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Mike Fleiss is exiting the Bachelor franchise 21 years after the flagship dating series launched on ABC.
Fleiss, the creator and a longtime face of the franchise, confirmed the change in a statement Tuesday. Claire Freeland, Jason Ehrlich and Bennett Graebner have been named executive producers and showrunners for the franchise and have already begun working on the upcoming 20th season of The Bachelorette, which stars Charity Lawson and premieres in June.
In his statement, Fleiss began by congratulating The Bachelor season 27 star Zach Shallcross and fiancée Kaity Biggar, whose finale episode aired Monday. Fleiss had stepped back from active involvement on the shows of late and has not been day-to-day on The Bachelor in the past decade.
“I wish them a long and happy life together,” Fleiss said. “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 lightning in a bottle bold and moving forward. Let the journey continue.”
Freeland previously served as showrunner of the Bachelor franchise in Canada, while other producing credits include Freeform’s Cheer Squad and Netflix’s #CATS_THE_MEWVIE. Ehrlich served as showrunner on multiple seasons of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad in the U.S.; he also executive produced Fox’s Love Connection reboot and ABC’s The Proposal, in addition to creating E!’s The Bradshaw Bunch. Graebner is a longtime executive producer for the Bachelor franchise.
The Bachelor debuted in March 2002, with Alex Michel as the initial star. His runner-up, Trista Rehn, became the first lead on spinoff series The Bachelorette, which premiered the following January. Fleiss has also executive produced later spinoffs including Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise and The Bachelor Winter Games.
Fleiss’ first credit as a series creator was Fox’s controversial Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, which premiered in 2000. He has also created such series as Superstar USA, The Will and High School Reunion, while he has producing credits on films The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and Hostel (2005).
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