The Bachelor Creator Mike Fleiss Parting Ways With Franchise After More Than Two Decades

“The Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss is parting ways with the franchise he launched more than two decades ago, Variety has learned.

Fleiss will be replaced by new showrunners Claire Freeland, Jason Ehrlich and Bennett Graebner, all of whom have long-term ties to “The Bachelor” franchise.

“The Bachelor” has been on the air since 2002 when it launched with its flagship show, which has spawned numerous spinoffs, including the female-fronted “Bachelorette” and summer fan-favorite, “Bachelor In Paradise.” Nearly 55 seasons of those shows, all created by Fleiss, have aired over the years, and that’s not including other defunct spinoffs. The franchise is currently in production on its 20th season of “The Bachelorette,” which will air this summer.

The news of Fleiss’ departure comes the day after “The Bachelor” Season 27 finale aired on ABC, which starred leading man Zach Shallcross, who proposed to his winner Kaity Biggar.

“First and foremost, congratulations are in order for Zach and Kaity. I wish them a long and happy life together,” Fleiss says in a statement to Variety, referencing the winning couple from “The Bachelor” Season 27. “I want to thank WBTV and ABC for 21 extraordinary years. They’ve found the perfect creative team for me to entrust ‘The Bachelor’ franchise and keep this lightening in a bottle bold and moving forward. Let the journey continue.”

In 2019, Fleiss was accused of attacking his pregnant wife, who had filed for an emergency domestic violence restraining order against her husband. Fleiss denied the allegations, but his wife, Laura Fleiss, alleged in a court filing that he had assaulted her in their Hawaii home by grabbing her and forcibly pinning her against a wall, becoming “enraged” that she became pregnant against his wishes and “demanded” she have an abortion. In denying the allegations, Fleiss said that his wife was the one who became physical with him. Amid those troubles, a police investigation was launched into the situation, but sources had told Variety that an internal investigation was never initiated at Warner Horizon Television, which produces “The Bachelor” franchise, because the incident was treated as a private, domestic matter. The restraining order was reportedly dropped with a divorce settlement, but eventually, the couple reconciled, both taking to Twitter to clear the air, with Fleiss’ wife walking back her initial accusations.

Since those accusations and the couple’s reconcilation, Fleiss has remained with the show, and has continued his presence on Twitter where he regularly engages with Bachelor Nation, teasing plot lines and surprise announcements. However, sources close to the franchise tell Variety that Fleiss has not been involved with the day-to-day on the show for 10 years.

The new showrunners are all deeply familiar with “The Bachelor” franchise. Freeland is former showrunner of “The Bachelor” franchise in Canada; Ehrlich is a former showrunner on several seasons of “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor Pad;” and Graebner is a longtime executive producer who has worked on all shows across the franchise for more than 15 years. All three have been named executive producers and showrunners on the franchise, and are already at work on the milestone 20th season of “The Bachelorette.”

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