6:50am PT by THR staff
Freeform Greenlights 'Bachelor' Spinoff 'Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After'
ABC sister network Freeform has greenlighted a Bachelor spinoff following Ben Higgins and fiancee Lauren Bushnell titled Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After.
The new reality series will follow the couple as they prepare for their wedding and as Higgins explores getting involved in the political world and Bushnell tries to establish her post-Bachelor identity. The series, set to debut in October, also will feature appearances by fan favorites from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
“Ben and Lauren are the biggest Bachelor couple of the last 10 years,” Freeform executive vp, programming and development Karey Burke said Wednesday in a statement. “Their romance captured everyone’s attention, and we are delighted to continue their story on Freeform.”
The new series will be produced by Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television, which also produces the flagship show. Mike Fleiss, Martin Hilton and Jason Ehrlich will serve as executive producers, with Jack Mori co-executive producing.
The unscripted ABC series is the fourth spinoff for the long-running Bachelor franchise, including The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise. Most recently, the network debuted a one-hour aftershow in January also hosted by Chris Harrison titled Bachelor Live.
Over the years, the network also has aired several wedding specials focusing on its more successful bachelors and bachelorettes such as Trista Rehn, Jason Mesnick, Ashley Hebert and Sean Lowe.
The Bachelor franchise has continued to perform strongly for ABC despite its growing age, averaging a 3.0 rating among adults 18-49 for Higgins' season, season 20 of the series, which launched in January.
Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After represents Freeform's latest push into reality programming, which started in 2014 when the channel was still known as ABC Family. The cabler's other unscripted offerings include Monica the Medium. The channel also is preparing to enter the late-night field with Alice, a half-hour weekly variety-style platform showcasing bold, groundbreaking and experimental short-form content.
The Freeform name was instituted in January to reflect the cabler's shift in focus to adults 18-34 and what it calls "Becomers" — those experiencing a series of "firsts" like love, jobs and more.