Gird your loins, pals. We’re diving in for another four day stretch with these three terrible men! Which one will make us physically recoil from the screen the most this week?
(Felix. It will be Felix. Although every so often I think about that bit from the other night where Thomas exclaimed I LOVE SEX!!! and I have to go and sit very quietly in a dark room for a while until the shudders retreat.)
But even though a) these men are terrible and b) I’m furious that this has been scheduled against the tennis, which I really want to be watching, here I am. Here you are. And here, it turns out, are… quite a few people?
The Bachelors Australia is not a runaway ratings success. It has not become the surprise smash of the summer. But let’s talk about how it’s been rating, because as far as I can tell, it’s actually doing all right.
Disclaimer before we dive into this: I am not a data scientist. This is not my wheelhouse. But this is what the ratings data is saying to me.
There are two kinds of ratings: overnight and consolidated ratings. It’s a little bit more complicated than this, but basically, overnight ratings are an extrapolation of how many people watched live on the night on actual television, while consolidated ratings (which become available about a week later) also include video on demand.
Most of the commentary we’ve seen talking about Bachelor/s/ette ratings focuses on the overnight ratings. These ratings are – fair enough – not brilliant. The premiere attracted 309,000 overnight viewers; episode 2 attracted 273,000; and episode 3 attracted 281,000. These aren’t particularly big numbers – although it is worth noting that all three episodes in the first week won the 16-39 demographic.
If we push on into the second week of episodes, for which we also have overnight ratings: episode 4 attracted 252,000 overnight viewers; episode 5 attracted 312,000; episode 6 attracted 288,000; and episode 7 attracted 274,000. Demographically, it slipped a bit, but it remained in the top 5 programs for the 16-39 demographic for all four nights, and it won Wednesday – which is pretty decent, when you consider it’s up against the tennis.
Let’s switch over to the consolidated ratings, though – AKA the ones that count streaming – which we have available for the first three episodes.
This is where we see a pretty substantial lift. The premiere lifted to 634,000 viewers (growth of 57%). The second episode lifted to 593,000 viewers (growth of 59%). And the third episode lifted to 600,000 viewers (growth of 55%).
This is a much bigger growth than anything else we see in the top 30 overall shows (in which The Bachelors is comfortably sitting). The only thing remotely close is Home and Away, which sees growth of around 30% from overnight to consolidated.
And look, like I said, I’m an amateur, but: it seems to me that the failure of this franchise has been somewhat overstated?
There are a lot of factors to consider here. Advertising, I would imagine, is a big one. But as we saw in Brooke’s season as well, there’s a real audience here for this franchise on streaming.
If you’re wedded to the idea of the Bachelor franchise as appointment TV – ie. that you absolutely must tune in when it’s on TV so you know what to talk about around the watercooler the next day – then the idea of prioritising a streaming audience is probably a difficult pill to swallow. However… might that be the way forward?
This is the choice that Love Island Australia made. It was regularly seeing MASSIVE growth on streaming – like, growth of 100% from overnight to consolidated – and so the most recent Australian season aired first on demand on 9Now. The premiere became the first show to air like this to crack the overall top 30 programs (albeit at 29 – the finale cracked it too, coming in at 30).
I don’t think this is the path the Bachelor franchise should take. The streaming growth isn’t as pronounced as with Love Island, for one. For two, Channel 9 has got a great Love Island ecosystem going on 9Now, with every season of UK and US seasons available, and new episodes of said seasons made available within 24 hours of them airing in their original territories. We don’t have that same sense of an international ecosystem with the Bachelor franchise in Australia – it’s incredibly hard to legally watch the US seasons, and basically impossible to watch any from anywhere else.
(Free idea, Channel 10: create an ecosystem. That whole idea of Bachelor Nation is vital to the success of the US version. Why not go for Bachelor World, and create a more year-around investment?)
(Second, considerably less free idea: hire me as a consultant. Please. I have consulted on romance-related TV before and I can help you!)
But what might it look like to prioritise a streaming audience for the Australian Bachelor franchise? I don’t think taking it off TV altogether is Channel 10’s best idea, considering it still rates better than much of the network’s other reality programming (eg. the season premiere of The Real Love Boat Australia in October last year only drew 215,000 overnight viewers, with a lift to 362,000 consolidated, and it fell off a cliff after that). Putting that streaming audience first, though – that might create a whole new interesting set of shifts, and lead to… growth? Dare we dream?
Anyway, if you want any more ideas from me, Channel 10, you’ll have to pay me. For now, let’s get into the episode.
As I’m sure you’ll recall, we left things on a cliffhanger on Wednesday – our villain Tash is back! Dun dun dun! And she wants to talk to Jed!
This is an interesting little sequence, which can best be summarised like this:
JED: *sits down with Tash*
TASH: *nearly talks him into letting her stay*
JED: *runs away*
THOMAS AND FELIX: *try and talk him out of letting her stay*
JED: *sits down with Tash*
TASH: *nearly talks him into letting her stay*
JED: *runs away*
PRODUCER: *tells him to follow his gut*
JED: *cries, but sends Tash packing*
TASH: *pleads some more*
JED: *eventually holds to his guns*
It’s quite an effective little scene with a nice cap about Jed finally learning to set boundaries in relationships. However, what it really did for me was reinforce how well this new format could work with women in the lead. A Bachelorette finally setting a boundary with a dirtbag boyfriend, cheered on by her fellow Bachelorettes? That’s TV that will hit a big chunk of your audience right where they live.
Anyway, Tash is gone now. They hung the advertising for two entire episodes on this ten minute scene, so… great signs for what’s ahead.
What is ahead is single dates! Let’s go Bachie by Bachie.
Felix takes Abigail (remember her? with the cat she carries around in a backpack?) for a British high tea, because she is… British. This is not a great start for a date – like, if someone took me on a Vegemite date because I am Australian, I would not be terribly impressed – but it actually becomes quite… charming?
(I can’t believe I said that about a Felix date either. I feel dirty.)
Abigail reveals she is terrified of tomato sauce. Felix mildly teases her about it. Then they go back to the Bach Pad and FaceTime her cat, and it was so sweet I was worried that I might actually be experiencing feelings of mild liking towards Felix – until he stuck his tongue down Abigail’s throat in his repellent Felix way and order was restored.
Shifting over to Jed: he takes Courtney on a single date. I have never seen this woman before in my life, and I’m not sure Jed has either, considering we are more than halfway through the season and he has taken her on ZERO DATES, group or single.
Anyway, Courtney is vaguely musical, and as it’s been hammered home, Jed is the most musical boy in the world, so they go to a music studio and write a song.
It’s fine, but… look, when the show caves to pressure and finally hires me to consult for them, one of my top pieces of advice will be “don’t show anyone writing poetry or lyrics if you want us to take them seriously”. This date is not the worst offender in this arena by any means, but there is simply too much Bachie baggage in this arena to play as anything other than cringe.
Finally, Thomas takes Leah on a single date. I thought he was going to interrogate her about whether or not she had children and, if so, whether she would be open to storing them away in some kind of attic and having new ones with him; but instead, it was Leah opening up about how badly her ex treated her, and Thomas kissing her before she was finished the story.
Then they went back to the Bach Pad and made out in the Jacuzzi and Leah tells Thomas she’s falling in love with him, and… I’m genuinely quite worried that this nightmare MLM man might break this nice lady’s heart.
The next day, it’s a group date. The three Bachies take their other respective three(-ish? the maths is hard) contestants to the beach, where they frolic about and play beach cricket (much to the chagrin of Jed, whose disdain for getting sand in his clothes I found very relatable).
And ohhhhhhhhh my goodness there are some incredibly awkward moments.
Bella, the last of Jed’s contestants who hasn’t kissed him, is determined to make her move: only for Jed to tell her that he isn’t ready for that yet, not once but twice. She puts pressure on him in a way that is a bit uncomfortable, and he awkwardly rebuffs her, and she’s clearly shriekingly embarrassed, and… ooft. Ooft ooft ooft.
Krystal tries to kiss Felix, only for him to be like, “ohhhhh, I thought you said kissing on group dates was bad! no kissing for you!”, because he loves to be petty and hold things over people.
And a woman named Lou, whom I have never seen before in my life, takes Thomas aside to see where she stands with him, only for him to be like, “yeah, I only feel a friendship connection with you”.
I suppose it could be worse. He could just exclaim NOT REALLY VIBING! at her with a rictus grin on his face like he did to one of those poor women in the blind date phase.
For some reason, they make Lou turn up to the rose ceremony. To absolutely no one’s surprise, she’s the person that gets eliminated.
Is this the first time that someone a Bachie has already broken up with has come to the rose ceremony anyway? Because I felt very bad for this poor woman. What a way to get your only three seconds of screentime.
If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this recap – thank you! I assume that means you enjoy my writing, so don’t forget that I’m the author of a couple of reality TV rom-coms. Here For The Right Reasons (which is about a Bachelor-esque lead falling for a contestant he eliminates on the first night) is out now; while Can I Steal You For A Second? (which is about two contestants falling in love with each other instead of their Bachelor-esque lead) will be out in April and is available for pre-order.
You can also catch me on my website: jodimcalister.com.au