What’s a Golden Bachelor?

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Since 2020, ABC has been plotting to add a “senior” dating show to its Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. The premise is that baby boomers (and older) are an enormous potential audience who might tune in to watch other contemporaries find romantic adventure.

As with the Bachelor and the Bachelorette series, one person is cast as the love interest and many would-be partners must vie for his or her attention. Whether you love it or hate it, the format endures. Premiering in 2002, the Bachelor was followed by the Bachelorette in 2003.

Now, 20 years later, ABC is laser focused on reeling in an older market.

The pandemic slowed the show’s planning and production. But on July 17th, ABC revealed that the new show would air this fall. Featuring a single 71-year-old male as the Golden Bachelor, it has yet to be announced who the over-60 female love interests will be, or the exact format of the show.

Are you intrigued or uninterested?

Depending upon your age and your point of view, you may view the marketing for the new ABC reality dating show as hopeful and inspiring, or trite and hokey.

Let’s look at some examples of the messaging:

From ABC: “…the women arriving at the Mansion (will) have a lifetime of experience, living through love, loss and laughter, hoping for a spark that ignites a future full of endless possibilities.”

Also from ABC: “One hopeless romantic is given a second chance at love, searching for a partner to share the sunset years of life.”

From Cosmopolitan Magazine: “Alert your horny grandmother and smash “panic” on your Life Alert” because the Golden Bachelor is coming…Is it too late to apply on behalf of your super cute grandmother?”

No doubt, if the writer’s strike was over, the late-night TV comedy shows would be rife with one liners about the show’s contestants, poking fun at their age, their sex drives, and their shot at riding off into the golden sunset with a new man/woman. I, for one, am glad we are spared jokes with wink, wink views that trivialize the real-life dating challenges for seniors.

My take on the take!

Having been on the dating scene since 2016 after a long-time marriage ended in divorce, I can attest that women and men dating later in life aren’t cynics. If anything, their life experiences prepare them to be more self-aware, more thoughtful, and more certain of what type of person they would like to meet.

In my experience, daters of all ages are searching for the same thing: a person to love who sees and understands them and will emotionally invest. Far removed from being the butt of a joke or a cliché for a network’s programming, romance seekers at any time in life care deeply about their future happiness in whatever form it appears.

Dating as an older adult is more challenging than dating at younger ages. Why? Because the pool of available candidates is smaller, particularly for females seeking men. So, it strikes me as ironic that the format of the upcoming show features multiple women competing for one man, mirroring the exact dilemma that older female daters face in the real world.

What others are saying:

Kate Taylor, a dating coach for the Our Time dating app: “There is without a doubt of lack of representation…when it comes to older people dating. In reality, people over 50 are finding love every day.”

Kate Kaput, a 38 year old fan : “I hope the show will combat the misconception that when you get old, you lose your value, your vibrancy, your excitement about life.”

Dave Neal, host of the daily podcast “Bachelor Rush Hour”: “I think it will be super heartwarming if done right.”

IF done right. And there’s the big question mark.

How can reality TV effectively convey the courage, the hopefulness, the willingness to step out into the unknown that each one of us who decides to date again must claim?

Judging from what I have seen of the promotion so far, it’s going to be a very tall order.

What’s your view? Will you be watching?

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Please share them with me at Kate@KateSomerset.com.

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