The Bachelor creator, Mike Fleiss, is officially stepping away from the franchise after originally launching the show over 20 years ago.
The news comes just one day after the season finale of The Bachelor Season 27 aired on ABC.
“First and foremost, congratulations are in order for Zach and Kaity. I wish them a long and happy life together,” Fleiss said after The Bachelor viewers saw frontman Zach Shallcross get engaged to Kaity Biggar during the March 27 live finale event.
On his departure, Fleiss continued, “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.”
As of now, both ABC and Warner Bros. TV have declined to make any comment on Fleiss’ departure from the franchise.
While Fleiss may have become known to engage with Bachelor Nation on Twitter over the years, sources revealed to Variety that Fleiss has not been directly involved with the everyday happenings on the show for the past 10 years.
Fleiss created the original flagship show of The Bachelor back in 2002, as well as all of its accompanying spinoffs that have aired throughout the years. Such spinoffs include The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, both of which are still going strong today.
The Bachelorette, starring Charity Lawson, is set to air its new season on June 26 on ABC.
Creator of The Bachelor Mike Fleiss to be replaced on the ABC franchise
Moving forward, Fleiss will be replaced by new showrunners Claire Freeland, Jason Ehrlich, and Bennett Graebner. All three have been involved in the reality dating franchise for quite some time.
Freeland was previously a showrunner for The Bachelor in Canada, Ehrlich has been a showrunner on several seasons of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor Pad, and Graebner has been an executive producer for multiple shows in the reality franchise for over 15 years.
All three have already been working on Season 20 of The Bachelorette, being officially named as the show’s executive producers and showrunners.
While Fleiss may have remained behind the scenes over the years, fans of the show may remember him being called out by former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe in October 2019.
Kaitlyn Bristowe called out Mike Fleiss for ‘hating women’
Four years ago, Bristowe, who formerly led The Bachelorette Season 11, called out the show’s creator during an appearance on the Talkhouse podcast.
Bristowe claimed that Fleiss was the reason she was not able to compete on Dancing with the Stars in 2015 after her season aired, which is something many Bachelors and Bachelorettes go on to do.
This was especially heartbreaking for Bristowe, as she was a former competitive dancer and was interested in competing on the hit reality dance show.
“Anybody that listens to this podcast knows why I cannot go on Dancing With the Stars,” Bristowe said during the podcast appearance. “I will say this with a mic in my hand and a smile on my face, that Mike Fleiss is a piece of s**t!”
“He is the creator of The Bachelor, and he hates women,” she continued.
Bristowe claimed that while Fleiss had encouraged all other former leads to go on the show, he didn’t do the same for her.
“Actually I was offered it, had the contract & Mike Fliess told me I wasn’t allowed,” she wrote in a 2017 tweet after being asked why she didn’t appear on DWTS.
“He said he didn’t want people wanting fame after his show,” Bristowe continued.
Despite her claim, Fleiss tweeted back to say that she would have his total support if she wanted to appear on Dancing with the Stars.
Bristowe ended up competing in the show a few years later in 2020, coming in first place as the Season 29 champion.
The Bachelorette premieres on Monday, June 26 at 9/8c on ABC.