The right time for Brooke, says 10.

10 knows it may cop criticism for casting a bisexual in The Bachelorette, but looks to a bigger picture.

Casting Brooke Blurton as The Bachelorette -the first bisexual lead for the franchise anywhere in the world- has been a ground-breaking move by Network 10 and drawing plenty of praise on social media.

So far the ratings are yet to reflect the enthusiasm, but 10 notes it has been the most live-streamed season of the series so far. Just as Love Island is seeing huge lifts in BVOD, numbers tomorrow may add to the story.

10 is standing by its decision to break from tradition whilst still sticking to the format’s core of searching for true love.

Diversity on screen is being impressed upon advertisers as a point of difference in the market. Jarrod Villani, Executive Vice President of ViacomCBS ANZ says it is all about ensuring that all Australians can see themselves on the network.

“I think that’s a reflection of the decision taken around Brooke and The Bachelorette. Indeed if you look at other content …the A-League Mens & Women’s, Matildas & Socceroos, we think that football fits well into that also. It really does represent all of Australia, and puts fabulous diversity on our screen,” he said.

Parent company ViacomCBS International also has a strong cultural commitment to representation, including a global-wide policy of “No Diversity, No Commission.”

“It’s led from the very top of our organisation across the globe,” Villani acknowledges. “You won’t have a conversation with anyone from ViacomCBS -irrespective of where we’re at in the world- that doesn’t include a focus on diversity and inclusion.”

Sometimes that entails criticism from some quarters.

“We are very conscious as an organisation that when you take steps forward, and believe in a direction from a cultural perspective, then you do open yourself up to criticism. And we’re okay with that,” he insists.

“We also are conscious that will make mistakes from time to time. But that’s all part of using what is an enormous megaphone to ensure that diversity and inclusion is a message heard loud and clear across Australia.”

Did the network have deep discussions about casting a bisexual lead?

“Probably not as many as you would think,” says Beverley McGarvey, who co-leads with Villani.

“It might have been harder earlier, I think, but given the environment that we’re in now, and given Australians’ expectations, I think it’s the right time. More importantly, she is the right person, because that is really who she is. I think people know that and they believe her.

“I think people want to see her find her happily-ever-after.

“If there’s certain elements of the audience that complain, they have options, so we hope that it really resonates with the people that it’s made for.”

8 Responses

  1. This is not diversity. These are contestants who want bigger Instagram followings and will do what it takes to get them.

    Being a bisexual female is hardly a taboo, and is far more socially “acceptable” than being a bisexual male, and all it really does is play up to the standard established male gaze. You will never see a bisexual male lead in The Bachelor. All channel 10 have done is play up to a “safe” male fantasy of two women hooking up and called it “trail-blazing”.


      1. No, and I never suggested that. I’m just saying it’s something we’ve seen many times before, as female contestants in previous seasons have hooked up with each other. Ten is playing it very safe while at the same time saying they’ve done something ground-breaking. Erm, not really. Also, I should clarify my comments only relate to diversity in terms of sexuality.

        1. It’s still a first for the franchise lead anywhere in the world so that’s still ground-breaking in my view. None of the other seasons have seen one person with males / females competing for their attention in this way. It’s been “hooking-up” as you say as they stray from the show bible.

  2. Personally , I’m not a fan of new shows starting at the tail end of the year . U get distracted by life and good weather hehe , so to me it feels too late in the year . It’s an exciting concept , but it still follows the same boring regimen. The whole show needs a new structure. It’s stale .
    As for the bachelor next year .. it finally needs Dr Chris Brown and a revamped scructure .. otherwise the same ratings will occur

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