One of the nice things about social media is that occasionally some folks that are little more than Facebook friends with really good stories to tell choose to do so in long posts, usually when some seminal event in their lives triggers it. When Betty White passed away a couple of years ago, one such connection who was an NBC executive told the story of how his boss’ boss, the legendary Brandon Tartikoff, drew upon personal inspiration to ultimately produce one of the most unlikely hits of his impressive era of must-see TV.–fresh off his storied inspiration for concopting MIAMI VICE with two words on a napkin: “MTV Cops”. A promotion for the show’s launched featured incumbent NBC personalities trying to otherwise describe the show, with one snarky one mocking the established police shows as “Miami Nice?: As the post elaborated:
As Brandon related, when he heard “Miami Nice”, he thought of an aunt he had in Miami, who he described colorfully. He said, among other things, that it took her an hour to eat a piece of toast. The next day Brandon talked to us, the network’s comedy team, about developing a show: three widowed and/or divorced senior citizens, not unlike his aunt, who shared a condo in Miami, and who, having grown children and husbands who were dead and long out of the house, were kike, f–k it, we’re gonna party and we’re gonna get laid”. We all howled. It sounded fantastic.
Well, you know what happened next. 180 iconic and still-popular episodes of THE GOLDEN GIRLS, which brought back significant audiences to Saturday night TV for the first time since the storied CBS comedy block of a decade earlier ended, and, while the show skewed old, it delivered double-digit ratings with adults 18-49. Because just because your featured performers are of a certain vintage, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people who don’t exactly look like that won’t watch.
It is a lot of that kind of thought that went into ABC’s inspired franchise extension, THE GOLDEN BACHELOR. These days, the median age of broadcast television viewers is over 60. Even the original BACHELOR franchise, which has long trumpeted its relative popularity with younger audiences, is now reliant upon a majority of its viewers coming from older adults. If they can watch a bunch of hot Gen Z and millennial horn dogs lie, cheat and occasionally screw, where has it been written in stone that the reverse can’t be true? Especially if the people involved were half as intriguing as the young ‘uns have been.
And even though I’m hardly the target demo, I have to applaud ABC and Warner Horizon casting for finding this gem of a lead for this first attempt. As PEOPLE’s Rebecca Aizin wrote last week:
Gerry Turner is ready to find the new love of his life.
The 71-year-old was announced as the star of ABC’s new Bachelor spinoff show, The Golden Bachelor, in July 2023. According to the network, the father-of-two is a “hopeless romantic” looking for someone to “share the sunset years of life.”
The story continues with some truly heartwarming facts, including the faxt that Turner is a retired, successful restaurant owner who lives in his dream house on a lake, lost his wife of 43 years six weeks after she retired six years ago, and is still extremely active with pickeball and golf, effectively giving him tentacles to every age bracket in America.
But, honestly, his publicity shot says it all. This dude is a freaking thirst trap.
Look who was currying the favor of THE GOLDEN GIRLS. Dorothy had Stan and wound up with Frank Drebin. Rose had Rhoda’s dad. Blanche had pretty much everyone else. Sophia had their dads.
But, honestly, none of them were GAIR-ee Turner.
Better still, his suitors are a cadre of cougars whose raw competitiveness and cattiness would put even the writers of the series to shame . STYLECASTER’s Jason Pham gives a scorecard to the competitors. But to watch them–well, ignore the Botox if you can. This group is as compelling as any that have been ever cast in any reality series.
And as DEADLINE’s Denise Petski reported, it’s already starting to pay the kind of dividends for ABC that NBC saw when it took its own chance, relative, of course, to the standards of what defines a hit in 2023 vs. 1985:
The Golden Bachelor is truly golden for ABC and Hulu. The series premiere of The Bachelor spinoff ranks as the highest-rated premiere on Hulu for any series in The Bachelor franchise (The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise), and as the network’s No. 1 series premiere ever on the streaming platform in Live+3 with 1.76 million views.
After three days of viewing across linear and streaming platforms, the premiere for the latest installment of ABC’s dating franchise surged to a 1.90 rating among Adults 18-49, up a whopping 206% over its initial Live+Same day rating, according to Nielsen. Additionally, the series soared to 7.70 million Total Viewers, picking up an additional +3.34 million viewers in delayed cross-platform viewing.
The Golden Bachelor premiere also scored the biggest multiplatform audience (7.70 million Total Viewers) for any telecast in The Bachelor franchise in nearly 3 years, since the Nov. 10, 2020 telecast of The Bachelorette. It also opened as the highest-rated multiplatform telecast in the franchise since March 2022 among Adults 18-49 (1.90 rating) – since The Bachelor: After the Final Rose on March 15, 2022.
For ABC, the premiere marked the highest-rated debut for an unscripted series on any network in nearly 2 years among Adults 18-49 (0.76 rating), since ABC’s Judge Steve Harvey on January 4, 2022.
Let that sink in two ways. For one, that’s a pretty darn good 18-49 rating for anything that doesn’t involve cleats and helmets. And, moreover, a whole lot of viewers of any age are watching in ways that weren’t even dreamed of back in THE GOLDEN GIRLS’ era. Because, yep, we can not only still play pickleball and get horny, we also know how to navigate streaming services and find them–when there’s something worth watching.
The second episode debuts tonight, and I for one will be checking it out to see what kind of hot mess comes next. The one challenge I see for this is whether the quality of the catfights that will no doubt emerge–after all, this is still THE BACHELOR–will be as creative and compelling as those concopted by the deliciously bitchy cadre of Mark Cherry-led writers. These ladies don’t have that.
But they do have Gerry Turner. That’s inspiration enough for some choice words.
Grab a slice of cheesecake (I’ve got a few suggestions for some low-carb options so you, too, can be in pickleball shape) and enjoy.
Until next time…