It's confirmed! As expected, ABC and Warner Bros. Television have officially ordered the inaugural season of The Golden Bachelorette. In what was probably the worst kept secret—especially given the massive success of The Golden Bachelor (followed by The Golden Wedding)—Craig Erwich, president of Disney Television Group, made the announcement during ABC's executive panel at the 2024 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour.
Of course, the bigger question is who is going to be stepping into the stilettos for the lead role. The not-so-great news is that we don't know yet (and ABC may not know either). The better news is that because the producers have so many great options (see below for the frontrunners) they're clearly taking their time to make a decision. (The official word right now is that “additional details surrounding the series, including cast details, will be announced at a later date.”)
“It's thrilling,” Erwich told Glamour after the news was announced. “I've been doing this for a really long time, but when you have a show that…in your bones has connected with the audience, and you just know that fairy dust has been sprinkled on it, it's unlike anything else. So, to come back and be able to do another one is thrilling.”
At its core, The Golden Bachelor—and now Bachelorette—is about inspiration and empowerment, and Erwich says that won't change with this iteration. “The producers are very clear that the tone of the show is about heart, hope, and humor, and those essential ingredients will be in this one. That's ultimately what makes the show successful.”
As for the current state of the casting process for the new season, Erwich acknowledges they have an amazing pool of women to choose from, but it's going to be hard. “It's a quality problem to have…because that means the first one worked. It's fun. It's our job, and it is fun to think about all the different permutations and what different shows look like with different contestants. We're not there yet, but it's an exciting process.”
While Erwich isn't able to say much about the new season, he says you can rule out two golden bachelorettes in the lead role, as we saw with Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia in The Bachelorette season 19. “That's probably not where we'll go this time,” he tells Glamour. “[Since] we're in the early days of The Golden Bachelor franchise, sticking to one is probably the best thing.”
Casting the men for The Golden Bachelorette is underway, and Erwich says they're “pretty exhaustive in how and where we look for people. You're trying to assemble the cast with an eye towards, not just is that person right for the show, but what's the chemistry and what's the makeup? And because the show is about finding love, is this person a good suitor for who the bachelorette is going to be?"
Currently, Joey Graziadei's season of The Bachelor is airing through March (in last Monday's episode, the ASKN ladies from The Golden Bachelor—April, Susan, Kathy and Nancy—made an appearance at one of Joey's group dates). The Bachelorette, which has also been renewed, will begin filming after that for a summer premiere. ABC has confirmed that The Golden Bachelorette will air this fall and most likely follow the same timeline (late September through end of November) as The Golden Bachelor did.
Frankly, if it was up to me, we'd also get a Golden Bachelor Villa, in which our favorite ladies live together a la The Golden Girls to date, eat, and do synchronized swimming. (That's right, ABC, I have not forgotten about that pure as the driven snow moment we got last season in the Bachelor mansion swimming pool).
As for the possibility of a Golden Villa-type show, Erwich isn't ready to make any announcements, but is hopeful for what's to come with the franchise, noting that The Golden Bachelor has reminded everyone that you can find love at any age. “There's a particular joy in watching, let's call it an older generation, although, I don't consider these people old, go through very similar things that people of all ages go through, but do it with a sense of gratitude and experience, that actually makes the process more interesting and even more joyful.”
With that, let's discuss who might be the lead contender for The Golden Bachelorette. Whoever it is, Erwich says all the ladies are forever part of the Disney family. “We're always looking for ways to be in business with them.”
The wedding officiant/hairstylist/meatball maestro is a fan favorite (she was also just on Good Morning America helping judge the best pizza, proving she's clearly part of the ABC family). The divorcee is bold, hilarious, and has a heart of gold. Perfect casting if you ask me.
Susan's BFF, Kathy, gave us the best one-liners and moments in the inaugural season of The Golden Bachelor. From her “zip it” exchange with Theresa to her ability to accurately break down every situation with humor and insight, Kathy would truly make for must-watch TV. Plus, after experiencing the unfathomable (she lost her husband to suicide), Swarts has been on an empowering mission to show you can find love and joy again.
She sings, she rides horses, she is a radio host! What can't this multi-talented lady do? The only thing that might be a deal-breaker for Faith is if a man wasn't willing to move to her home base of Benton City, Washington, where her horses reside. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Faith is a great catch, and any guy would be lucky to be in her orbit.
If anyone deserves their happy ending after what we witnessed on The Golden Bachelor, it's Leslie. Gerry basically told her she was the one in the overnight suite, and then did a 180 two days later. (I'm still amazed she showed up at The Golden Wedding). The dancer wears her heart on her sleeve and proves age is only a number.
Oh, Ellen! What's not to love about Roberta's best friend? She's feisty, spunky, and as we saw during Theresa's bachelorette party, is coming into her own and embracing her sex appeal. Ellen isn't fearless, but she's willing to take chances anyway, and what's more appealing than that?
Let's be real: Sandra would never shy away from giving it to us straight, whether it's about flatulence or her skincare routine. We also know nothing will stand in the way of finding love, even if it means skipping someone else's wedding.
Joan never quite got the chance she deserved on The Golden Bachelor. She might have very well made it to the final two but she made the important—and right—decision to leave the show to care for her daughter, who was struggling with postpartum depression. At the Women Tell All, Joan told me she actually was planning on returning to the show—she even had a plane ticket!—but her daughter went through another rough patch, and that took precedence (understandably so). What better way to make the experience up to her than getting a chance to be the star of The Golden Bachelorette?
Guacamole all the time! The silver-haired bombshell would make for a stellar bachelorette. She's fun, she's sultry, and we didn't get enough of her on The Golden Bachelor. Now's the time.
One fourth of the ASKN ladies, Nancy Hulkower, has perfect comedic timing (who can forget her “it was the meatballs” line?), class (just look at the way she handled her self-elimination), and isn't afraid to be vulnerable (remember when she told Gerry about her difficulty putting on a wedding dress again?). Plus, she's got fabulous friends (that would be Susan, Kathy and April).
There'd be no shortage of entertainment if April was in charge. It'd be like if Erica Kane signed up for a dating show. (That's an All My Children/Susan Lucci reference, fyi). Honestly, I'm not sure if ABC could find enough eligible men who could keep up with April, but it should would be fun to watch.
Finally, Claire Freeland, Jason Ehrlich, Bennett Graebner, and Andrew Frank will serve as executive producers on The Golden Bachelorette.
This will be updated as soon as more information is announced.
Jessica Radloff is the Glamour senior West Coast editor and author of the NYT best-selling book The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series.
Originally Appeared on Glamour