Game of Thrones comes to a close on Sunday with another 80-minute episode. If you didn’t know the series was coming to an end, just crawl back under your rock . . . and color me jealous for your complete obliviousness.
How will HBO move forward after its crown jewel is gone? If history tells us anything, they will be JUST fine.
Catch-22 is now available to stream on Hulu. The streamer has made all 6 episodes available now.
Season 2 of Fleabag is now available to stream on Amazon.
Season 3 of Nailed It! is now available on Netflix.
As are season 2 of The Rain and season 2 of White Gold, neither of which I’ve ever seen.
“Tan France (Queer Eye) and designer/model Alexa Chung will host Netflix’s Next In Fashion, a competition that pits designers in a battle to become the next big thing. No date has been set for the launch, but season one will have ten episodes. Next in Fashion begins with eighteen designers who face challenges centering on a different trend or design style that has influenced the way the entire world dresses. Judges, including stylist Elizabeth Stewart and Instagram fashion guru Eva Chen are among judges who will evaluate their creations. More guest judges will be announced. The winner will receive a $250,000 prize and an opportunity to debut their collection with luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter. Next in Fashion is created and produced by theoldschool and is executive produced by Robin Ashbrook and Yasmin Shackleton with co-executive producer Adam Cooper.”
American Idol wraps up its current season on Sunday.
Ditto for HBO’s Barry.
Season 6 of The Blacklist closes out tonight as well.
I was very satisfied with the series finale of The Big Bang Theory. This was a show I have watched since the pilot aired and I feel they wrapped it up quite nicely.
Here’s everything that was wrapped up, explained. I’m just happy they got that elevator fixed, finally.
Chuck Lorre talks about that last scene here.
South Side, a new scripted comedy set at a rental store in the South Side of Chicago, will premiere on Comedy Central on July 24. “South Side follows two friends who just graduated from community college and are ready to take over the world. But until they do, they’re stuck working at Rent-T-Own. Shot on location in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, the show offers an authentic look into what life on the South Side is all about.”
“Verve has signed the WGA’s new Code of Conduct, the biggest win yet in the guild’s campaign to ‘divide and conquer’ the agency business. Verve is not a member of the Association of Talent Agents, but its signing makes it the biggest lit agency to sign the code so far. It also opens the door to other mid-level agencies to follow suit. Sources say several other mid-sized agencies have been in talks with the guild, including at least one that is a member of the ATA. Verve’s signing makes it the 70th agency to sign the code, only one of which, Pantheon, is an ATA member. Even so, that just a fraction of the 234 agencies that had been franchised by the guild before it implemented its new code. So far, the ATA’s other 112 member agencies – including the Big 4 packaging agencies – have refused to sign.” I’ve never heard of Verve, so I’m not sure how monumental this is, but it is something.
Amazon has canceled The Tick.
“Amazon Studios has picked up to series YA drama pilot Panic, from writer Lauren Oliver based on her best-selling book and producers Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum. Ramping up a YA slate was one of the first major programming initiatives of Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke after she joined the company last year. The company greenlighted three YA drama pilots, Panic, College and The Wilds. Of the other two, College is not going forward, while The Wilds remains in contention. Written and created by Oliver based on her novel published by HarperCollins, Panic centers on a small town in America where every year the graduating seniors engage in a competition they believe is their one chance to escape. But this year, the rules have changed — and they must decide how much they are willing to risk in order to get out. ‘Panic tells a story aimed at young adults, but anyone would be pulled in by the compelling characters and high-stakes drama brought to life by Lauren Oliver,’ Salke said. ‘She is a rare talent in her ability to capture this generation so authentically.’ Panic stars Olivia Welch as Heather, Mike Faist as Dodge, Ray Nicholson as Ra, and Will Chase as Sheriff Kean.”
Steve Kroft is leaving 60 Minutes. He’s been with the show since 1989. His last show will air on Sunday, however, a special celebrating is 50 year career is in the works.
Per Inverse (and thanks to my sister for sending), “[i]n Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen set out to “break the wheel” and free Westeros from the tyranny of an endless parade of selfish kings. But as we race headfirst towards the series finale this Sunday, it looks like Game of ThronesSeason 8, Episode 6 could instead keep the wheel turning like usual. An intriguing new theory suggests that history will repeat itself in the finale this Sunday as the remaining characters play out the same conflict that set the story in motion in the first place: Robert’s Rebellion.
Warning: Possible spoilers for the Game of Thrones series finale below.
“First, a quick Westeros history lesson. Robert’s Rebellion took place roughly 20 years before the events of Game of Thrones. It was a civil war in which an alliance of Starks (led by Ned) and Baratheons (led by Robert) took down King Aerys II Targaryen (aka the Mad King) with an assist from the Lannisters after Jaime renounced his position as Kingsguard and stabbed Aerys in the back, literally.
“Ok, so we know that’s a lot to remember, but there’s one more important detail: The rebellion began because Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (the Mad King’s son) allegedly kidnapped Ned’s sister, Lyanna Stark, who was supposed to marry Robert. Lyanna ended up dying under mysterious circumstances. Then, Robert became king and married Cersei Lannister instead, and the rest is HBO’s Game of Thrones.
“Got it? Great. Now here’s how the story of Robert’s Rebellion could repeat itself in the Game of Thrones series finale. Step one already happened in Episode 5 when Daenerys Targaryen burned down the entire city of King’s Landing (just like her Mad King father wanted to do) and became the Mad Queen, but in Episode 6, she could go even further.
“It’s not hard to imagine that Dany could aim her newfound rage at another Stark in the next episode, accusing Sansa Stark of treason and arresting her. In response, the remaining Starks (Jon Snow, Arya, and maybe Bran) would likely rebel against their new queen. That’s where the Baratheons come in.
“King Robert is long dead, but in Season 8, Episode 4, Daenerys officially proclaimed Robert’s bastard son, Gendry, to be a true Baratheon and Lord of the Stormlands, a kingdom just south of the Westeros capital that was traditionally ruled by House Baratheon. Gendry may owe Dany a favor, but if she goes Mad Queen and tries to kill Sansa, we have a feeling he’ll side with the Starks in open rebellion.
“The only missing piece of the puzzle is a Lannister to deliver the killing blow. In Robert’s Rebellion, that was Jaime, who was essentially working as private security for King Aerys at the time. Jaime might be dead, but his brother, Tyrion, is still alive. More importantly, he’s Dany’s most trusted advisor, putting him in the perfect position to stab her in the back if it comes to it.
“Finally, if history truly does repeat itself, Gendry will end up on the Iron Throne to become King of Westeros. Of course, that assumes Jon will decline his rightful claim to the throne, but as he’s stated before, he has no interest in ruling.
“Confused? I know that was a lot, so here’s a quick and dirty breakdown:
A ‘mad’ Targaryen was in charge: Aerys → Daenerys
A Stark is taken prisoner: Lyanna Stark is “stolen” → Dany accuses Sansa of treason
The Starks and Baratheons team up to rebel: Ned + Robert → Jon/Arya + Gendry
A Lannister will betray the ruler to deal the finishing blow: Jaime → Tyrion
A Baratheon ends up on the Iron Throne: Robert → Gendry
“As redditor u/nzjamesk points out, this theory even makes sense if Daenerys directs her rage at Jon instead of Sansa: ‘It also works if you switch Sansa and Jon so the genetic parentage pattern holds. Lyanna is mother to Jon so perhaps Jon will be executed at the opening of Episode 6. Then Sansa (Ned Stark’s biological daughter) will join with Gendry to fight the war, and go back North to become warden(ess) of the North.’
“With all the steps laid out, it almost seems inevitable that the Game of Thronesfinale will follow this structure. The only problem, as one fan on Reddit points out, is that this may be too much plot for a single episode. But with Season 8’s rapid pacing and an 80-minute runtime for Episode 6, it could definitely still happen.
“At the very least, this theory gives Gendry Baratheon a much more satisfying ending than the one Game of Thrones Season 8 currently has lined up for him. What sounds better: Getting rejected by Arya and disappearing forever, or leading a rebellion against the Mad Queen and taking the Iron Throne?”
From The Ringer: “There’s no one explanation for how Game of Thrones became a culture-spanning phenomenon. Slipping into the microscopic gap between the Golden Age of Television and Peak TV, HBO’s fantasy epic earned an investment of resources from its network that would have been unthinkable previously for such a budget-conscious medium. Primed by group analyses of phenomena like The Sopranos, audiences gave the show their sustained focus and thought, a school of TV-watching still new enough for disciples to be disarmed by Thrones’ signature reversals. And in the culture at large, Thrones arrived at a time when genre storytelling was shifting from the margins to the center. The series premiered just three years after Iron Man inaugurated the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and will air its final installment as Avengers: Endgame maintains a weekslong stranglehold on the international box office.
“But the simplest factor in Thrones’ success is also the most important. Quite simply, Game of Thrones is a good and influential TV show because it’s based on good and influential source material: George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the five-volume-and-counting saga that first originated the Stark and Lannister clans back in 1996. Since Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss bypassed Martin’s original material circa Season 6, the relationship between books and show has complicated. My colleague Ben Lindbergh declared Martin the ‘real winner’ of Thrones’ much-maligned seventh season, vindicated even in his writer’s block by the creative choices being made on his behalf. (In theory, A Song of Ice and Fire will have two final volumes, bringing the total to seven; Martin has not published a new entry since A Dance With Dragons in 2011.) Having once so masterfully adapted Martin’s vision to the screen, Benioff and Weiss began encountering a much more public version of his same difficulties in bringing their shared story to a close.
“With its cast of thousands, dense mythology, and intercontinental scope, A Song of Ice and Fire is an awkward fit for the screen indeed. Yet what the current split in regard between books and show tends to obscure is that this very awkwardness was once a boon, not a handicap. Nor is A Song of Ice and Fire as distinct from television as this dichotomy tends to imply. Game of Thrones exists, by its nature, in conversation with the books. From their beginning, however, the books themselves were in conversation with TV. Keeping this origin story in mind, Game of Thrones’ struggles as it comes to a close this Sunday are less a divergence than the closing of a full circle. A Song of Ice and Fire was an explicit reaction against television, which made its adaptation inherently subversive TV. And what some have interpreted as Game of Thrones shedding the qualities that once made it exceptional is, in fact, a capitulation to its format. Game of Thrones may be the biggest television show of all time, but at the end, it couldn’t transcend television.
“From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s—right around the time A Game of Thrones was published—Martin lived in the belly of the beast. Like many novelists before him, Martin went Hollywood, writing for the first revival of The Twilight Zone and serving as a writer-producer on CBS’s Beauty and the Beast. When he tried to launch some of his own projects, Martin quickly ran up against the limitations of an industry he was decades too early to disrupt. ‘The theme of that whole period for me was, I would always turn in my first draft to whatever network or studio or producer I was working for and the reaction was inevitably, “George, this is great. It’s terrific, it’s a wonderful read, thanks. But it’s three times our budget. We can’t possibly make it. It’s too big and it’s too expensive,”’ Martin toldThe New York Times in 2011, ahead of Thrones’ premiere.
“Enter the written word. ‘When I returned to prose, which had been my first love, in the ’90s,’ Martin continued, ‘I said I’m going to do something that is just as big as I want to do. I can have all the special effects I want. I can have a cast of characters that numbers in the hundreds. I can have giant battle scenes. Everything you can’t do in television and film, of course you can do in prose because you’re everything there.’ Martin subsequently took full advantage of the freedoms experience had taught him to appreciate. Without a time slot, he populated Westeros with noble houses served by smaller houses served by peasants protected by sacred orders. Without budgets, he plunged the continent into a five-front war. And without actor contracts, he killed his main character and several of his potential replacements, egos and agents be damned.
“Ironically, such blatant defiance of television’s institutional norms makes for inherently interesting television. To its credit, Game of Thrones didn’t change the core characteristics of A Song of Ice and Fire to make them more palatable to TV. Instead, it was TV itself that was changed. Never before had a show baited and switched its audience about the very concept of a protagonist; never before had a show included hourlong battles with the financial demands of a feature film; never before had a show carried such an overwhelming mass of detailed lore that it could single-handedly support its own explainer industry. Part of what Thrones’ legions of fans have responded to is old-school craftsmanship, in the form of great performances and richly outlined characters. Much of the appeal, however, was novelty: Viewers weren’t used to feeling the disorientation that came with Ned Stark’s beheading or Jaime Lannister’s gradual redemption, so they stuck around for more.
“The sheer feat of translating these subversions, and balancing them with the practicalities necessary to create an actual television show, ought not to be understated. Whatever criticisms they’ve faced for their relatively original storytelling, Benioff and Weiss proved themselves to be master adaptors. Without Martin’s device of limited third-person, point-of-view chapters, which could transform a character from caricature to de facto narrator in an instant, Game of Thrones capably planted the seeds of the Lannister twins’ nuance much earlier on. Without pages’ worth of raw exposition, Thrones re-created the feeling of Westeros as a place buckling under the weight of its own history, haunted by the phantom pains of a war decades in the past. This accomplishment alone places Thrones in the pantheon of series that fundamentally altered audiences’ expectations of TV.
“A cruel paradox of Thrones’ later seasons, then, is that the show effectively trained its fan base to hold it to the same logical, methodical, unsentimental standard as the earlier seasons and books did fantasy tropes. A decade ago, A Song of Ice and Fire so effectively commented on sword-and-sorcery mainstays it changed how some readers saw the genre; now, Game of Thrones has preemptively taught its viewership to reject the shortcuts and workarounds it’s taken on the way to Sunday’s conclusion. Because many of the flaws in Thrones’home stretch aren’t unique to Thrones. They’re products of typical TV logic—exactly the kind Thrones initially rejected, and can no longer resist.
“Notoriously, seasons 7 and 8 of Thrones have been condensed down to just seven and six episodes apiece, as opposed to the show’s usual 10. This decision, which Benioff and Weiss have taken full responsibility for in interviews, made itself felt immediately—and detrimentally—in the rhythm of the show. Journeys that once took entire seasons, and yielded pivotal bonds between unlikely character pairs such as Jaime and Brienne or Arya and the Hound, suddenly took less than an episode. Key scenes, like Jon Snow disclosing his Targaryen ancestry to his adopted siblings or a potentially fruitful conversation between Tyrion Lannister and Bran Stark, were skipped over entirely. Major plot developments, including Jorah Mormont’s recovery from greyscale and Viserion’s transformation into an ice dragon, were practically handwaved.
“For a story where structure and substance are as tightly interlinked as Thrones’, these logistical considerations quickly took a toll on characters and themes. The most recent example of Thrones’ newfound speed undercutting its former methodology is also the most controversial: the rapidly manifested, unconvincingly indiscriminate genocidal tendencies of one Daenerys Targaryen. Longtime observers’ understandable impulse was to contrast such hasty pivots with Thrones’ earlier world-building. Yet it’s equally revealing, and useful, to point out how similar Thrones has become to more familiar forms of television as it is to point out how dissimilar it’s become from itself. Even if Thrones’ impending deadline is self-imposed, hurtling toward a destination determined by outside circumstances is classically TV. The lead got a better opportunity, so they need to be written out of the show; the network canceled the series, so every loose end needs to be tied up on someone else’s schedule. In theory, Thrones enjoys unlimited resources to destroy fictional cities and animate undead armies. By running short on time and taking obvious steps to overcome this shortcoming, however, Thrones has found itself in the same strained, resourceful state as countless shows before it.
“Not all of Thrones’ concessions to television’s unspoken bylaws are purely logistical. One of the books’ defining trademarks is a rigid obedience to the demands of the story over the wishes of the reader. Like its epic scale, this principle was an antidote to ratings-ruled TV, whose audience had the power to demand to be catered to and could vote with their remotes if they weren’t. Thrones’ ubiquity has been long since secured, but its final seasons have been marked by the kind of fan service, wish fulfillment, and endgame-driven decision-making its earlier iteration scrupulously avoided. Potential fatalities, including those of virtually every major character in a battle we were later told eliminated half its combatants, were miraculously avoided. Popular pairings, like Brienne and Tormund’s one-sided flirtation, were forced to the point of outliving their initial charm. Fairy-tale-like happy endings were seemingly provided (though Sam’s paternal bliss or Tormund’s riding off into the sunset could well be undone in the finale). Certain conflicts, like Varys’s betrayal of Dany in favor of Jon, occurred not because of past events, but because they needed to in order to justify future ones.
“Thrones remains a powerhouse, and the achievements of its foundational first half will endure. But just as Thrones’ heroes have found that they can’t overcome the sins of their ancestors—madness on Dany’s part, honor-bound naivete on Jon’s—Thrones itself has run up against the precedents it once upended. Game of Thrones has an awareness, and wariness, of its form built in from the jump. Sometimes, though, one’s natural instincts take over, especially in the absence of an author’s guiding hand. The long arc of serialized television bends, inexorably, toward itself.”
From The Hollywood Reporter: “AMC is getting into the episodic anthology game.
“The cable network has ordered six episodes of a show that mixes science fiction and romance. It comes from Black Mirror writer Will Bridges, who won an Emmy for the show's USS Callister installment and writer and actor Brett Goldstein (Hoff the Record, SuperBob). It's based on their 2013 short film For Life and will explore what it means when everyone can find their soulmate.
“‘This is AMC’s first foray into non-serialized storytelling, and we’re trying to do so in the boldest way possible,’ said David Madden, president of programming for AMC Networks and AMC Studios. ‘The show explores how technological innovation can impact the most delicate matters of the heart, and each episode will turn personal life choices into high-stakes drama. It’s a fresh yet relatable idea, portrayed through wildly entertaining tales with unexpected twists, humor and meaningful emotion. Will and Brett are immensely talented creators, and we are thrilled to have these new and observant voices on AMC.’
“AMC has done seasonal anthologies, including its current series The Terror and the upcoming Dispatches From Elsewhere from Jason Segel, but the Bridges/Goldstein show will be the cabler's first where the cast changes out episode to episode.
“The untitled series is set 15 years in the future, when science makes a discovery that changes the lives of everyone on the planet — a way for people to find their soulmate. Each episode will tell the story of a different couple and explore the cost of finding true love, with each one different in tone and featuring a spectrum of characters and relationships.
“‘I'm thrilled to be working on this show with AMC,’ said Bridges. ‘To get the opportunity to expand on the short film Brett and I made and tell new stories about how messed up love can make a person is something we're both very grateful for and extremely excited about.’
“Added Goldstein, ‘I am extremely excited and honored to make our show about soulmates with AMC, the network responsible for at least two of my favorite shows, one of which I definitely watched legally.’
“Bridges and Goldstein will executive produce the series with Jolyon Symonds through Fearless Minds, a Banijay Group company. AMC Studios is producing.”
Per Variety, “The Bachelorette is back for its 15th season with a new leading lady: Hannah Brown, otherwise known as Hannah B.
“Brown was first introduced to audiences as a contestant on the most recent season of The Bachelor with star Colton Underwood, and she was seen as a dark horse for The Bachelorette.
“Although the season just premiered this past Monday, the full season wrapped shooting this week, meaning Brown’s journey for love has come to an end. Viewers will watch her season play out over the next couple of months, but ABC’s reality chief, Rob Mills, teases that Brown is truly torn over who to choose. ‘What you’re going to find is the decision she makes goes right down to the very last minute,’ Mills tells Variety.
“The supertease shown at the end of Monday’s premiere episode promises a dramatic season filled with crying, screaming, fighting, an ambulance, one contestant calling another contestant a ‘psychopath’ and a lot of kissing. In fact, the promo footage of the season shows that Brown is not shy about expressing her sexuality, which Mills says was embraced by the network.
“Here, Rob Mills talks to Variety about Season 15, how The Bachelor franchise evolves, in regards to sexuality and diversity — and whether there are plans to cast a black Bachelor anytime soon:
Hannah B. is the first Bachelorette chosen who was not in the Top 4 on The Bachelor. What made her so special that you knew she had to be the leading lady?
It’s not like The Bachelorette has to be in the Top 4. We’ve met with others in the past. We also met with Hannah G. and Taysia and Demi, who was a wildcard, and Caelynn. And then Hannah came in and I think because she really thought she was a dark horse and didn’t have much of a chance, she came in with nothing to lose — that’s not to say the other girls were politicking or anything, but with her, she was just herself. There was no nervousness. Like, “I’ll take the meeting, but I’m sure it’s not going to be me.” The other four we met with were also phenomenal, which is why we’re so happy we have “Bachelor In Paradise,” so that we don’t have to say goodbye to these people. But there was just something about Hannah. She came in and there was just something so different about her and we knew she’d make a great “Bachelorette.”
What exactly was it about Hannah that you knew she’d make a great Bachelorette?
She said herself “I’m the hot mess express,” and she really is — she just owns the fact that she is a bit uncomfortable in her own skin and she is goofy and can be a little crazy, but she also is someone who really wants to settle down and she’s in a point in her life where she’s ready to find that right partner, so everything just came together with her.
How would you describe Hannah as The Bachelorette?
I would describe her as someone who is true to herself, honest and someone who really grew as a woman. You see her being really independent and owning who she is. She’s somebody who threw her whole heart into it and was really strong. If somebody came on that wasn’t there for the right reasons, she really handled it herself — she didn’t wait for Chris Harrison or producers to handle a situation for her. Everything she did was what she wanted to do, which was great, but also just fun and funny.
[I would describe her as awkward and lame.]
In the supertease that was shown at the end of the season premiere, Hannah says, “I have had sex and Jesus still loves me.” It appears that she feels judged by the men for expressing her sexuality. What is that about?
She’s a southern girl and I think maybe some guys had preconceived notions and thought she would be what they would see in their mind as “proper” or someone who shouldn’t have a physical relationship unless it’s just with them or the person she’s marrying, and she basically says no — she says it perfectly: “I had sex and Jesus still loves me.” Being a strong independent woman, she basically says that no matter who she marries, her husband is going to accept that, or else he’s not going to be her husband.
Are you concerned about the reaction to that storyline? Obviously, the topic of having sex before marriage is a big discussion that is far bigger than The Bachelor.
I’m very curious how that’s going to be received, but I think she’s a great, strong, independent “Bachelorette,” and I hope that Bachelor Nation is going to get behind her and cheer for her.
Is intimacy a big part of this season?
Like we saw in Colton’s season, the topic of sexuality and physicality is addressed head-on. Certainly, we brought it up on Andi’s [Dorfman] season where Nick [Viall] said that they had made love on the fantasy suite. It kicked down a door that yes, physical relationships are part of this show. It’s just a part of the show. I think you’ll see that Hannah is very physically affectionate — that doesn’t mean sex necessary — but she believes that physical chemistry is part of it. You’ll see, even just with her kissing, it’s very sensual, which is great because she’s forming these connections with these guys.
From the teaser of the season, it looks like Hannah is torn at the end. Is this a season where the lead falls in love with multiple contestants?
She definitely falls in love with numerous people. She’s somebody who is very passionate and she has a massive heart. She’s open to everyone and everything. With Hannah, she really was considering everything. I think she dated a certain type of guy before this, and I think she realized that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and she really explored multiple connections with many guys. She is someone who believes that there is room in your heart to love more than one person. So yes, she absolutely does fall in love with multiple men.
So then, how does that impact the drama of this season? In recent seasons, we’ve seen leads who are torn over multiple people at the end of their seasons and then make a last-minute decision — and even change their minds.
That’s right. We’ll see how it pans out. But what was so amazing is that the guys this season are all so smitten and in love with her. It’s impossible not to fall in love with her. She’s just so funny and winning and charming and honest to herself and stunningly beautiful. So, the guys were super competitive — and not with each other, but just over her. Usually, you see the guys fighting because they just don’t like each other personally. Here, it is much more about Hannah. They are so over the moon about Hannah.
You can see that in the promo for the season. The guys appear to be extremely competitive and aggressive.
They’re very aggressive. You’ll see one guy manipulate time with Hannah. In the second week, there is a guy who doesn’t get a date so he shows up at a group date, which turns everyone off. And there is another guy, Luke P., who almost immediately falls head over heels with Hannah — this is a guy who is completely in love with Hannah, but also has some DNA of Chad [Johnson].
If you’re comparing anyone to “Bad Chad,” I’m guessing it’s safe to assume that Luke P. is a contestant to keep an eye on?
I would say he’s the one that everyone is going to be talking about. He’s the one who is called a “psychopath” in the teaser. There are shades of Chad there. But I don’t want to call him a “villain,” because I don’t know that we necessarily have villains anymore — there are a lot more shades of gray. Whether he’s in love with Hannah or not, he believes he’s in love with her, almost from the very beginning. So he’s not necessarily a bad guy, but he is a controversial guy.
Are there any other contestants to look out for?
I would keep an eye on Jed, the songwriter, because I think there’s always a red flag that comes up with a guy who’s a singer because there’s the question of is he there for fame? But he’s somebody that I think people are really going to fall in love with. I think Mike is somebody that everybody loves and is one of our all-time great contestants — funny, charming, a great smile, very sweet. He has a moment with her that is so heartfelt that people are going to just fall in love with him, but he’s also a guy that isn’t afraid to call it out like he sees it. We also have John Paul Jones, who never goes by anything but John Paul Jones. And then there’s Cam, who is going to stir things up very early with the guys in the house.
How about Matteo? He’s getting a lot of attention because he’s a sperm donor who has fathered 114 children. Was that an issue for Hannah?
No. What you’ll see with Hannah is she is really open to everything. I think she really feels that if people want to have a child and this is a way that it can help them, that’s the way that she views it. And he is fantastic. He actually knows some of these kids. It’s not like he just donated his sperm and moved on. When you look at him, you’ll understand why they chose him as a sperm donor because he’s very good looking, he’s funny, smart and charming. He’s a great character this season.
There is an ambulance in the promos, which is becoming familiar imagery on The Bachelor”franchise. Is this actually going to be a serious injury or hospital visit, or is it going to turn out to be a moment viewers think was overblown through editing and promotion?
The hospital visits, I’d say, are fairly warranted. I think we see more injuries on “The Bachelorette” because they do more physical dates like boxing and that stuff. There’s a rugby date that turns very violent and physical.
You said that Hannah is open to everything. Was that helpful in casting her suitors, in regards to diversity, given that she doesn’t have a “type?”
What the show has done really well is adding diversity and it happened gradually. I don’t think you hear about it as much as you did before when it was like, “They put in one or two people to check a box.” Now, it isn’t that. Mike, who I just mentioned as one of our best contestants, isn’t someone that you say, “He’s a great African American cast member” — no, he is one of the greatest cast members this season. The show has done a great job of really including more people, and it really helps with casting. Some of these leads say that they’re really serious about wanting to bring on more diverse cast members that they want to legitimately be their suitors. This isn’t like they’re just going to be there for a couple of nights. We want to make sure that the lead is someone who is open to all different types of people because it just makes the show more interesting, so I think that we’ve stepped up our efforts in the past few years, and now, we have people applying for the show who wouldn’t have in the past.
The entire franchise has only had one lead of color with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, but The Bachelor still has not had a black lead. Each season casts its lead from the pool of contestants from a season before. Do you think you’ve set up the right cast this season to finally cast a black Bachelor?
Look, I think the last several years, that’s been the case. With Bachelorette, that was the case with Rachel. And I think last year with Wills [Reid], that was somebody who was under consideration. This season, absolutely we are going to have some guys who will be considered for Bachelor.
Is there a specific discussion happening behind the scenes about making it a goal to put a black Bachelor in place?
I think it’s always something we’re thinking about that we’ve got to do this. It’s been too long. But it’s not like, “Okay, let’s put these people in to make them The Bachelor” because still, at the end of the day, you want the best cast, and I think that’s what we have here. Obviously, we are going to want to consider an African American Bachelor at some point, so that is always under consideration, but they will have to be on Bachelorette for reasons other than that — obviously you can potentially be the person that The Bachelorette chooses.
Rachel Lindsay recently said that when she filmed the reunion, which just aired, she was “sad” to look around the room and see no one else who looked like her. What do you think about her comments about the franchise’s lack of diversity?
On one hand, obviously I know what she means. Yes? Is she the only diverse Bachelorette at that point? Yes, absolutely. But on the other hand, she never mentioned that when she was The Bachelorette. It made me sad because you always want all the cast members to be happy and have a good experience, and I think for the most part, that is how Rachel feels. But obviously, she had that reaction when she got there.
What can you tease about how Hannah’s season ends?
This could be a situation where one of the guys gets out of the limo to head out to get his heart broken, and all of a sudden, she says, “No, no, no, I’m sorry, he’s the one.” You could see her changing her mind at the last minute. She really is that in love with these last few contestants, and she’s torn over it.
You’ve wrapped filming Hannah’s season, in terms of the planned episodes, but will you continue filming, like you have in the past few seasons, just incase she changes her mind, like Arie Luyendyk Jr?
Of course. Absolutely. No matter what, we’re going to progress this from now until late July or early August when the finale airs because we learned that this thing needs to live after “The Bachelorette” or “Bachelor” fantasy and exist in real life. I think you find some compelling stuff there. What we saw with Arie and Becca [Kufrin] was really riveting. I think of how Colton’s season ended, and that made it go to this next level in terms of honesty and how we morphed into much more real life. And even if it’s just mundane stuff, you can see how they live as a couple. What we’re seeing now is that people are just fascinated with Colton and Cassie and what they’re doing in their everyday life.
Colton and Cassie’s season ended without a proposal and they’re still not engaged, but they’re happily together. Do you think that could be a formula the show follows again, meaning there does not have to be a proposal on the final episode?