If you’re a fan of the Bachelor franchise, we probably don’t need to tell you that there have been quite a few major shakeups in recent months.
Chris Harrison was fired; two Bachelorettes filmed their seasons back-to-back, and it’s looking more and more as though Tayshia Adams is poised to become the new face of the franchise.
But while those are the sort of changes that usually breathe new life into a long running series, ratings for Katie Thurston’s season remain at rock bottom.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that ABC execs are now looking to shake things up even more.
According to a new report from OK! magazine, actress, dancer, and social media personality Julianne Hough is being eyed as the next Bachelorette.
Hough filed for divorce from Brooks Laich back in November of 2020, following a long separation.
She briefly dated actor Ben Barnes earlier this year, but these days, Julianne is single and ready to mingle … possibly with 30 supremely eligible bachelors!
“ABC execs are desperate to shake things up,” a source close to the situation tells
“Producers think a big name would help,” a second insider says.
“Now that Julianne won’t be returning to Dancing With the Stars this fall, they think people would love to see her somewhere else on the network."
The source says that Julianne has not yet been approached with an offer, but notes that she “would no doubt be excited by the prospect,”
“[Hough] has never been afraid to try new things,” the insider says.
“And she would definitely add some spice to the show.”
A big part of the appeal for Bachelor producers is that Julianne would come with a built-in audience.
She was a fan favorite on DWTS for several seasons, and she still boasts an Instagram following of 4.9 million.
Compare that to the 730,000 followers on Katie’s page with her season already at the halfway point, and it become easy to see why execs might be considering their first celebrity Bachelorette.
Monday’s episode of The Bachelorette pulled in just over 3 million viewers and a paltry 0.7 share of the all-important 18-49 demographic.
That’s a new rock bottom, beating the previous low set last week.
Needless to say, this is a troubling trend for a franchise that’s been a reliable ratings juggernaut for nearly two decades.
Some believe the precipitous ratings decline is a result of Harrison’s departure, but it seems more likely that the culprit is "ratings errosion" a phenomenon that afflicts all long-running series as viewers simply lose interest.
Add to that the fact that Katie finished in eleventh place on Matt James’ season, and thus didn’t have the name recognition of a contestant who made it to the hometown or Fantasy Suite rounds.
(Producers usually select one of the finalists for that reason, but we guess Katie’s career is a testament to the power of a well-placed vibrator.)
The casting of Hough would come as a shock to longtime Bachelorette fans, but at this point, there’s no denying that producers need to do something.
Two more seasons of similar ratings declines, and ABC execs will almost certainly be talking cancellation — a prospect that would have once been unthinkable for the OG reality dating show.
But would Hough ever agree to participate in such a stunt?
Only time will tell, but the fact is, both she and the network need to figure out their next moves before it’s too late.