandal. It wasn’t the first time a show like this had been made, by any means (“A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila” comes to mind), but this was the highest profile show of its kind.
So far, interest in the show had piqued. It’d been searched more than any other reality show out, but that meant nothing for the ratings. He was just going to have to trust the love of trashy TV that Americans held so deeply for that.
He wasn’t so good with trust.