After delaying the premiere of “Bachelor in Paradise” to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct, the folks at ABC decide the way to welcome the show back to the schedule was to run a “cheeky” ad that — intentionally or not — made light of the situation.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
“Bachelor in Paradise” is the sleazier summer sibling of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” Castoffs from those two shows congregate at some tropical paradise, where they’re encouraged to get drunk and hook up. There’s also some competition, but it’s pretty much irrelevant.
Again, you can’t make this stuff up.
But production was shut down in June when, reportedly, two intoxicated contestants had sex while cameras were rolling. Warner Bros., which produces the show, investigated and concluded there was no wrongdoing, but the two contestants involved were dropped from the show.
Reportedly, both of them were exceptionally intoxicated. Apparently, it was not a case of one or the other being too drunk to give consent while the other was sober — both were drunk. But we don’t really know what happened, because neither Warner Bros. nor ABC has released any information about the investigation.
We do know the show was delayed because there was an investigation into sexual conduct that was possibly improper, possibly illegal. And ABC promotes the series with an advertisement that includes a voiceover declaring, “The sun had almost set. Summer was almost ruined. Paradise was almost lost.” And fan tweets flashed onscreen — “Ruined my summer.” “I’m devastated.” “Can you hear me sobbing????” “I’m not crying into my wine … that’d be weird.” “The world is ending.”
You get the idea.
Then the ad displayed the news that the show premieres Monday at 7 p.m. (ABC/Ch. 4). And the screen was filled with fans’ tweets like, “Honestly I’m so happy,” “The best day ever” and “I’m healed! I’m enlightened!”
No, it’s not surprising that some people who watch and tweet about TV have no sense of what’s appropriate and what’s not. But it is surprising that anybody at ABC thought the way to reintroduce “Bachelor in Paradise” was to be light-hearted and flippant.
“We thought it was cheeky and funny and in line with the show. However, the response told us otherwise, and we pulled it,” said ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey, who denied that her network was trying to “sensationalize” what had happened.
She also said the “BIP” incident “brought to light safety issues that we want to make sure we are more on top of.”
“It’s good when something like this happens,” she said. “It’s a wake-up call to make sure we have a process in place.”
She would not elaborate on what the wake-up call was or what it was about, continually deflecting questions.
“That’s really more of a question for Warner Bros. than for ABC,” Dungey said. “They were the ones that conducted the investigation and have all of the detailed information about that.”
Of course, conveniently, no on from Warner Bros. was there to take questions.
And it’s not believable that the president of ABC Entertainment is not privy to the results of that investigation. Yes, the studio produces the show, but the network airs it.
Apparently, at ABC the buck stops … over there.