When Clayton Echard was announced as the next Bachelor lead, many fans were disappointed and claimed they would not be tuning in for his season.
Now that The Bachelor Season 26 premiere has aired, did the fans’ disinterest in Clayton reflect in the ratings?
The Bachelor Season 26 premiere ratings are officially in, and here’s how Clayton’s opening episode fared with audiences.
The Bachelor Season 26 premiere drops in ratings
The Bachelor Season 26 premiere ratings bring both good and bad news.
On the bright side, the premiere succeeded in leading Monday in the demo and managed to be the night’s highest-rated program beating out the Season 3 premiere of 9-1-1 Lone Star on Fox and the Season 2 premiere of Kenan on NBC.
On the other hand, this season’s premiere saw the ratings go down sharply as it brought in fewer ratings than Matt James’ season of The Bachelor last January 2021.
The Bachelor Season 26 premiere starring Clayton Echard brought in 3.75 million total viewers and a 0.9 rating in the 12-49 demo, according to Deadline.
Matt James’ historic season of The Bachelor brought in 5.2 million viewers, and a 1.3 rating in the 12-49 demo during the 2021 premiere, meaning Clayton’s premiere saw an estimated 1.45 million drop in viewers.
As far as ratings go, that drop is considered a sharp decline, especially since premieres and finales often bring in the most ratings.
It seems that many of the viewers who refused to watch this season are reflected in the views, although The Bachelor is still beating out its competition. Also, viewers who watch on Hulu and DVR have not been fully factored in, so the actual viewership is likely higher.
Bachelor Nation wanted several other men to be the Bachelor
While it can seem that Bachelor Nation dislikes Clayton Echard, many viewers have made it clear that their issue is not solely with Clayton and more of a disappointment with the franchise for choosing similar white men when there are so many beloved men of color within the franchise.
On the last two seasons of The Bachelorette, there have been several men of color that The Bachelorette viewers were eager to see become the next Bachelor, including Andrew Spencer from Katie Thurston’s season, as well as Olumide Onajide, Brandon Jones, Joe Coleman, and especially Rodney Mathews from Michelle Young’s season.
Despite several interesting candidates, The Bachelor chose Clayton before fans even were introduced to him on The Bachelorette Season 18. Even when he was introduced, he barely made an impression the whole time he was there.
While Clayton’s season of The Bachelor certainly looks to have a lot of drama in store, it seems he might not be as big of a ratings hit as producers hoped. Time will tell if The Bachelor’s ratings rise or continue to drop.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.