Two former stars of The Bachelor have weighed in on the future of the TV dating franchise as the current season of The Bachelorette struggles to bring in the ratings.
Earlier this year, a record low of just 629,000 metro viewers tuned in to see pilot Jimmy Nicholson choose Holly Kingston in The Bachelor finale.
The downward trend continued with the premiere of Brooke Blurton's season of The Bachelorette, which at just under 400k was another all-time ratings low for the franchise.
In an exclusive chat with Yahoo Lifestyle, Brittany Hockley and Laura Byrne, who are bringing their hit podcast, Life Uncut to KIIS FM, shared their thoughts on why people just aren't tuning in this year.
Laura, who met her partner, Matty Johnson on The Bachelor in 2017, commends Channel 10 and production company Warner Bros. for breaking new ground with current star Brooke, Australia's first Indigenous and bisexual bachelorette.
"People have been shouting that they want diversity, that they want more inclusive casting and I think Channel 10 and Warner Bros. have done a really great job in taking on that feedback," she says.
"I think it's unfortunate that it's not rating as well as what it normally would because I think the season itself is great," she adds.
'Reality TV fatigue'
Laura speculates that Aussie viewers are suffering from 'reality TV fatigue' that is only intensified by the wealth and variety offered by streaming services such as Netflix and Stan.
"Maybe we have, not just Bachelor fatigue but reality TV fatigue at the moment. There are so many more options when it comes to streaming and that's what's making free-to-air TV, in general, a bit more of a challenging industry."
Britt, who made it to the final two on Nick 'Honey Badger' Cummins' infamous Bachelor season, agrees that there's currently a 'push away' from reality TV that may last for another six months to a year, but that the Bachie franchise still has legs.
"I think people love the idea of The Bachelor still because everybody loves love. You know, everyone loves a love story and people also like the drama.
"I'm just wondering if maybe they need to have a little something new, like a little refresh next year? So still run The Bachelor but maybe something has to change, maybe people just want something new in the same franchise."
Laura doesn't think that either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette needs to be temporarily taken off-air and 'rested' for a few seasons, just like Bachelor In Paradise was this year. Instead, she wants to see a 'shake-up' of the format.
"Laura and I can cast it because we know relationships, we can pick 'em," Britt jumps in with a laugh.
Laura and Britt could not have had more different experiences on their respective Bachie seasons, but both are grateful to have been involved.
"Obviously I had the worst ending in the show's history," she jokes. "But I don't hold any disdain or ill feelings or regret. I loved my experience on The Bachelor and it still changed my life, I've made so many beautiful friends and had so many great experiences. So I would not actually change anything in hindsight, I think everything happened for a reason."
Laura says she and Matty — who share two daughters, Marlie-Mae and Lola — have found recapping The Bachelorette for Life Uncut to be a "really nostalgic experience".
"For us, we will always hold a really sweet and special spot for the Bachelor franchise," she says.
Life Uncut moves to radio
Plus, if Britt and Laura hadn't taken part they might never have crossed paths and created the country's third most-listened-to podcast, which has just been picked up by KIIS FM as part of its 'Podcast to Broadcast' strategy.
The pair will bring their hilarious, relatable and no-holds-barred brand of conversations, interviews and general madness to the airwaves with the Life Uncut Radio Show on Saturdays in 2022.
Both hosts are thrilled with the new direction their passion project is taking after several years of hard work.
"We are so excited for the next chapter and I guess... I don't know, I want to use the word honoured, I guess, that somebody like KIIS FM, a station of that level has had the support and the belief in us to say, 'You know what, we think you guys have good enough content and we think that you'll do really well'.
"I think having somebody believing you is such a great feeling because for the last two years, it has just been Laura and myself plodding along doing our thing. We're just really grateful for the opportunity and to have a platform to spread our message to even more people than we get to on the podcast."
Britt and Laura are known for keeping things low-key when it comes to recording Life Uncut, which usually happens in one of their bedrooms where the dress code is very relaxed; "We don't wear clothes usually," Britt laughs.
And while the radio show will be 'a lot more professional' than the podcast, it will retain its candid, conversational tone that listeners —or 'Lifers' as they're known — have grown to love.
"The radio show will still have a similar feel to some of the content that we discuss on the podcast but it will be done much more in a radio format in studio," Laura explains.
"And we will brush our hair for it!" Britt adds.
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