Is The Bachelorette losing its ratings steam in season 13?

Bachelorette newAlas, The Bachelorette is not new tonight on ABC, and this is the second Monday since the premiere where we’ve had that to say. This is a show that does need some consistency, but unfortunately, it’s not getting that for one reason or another this season. The next new episode of the series will air on Monday, July 10.

There are a number of clear storylines going on this season, whether it be the drama of Lee Garrett, the super-likable Peter Kraus, or of course Whaboom from earlier this season, that have generated plenty of attention. Then, there’s also another one: The Bachelor in Paradise scandal, which has certainly been a blight on the entire franchise even if some of the allegations were proven to be untrue based on the results of an investigation.

The one storyline that is not being followed nearly as much, but is still fascinating in its own right, is the surprising decline in the show’s ratings for season 13.

Why is the show down, and is there any specific factor causing it? We want to try and get to the bottom of that in this piece?

First, the data

So far this season, The Bachelorette with Rachel Lindsay is averaging a 1.5 rating in adults 18-49, a drop of more than 22% from last year’s edition featuring JoJo Fletcher. That season (with a 2.0 average) was about even with the season of the show featuring Kaitlyn Bristowe, which was actually up versus Andi Dorfman’s season, which averaged around a 1.7 rating. Desiree Hartsock’s season averaged a 2.0, while Emily Maynard averaged a 2.5 — though at this point we’re getting back to a different era where there were fewer streaming options and more people watched TV live.

Given that demo ratings are what matter the most, we’ll just say that in total viewers, Rachel’s season is averaging just over 5.5 million — a drop of close to 20% from the season prior.

What’s causing it?

The first thing to note here is that these figures are a little slanted because we don’t have a finale average to include for Rachel’s season yet. If the pattern holds and the finale ratings are higher, then her average will go up a little — though not enough to offset the difference by any means.

Superficially, what seems to be hurting Rachel’s season the most is that it’s 2017 and networks are struggling more. The ratings for ABC over the past year have been weak, so there were fewer promotional platforms for the show. There are also more options, so some of those people watching The Bachelorette in the past because there wasn’t much else on probably aren’t doing it anymore. Maybe more of those people are watching via DVR, but this article is more about live+same day ratings.

Beyond that, it probably doesn’t help Rachel that she’s coming off of a season starring Nick Viall that, in retrospect, really wasn’t that fun. Their big personality in Corinne was largely disliked even before the Paradise scandal, and Nick was polarizing as a lead even before the season started. The casual viewers who didn’t watch Nick’s season have no connection to Rachel, and that’s certainly hurting her footprint. The lack of notable guys beyond a few doesn’t help — Lee isn’t a fun villain because of his history of racism on social media + him being intentionally awful on the show. The show also probably needs to do more marketing the funnier side of some of their contestants beyond just the “joke” contestants.

The one thing we haven’t heard from anyone is that they are avoiding this season because of Rachel. If there is an issue with The Bachelorette, it doesn’t seem to be the lead. Maybe it’s just taken this long for some of the format to become stale.

The big silver lining for ABC

This season may be the most social in history. Rachel is great at live-tweeting the episodes, and it routinely tops the worldwide trending topics when it’s on the air. Therefore, there’s no real reason for ABC to cry themselves to sleep overnight over what is a summer institution. The reason that nobody is talking about the ratings is probably because the show’s still immensely successful and not going anywhere; yet, we like to examine trends, and the biggest trend here is simply that the numbers are what they are.

What do you think?

Let us know your thoughts on The Bachelorette ratings and what could be happening in the comments!

If you are interested in previewing next week’s episode further, you can do that over at the link here. (Photo: ABC.)

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