Shocker: Bachelor Creator Mike Fleiss Out After 21 Years

It’s the end of an era at The Bachelor.

The franchise’s founding father, series creator Mike Fleiss, is exiting the ABC reality juggernaut after 21 years, TVLine has confirmed. Taking over showrunning duties on the mothership — which wrapped its 27th season on Monday (read recap) — will be Bachelor vets Claire Freeland, Jason Ehrlich and Bennett Graebner.

“I want to thank [Warner Bros. Television] and ABC for 21 extraordinary years,” Fleiss said in a statement. “They’ve found the perfect creative team for me to entrust The Bachelor franchise and keep this lightening in a bottle bold and moving forward. Let the journey continue.”

No explanation was given for Fleiss’ departure. Reps for ABC and Warner Bros. Television declined comment.

Typically among ABC’s most reliable performers, The Bachelor this season is averaging 3.7 million total viewers and a 0.8 demo rating (with Live+7 playback) — off 18% and 27% from last year and down a significant 43% and 56% from just three years ago. Out of all the entertainment programs ABC has aired this TV season, it ranks 19th in total audience (besting only Not Dead Yet, The Goldbergs, Home Economics, The Chase and The Parent Test), while in the demo it ties for No. 3 (behind Grey’s Anatomy and American Idol).

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