You’ll Love Arie’s ‘Bachelor’ Season, Even If You Don’t Remember Who He Is
ABC threw Bachelor Nation for a loop when it announced on Sept. 7 that Arie Luyendyk, Jr. will be the next Bachelor on Season 22 of the reality dating series. The Bachelorette Season 8 runner-up might seem like an odd choice — and a rather deep cut — to headline the next installment of the wildly popular show, but Arie's selection could actually be a blessing in disguise. Still, there are obvious concerns: will such an unfamiliar face help draw in new viewers? Or will the promotion of a B-list Bachelor Nation star drive away more fans than it attracts?
It's a well-known fact that The Bachelor pulls its suitors from the ranks of The Bachelorette contestants — usually from the installment of that spin-off that preceded the upcoming season. This establishes a sense of continuity and allows viewers to feel like they already know the Bachelor going into the new season. But that wasn't always the case; for its first 12 seasons (most of which took place before The Bachelorette even existed), the Bachelors were brand new faces each year, with no spinoff to pull handsome men from.
And, most importantly, it was those early seasons that turned The Bachelor into the sensation it is today, without the crutch of familiar faces to fall back on.
But ratings for The Bachelor have been falling for the past four seasons now, and perhaps the choice of Arie — as surprising as it is — could be the perfect thing to get the show back on track. The Dutch race car driver may not be anyone's favorite former runner-up, and fans may be riled up about his selection… but a little bit of controversy never hurt any show in terms of ratings.
A divisive choice could help spark renewed interest in Season 22; and Arie is just familiar enough to veteran fans to maintain that connection to the larger Bachelor Nation, while not feeling like too much of an "insider" to alienate potential new audience members.
After all, in a poll conducted by TVLine, 11 percent of respondents said that Arie's selection actually made them more interested in Season 22. Granted, that number is dwarfed by the 45 percent who said that his selection made them less interested — but "less interested" doesn't necessarily mean "won't tune in." (Indeed, another 21 percent confirmed that "I'll always watch regardless.)
And while fans on Twitter haven't held back when it comes to lampooning Aries' random selection, few have actually threatened to quit watching the series entirely.
Let's be real, I'll never stop watching #TheBachelor. If I was willing to suffer through Nick Viall round 4, I'm def not stopping at Arie.— Bach Bracket (@bachbrack) September 7, 2017
I'm talking crap on the new bachelor and this season but I know every Monday night you will still catch me watching it #TheBachelor— jess 11 (@sunsettlouis) September 7, 2017
This deep cut could even pull back in some viewers who had let their commitment to The Bachelor slide a bit in recent years, or who are relatively new to the franchise.
now I have to binge Emily's season— Rodger (@rodger835) September 7, 2017
i'll wait until december 31 #TheBachelor
Can someone enlighten me about #TheBachelor next season pick? Just started watching during Ben's season bc I couldn't pry my gf away from TV— Dr.Bryan Harnsberger (@PSYCH_HYPE) September 7, 2017
I have no clue who #thebachelor is, but you best believe I'm going to watch season 8 of the bachelorette to find out— Margaret Sutton (@marge445) September 7, 2017
Some fans even dared to express enthusiasm over the network's choice.
Ok but I love Arie so I'm down with it #TheBachelor— Martha Sorren (@marthasorren) September 7, 2017
And, in the end, it's possible that Arie could be The Bachelor's Dark Knight.
Arie might not be #TheBachelor we asked for or wanted or deserve but maybe he's the bachelor we all need— EvilStepmommy (@evil_stepmommy) September 7, 2017
Then again, it's also possible that this surprising pick will turn out to be a total dud, and nobody will remember Season 22 even existed a year from now. But from the fact that Arie dominated Thursday's entertainment news cycle, it's likely that fans will love his season and tune in to fall (back) in love with him, too.