Bachelor will be sued for racial discrimination

Two black men who auditioned to be The Bachelor will file a lawsuit in federal court tomorrow and seek class action status, alleging that the show is guilty of racial discrimination. In 23 seasons and 10 years, it has never had a non-white person as its star, and the majority of its cast members have been white.

The lawsuit is against the show’s network and producers, including ABC, Warner Horizon Television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions, and creator Mike Fleiss, according to a news release cited by The Hollywood Reporter. When the two plaintiffs, Christopher Johnson (who is not the Tennessee Titans player but played football at Tennessee State) and Nathaniel Claybrooks (a Nashville Storm linebacker), went to a Nashville open call audition, they were excluded from the process by a producer, according to TMZ.

A lot of reality shows have conspicuously white casts, and for sure, that’s partly due to self-selection–people don’t see other people like themselves on TV, so they don’t apply. That’s the excuse Mike Fleiss gave a year ago: “Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would,” he said.

That’s just bullshit laziness, and The Bachelor‘s track record is utterly ridiculous. Say what you will about Survivor‘s recruiting of cast members, and what they did in terms of tribe organization for Cook Islands, but producers’ decision to actively seek more non-white players had a positive impact on the show, both by bringing strong characters and leading other non-white people to apply.

ABC and Mike Fleiss could easily do that. But they don’t.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.