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Predicting The Next 'Bachelor': How ABC Makes Its Decision

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Jul 23, 2012 | 11:44am EDT

On Sunday night, Emily Maynard spurned Arie Luyendyk Jr. after choosing — and eventually getting engaged to — Jef Holm. Of course, the contestant didn't go out without a fight — or, at least, a savvy public relations move. Not only were audience members invited to sympathize with Luyendyk after watching Maynard publicly cut ties on The Bachelorette finale, but he also was given the opportunity to confront the Bachelorette again during the live After The Final Rose special. 

Ardent Bachelor fans might have found the scene familiar. Just last summer, after Bachelorette Ashley Hebert dumped Ben Flajnik, we watched his tearful confrontation with her during the After the Final Rose. But we couldn't completely pity the rejected contestant. After all, Flajnik became The Bachelor. But is ABC planning to groom Maynard's sloppy seconds to become the next Bachelor, just like they did with Ben? Or will the network opt for a different — and perhaps more surprising — choice? And how does the network even choose the next Bachelor? Former Bachelorette winner Jesse Csincsak weighs in on the secrets of the network's selection process, and helps us evaluate the odds.

Arie Luyendyk

Arie Luyendyk, Jr.
The spurned contestant seems like he would be a good fit (those sappy journal entries!), but based on his career path, Csincsak thinks the race car driver isn't ABC's front-runner for the post. "Arie is almost the perfect candidate because he's got the career already," Csincsak tells Hollywood.com. "He could do a lot for his career as a race car driver by making himself a household name, sponsor-wise, than any of these other guys. [But] the network probably knows that and that's probably why he's not at the top of their list. They will probably go with these other guys who potentially don't have the money to be made off of it like [Luyendyk] does." Like, for example...

Roberto Martinez

Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky's ex-fiance Roberto Martinez may actually have a leg up on Luyendyk, despite his absence from ABC's rose-filled reality series since he walked away engaged to Fedotowsky in 2010. "Roberto would be good because that guy is legit — he is really there for love," Csincsak says. "I'm not saying Arie and the others aren't — but, he's always been this down-to-earth, normal guy. That's why I think he would make such a good Bachelor." 

But what if Martinez would rather put his reality TV days behind him? Well, then look to the most popular men in ABC's reality school. As Csincsak says, the series looks first and foremost at likeability. "It all goes off of ratings," Jesse says. "They get on the message boards, and they will see which guy is being talked about being the next Bachelor and which guy has the most ratings. When we came off of my season, Jason Mesnick had like 700,000 posts about him and Jeremy had 20,000, so it was a no brainer," Jesse adds. "He had seven times the amount of comments about him, so they made him the next Bachelor."

Also working in Martinez's favor: While it seems that most runner-ups are shoe-ins for the job (see: Mesnick and Flajnik), others have won the title after getting eliminated from The Bachelorette much earlier. Bob Guiney, who was The Bachelor of Season 4, was a contestant on Trista Sutter's season of The Bachelorette. He made it only three episodes before she sent him home. Jake Pavelka survived six episodes on Jillian Harris' season before he got to headline his own show in Season 14. And, just as Martinez booking the gig would be a different selection — as the winner of his season — Brad Womack also had enjoyed a unique run in the franchise, nabbing a chance to star after walking away from his first season single.

But who's slightly below Martinez on the popularity scale? 

Sean Lowe
Should Martinez not accept the job, Csincsak predicts that Sean Lowe from Maynard's season would be the network's second choice, with Luyendyk falling in third. As Csincsak says, "Whenever you look at someone, the first thing that your brain reacts upon is visual appeal" — and Lowe certainly has the look that the producers have in mind. Of course, a Bachelor would have to "be able to make good television," according to Csincsak — and based on Sean's popularity at the Men Tell All special, it seems like he could fit the bill. 

The Wildcard?

Unfortunately for those of you aching for change, based on history, it doesn't seem likely ABC will choose a random contestant for the next season of The Bachelor. "I would say the chances are in the single digit percentile," Csincsak says. "They use to: They did Prince Lorenzo Borghese, and Jesse Palmer was pro football player. Those were the good old days. Now, all they are doing is rolling one into the next." (Out of the previous 16 Bachelor seasons, 10 stars were new to the franchise. 

But what about the criticism (and lawsuit) surrounding the fact that The Bachelor has televised 16 white-washed seasons (and eight seasons of The Bachelorette)? And the grassroots support for Lamar Hurd, the charming sportscaster hoping to bring diversity to the series? Cscinsak thinks the selection of a non-white Bachelor could seem disingenuous following the lawsuit, which was filed in April. "[The series] would do more damage to their PR image at this point by trying to all of a sudden bring someone in," Csincsak says. "That would do more damage than good."

Plus, ABC is better-served choosing a Bachelor America already knows and loves, rather than taking a gamble on a new, and possibly obnoxious, star. (Let the viewers hate the familiar after the season finishes!) "America has got to love you," Csincsak says. "That's the most important. That's 70 percent of how they pick you. You have to be professional whether you're an athlete or a TV personality. If they can have a guy that America loves, fans are going to tune in no matter what happens on the show."

So who will be the next Bachelor? Only time will tell...

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