It’s safe to say ABC Network is trying to find its spot in the golden age of television. No, but really. The newest installment of “The Bachelor” franchise, “The Golden Bachelor,” is set to take a more old-fashioned approach to love and will premiere on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET.
Known for setting up young, attractive singles, ABC’s newest spinoff trades in their usual cast for a group with a bit more wisdom: 71-year-old leading man Gerry Turner and 22 women, ages 60-75, all vying for Turner’s final rose.
This isn’t Turner’s first go-round at love. He married his high school sweetheart, Toni, who he shares two daughters with, and their marriage lasted 43 years before she passed away in 2017. Turner’s debut in the franchise will help show audiences there’s no age limit to fresh starts and new love stories.
Originally announced in July, the show has been in the works for awhile. According to Variety, “The Golden Bachelor” has been on the horizon of the franchise since early 2020 with the first casting call for the senior season making an appearance during Peter Weber’s season of “The Bachelor,” but coronavirus bumped the show from the priority list.
Despite the long journey to our screens, fans are ready to watch Turner take his shot at finding love. Using #goldenbachelor on X, formerly known as Twitter, fans are already showing off their love for the new leading man.
It seems like fans’ predictions that Turner’s season will bring something new to the franchise is correct, with ABC “Unscripted” executive Rob Mills weighing in on the new spinoff in an interview with Variety.
“Some of the casting interviews we got, they were just so touching,” Mills says. “It’s such a different way of doing ‘The Bachelor’ because these people are just at a totally different place in their lives.”
Mills is right about contestants being at a different place in their lives. Rather than being at the start of their careers or newly searching for love like many “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” contestants are, 59% of the women on Turner’s season are retired, with some looking for their second chance at love while others are searching for their first happily-ever-after.
“The Golden Bachelor” isn’t just bringing a new perspective to “The Bachelor” franchise, but reality TV as a whole. Dating-centered reality TV is often seen as shallow, with shows like “Love Island” and “Too Hot to Handle” adding to the perception that all dating shows are nothing more than just a group of young, single 20-somethings.
Turner’s season is set to change that. Beyond the contestants physically being older, their age represents a completely different take on dating and life. Fans speculate the contestants won’t be searching for internet stardom, like many of their younger counterparts do, and have a better idea of what they want in love, with user @bach_rants pointing out the fact that the cast of women “won’t necessarily be impressed by the Bachelor by default” and “know what they want.”
All in all, “The Golden Bachelor” shows promise for both the franchise and other broadcast television. Depending on the success of Turner’s journey to find love, there’s a chance we could be seeing a lot of reimagined reality shows with older contestants in the near future. Our vote is for a “Love Island: Nursing Home” edition.