Summer reality preview: ABC’s ‘Bachelor Pad’ puts fresh spin on popular franchise

As part of our look at new summer reality series, realscreen talks to ABC Entertainment Group's John Saade, SVP, alternative series, specials and late-night, about the latest addition to the Bachelor family, Bachelor Pad.
July 21, 2010

Bachelor Pad, the latest addition to ABC’s Bachelor and Bachelorette family, puts the competition aspect ahead of than the romance, says ABC Entertainment Group’s John Saade, SVP, alternative series, specials and late-night.

‘The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise is based around romance as the top level driver, with gamesmanship underneath,’ says Saade. ‘[Bachelor Pad] flips that equation just a little bit. It puts the gamesmanship at the top, but there is still lots of room for love and romance.’

Bachelor Pad, produced by Los Angeles-based Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television, is the newest twist in the reality franchise that has seen 20 combined seasons of the two earlier series. Executive produced by Mike Fleiss, Martin Hilton and Jay Bienstock, the series is hosted by familiar face Chris Harrison, host of the two original series, along with Melissa Rycroft, seen on The Bachelor‘s series 13 and Dancing With the Stars. The new spin-off will see 19 of the most popular former castmates of both series living under one roof, engaging in challenges in order to win a cash prize of $250,000.

‘The money is essentially the trophy that you win at the end, in that it is a game so there is a prize,’ adds Saade. ‘But the game is all based on relationships, how you’re viewed and how you project yourself, all of those things that make for great reality television.’

The producers and ABC are leaving out many of the elements from the original series in the newest incarnation in order to provide a fresh experience for audiences. ‘It’ll definitely feel like it comes from the DNA of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but there isn’t any specific element that carried directly across,’ says Saade.

As for casting the 19 castmates from previous seasons, the producers went for the people who had big standout moments, or as Saade puts it, ‘those people that the audience responded to [by] either really liking or disliking [them]. It was based on the [potential] chemistry of what they would do together inside the house.’

Saade says the series, premiering in ABC’s Monday night line-up on August 9, nicely fits into ABC’s summer slate by being ‘fun, frothy and romantic.’ It’s a formula that still works, apparently, as The Bachelorette attracted its biggest audience excluding season finales with last Monday’s episode.

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