Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss is leaving the franchise

·1 min read

The Bachelor franchise is losing its mastermind.

Mike Fleiss, who created The Bachelor 21 years ago last month, is leaving the long-running ABC franchise, EW has confirmed.

The news comes one day after the season 27 finale, in which Bachelor Zach Shallcross proposed to ER nurse Kaity Biggar.

In a statement, Fleiss said, "First and foremost, congratulations are in order for Zach and Kaity. I wish them a long and happy life together. 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 lightning in a bottle bold and moving forward. Let the journey continue."

Bachelor executive producers Bennett Graebner, Claire Freeland, and Jason Ehrlich will now serve as showrunners for the franchise.

Fleiss made his first mark in the reality TV genre in 2000 with Fox's Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? That show resulted in scandal and a major PR headache for Fox, and Fleiss' career took a hit. "I was so radioactive that no one would publicly embrace me," he told EW in 2003. But the producer kept at it, and in 2001 he pitched a show called The Bachelor to ABC. One year later, it premiered to 10 million viewers, and a reality TV empire was born.

Over the next two decades, Fleiss launched multiple spin-offs, including The Bachelorette (2003), Bachelor Pad (2010), Bachelor in Paradise (2014), The Bachelor Winter Games (2018), and The Bachelor presents: Listen to Your Heart (2020).

Season 20 of The Bachelorette premieres Monday, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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