Since its debut in 2002, ABC’s “The Bachelor” has become a pop culture phenomenon, with viewers tuning in for every drama-filled episode to see who gets the rose and who gets sent packing. The show has spawned several spinoffs, including “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” all filled with hot, young singles vying to be the chosen one standing at the alter on the season finale.
But the latest spinoff takes a different direction, this time with smokin’ hot “older” women. That’s right, “The Golden Bachelor” premieres Thursday, September 28, at 8 p.m. EST, and while the trailer pokes fun at itself with lines like, “His DMs have postage,” if you think this is going to be a bunch of frail elderly people flirting over Bingo at the retirement center, you could not be more mistaken. These are active, vibrant, fit, attractive individuals who aren’t letting a little thing like age keep them out of the dating game. In fact, many of them see their years as an advantage, calling on a wealth of life experience to confidently determine what they are and, more importantly, are not looking for in a partner.
But are we ready to watch love bloom among the boomer set or see them getting physical in a hot tub? In a world where 81-year-old Martha Stewart recently graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, the network is banking on it. As Rob Mills, ABC’s top unscripted executive, explained to Variety, “Everybody loves senior citizens because they have different love stories to talk about.” He added, “It’s such a different way of doing ‘The Bachelor’ because these people are just at a totally different place in their lives. There is an interesting thing about people who have hit the other end of the spectrum, who’ve lived their lives, they’ve raised their kids, some have been widowed or divorced, and maybe some have never been in love. We thought that would be an interesting dynamic through the ‘Bachelor’ prism.”
Meet the Man
The bachelor himself is a strikingly handsome 72-year-old silver fox named Gerry Turner. Turner was married to his high school sweetheart for 43 years before she died of a sudden illness in 2017, leaving Turner, their two daughters, and two granddaughters heartbroken. In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Turner said that not a day goes by that he doesn’t think of his wife. However, he also said that the couple agreed that when one of them passed away, the other should still enjoy life, seek happiness, and, yes, even love.
According to a press release, Turner is a retired restauranteur who enjoys an active social life with friends and family. He can often be found at his Indiana lake house, where he hosts cookouts, watches sports, and rides his four-wheeler. He is also an avid pickleball player, something he told Glamour that he missed while taping the show.
“What I missed the most was my exercise through pickleball and that circle of friends. I was dying to get back to that because I was feeling like a slug. I really needed to be challenged with a serious game.”
And while pickleball isn’t a requirement of the woman he’s looking for, Turner told GMA that he wanted someone with “high energy.” He also shared with Glamour that he’d like her to have the “grace” of his apparent crush, Helen Mirren. “I think that’s what she brings, and that is her persona, and that encapsulates a pleasant personality and intelligence and poise. I find her very attractive for those reasons.”
A Look at the Ladies
While we don’t think Mirren will be among the 22 women exiting a limo in the premier, neither are we expecting to see women who look more like the “Golden Girls” than “The Golden Bachelor” contestants. Sneak peeks reveal that these women, all of whom are 60 or older, are not your typical blue-haired grandmas. These are smart, sexy, sophisticated women who range from fitness professionals to retired teachers and financial services professionals.
With age comes wisdom, so one can hope that will eliminate some of the issues we’ve seen with the younger “Bachelor” contestants, such as catfighting, backstabbing, and too much partying.
The show’s host, Jesse Palmer, described the women to E! News as “confident” and “resilient,” and he credits their maturity for the way they handle any drama .“Because they’ve lived life [and] they’ve had experiences, they are rock stars—and all throughout this season. On group dates, on one-on-one dates, traveling, they just shine.”
Same but Different
The premise of “The Bachelor” is simple: one eligible, handsome single man meets an array of equally beautiful single women, all vying for his heart. There are group dates, one-on-one dates, romantic overnight getaways, plenty of hot tubs, and a few tears. But there are a few notable differences in this latest iteration besides just the maturity of the women. First, the hometown visits will consist of meeting children and other family members rather than parents, according to Mills.
Then there’s the fact that Palmer’s role as mentor to the bachelor is diminished. “There’s really nothing and no advice that I can give Gerry that he doesn’t already know,” he shared. “There’s nothing I’m gonna be able to tell Gerry about love, about relationships, about intimacy, nothing. You know, I find myself in very different positions.”
Finally, there is what Palmer describes as an “overarching sense of hope” in “The Golden Bachelor” that hasn’t existed before. “If it doesn’t work out between Gerry and one of the women, it’s not so much heartbreak, but it’s more, ‘You know, I wasn’t sure I could put myself out there again and give love another try. You and this experience have given me the courage to do that moving forward, and I believe I’m gonna find my person.’ And it’s beautiful.”
Who Will Win?
Golden Bachelor Contest: Who will get the final rose? Who will be the other top contestants? Enter your predictions by Oct 4th. The winner will receive mystery prizes.