ABC touts Ben as 'The Bachelor'
It came as no surprise when ABC television announced Tuesday that Sonoma's Ben Flajnik will star on the network's next season of "The Bachelor."
As reported in the Index-Tribune, a film permit had already been pulled by NZK productions, which works for the hit TV show, to shoot B-roll on the Plaza on Aug. 25. And US Weekly broke the story on
Aug. 24, citing an anonymous source who reportedly said, "They think he'll be ratings gold."
Flajnik, 28, was famously jilted in the season finale for ABC's other romance reality hit, "The Bachelorette," when Ashley Hebert declined his hand in marriage. Rumors instantly circulated that Flajnik, who grew up in Sonoma and makes wine here, but lives in San Francisco, was the frontrunner to be the next "Bachelor," following series tradition. The story line for the new "Bachelor" season has Flajnik courted by 25 single women, among whom he is supposed to select a bride. But lasting relationships are not a hallmark of these TV shows that have a dismal track record for happily-ever-after.
Out of 16 seasons of "The Bachelor," only one marriage has emerged, in the 13th season, when the Bachelor married the runner-up on national TV.
Relationships on "The Bachelorette," have been only moderately more successful, beginning with the first season, which resulted in a marriage, two kids and apparent long-term happiness. The season-six Bachelorette and her finalist are reportedly planning a long-delayed wedding and, according to media sources, Hebert is still dating her construction-superintendent heartthrob J.P. Rosenbaum.
Flajnik, meanwhile, will enjoy continued nationwide publicity for his Evolve label wines, made with partners Mike Benziger and Danny Fay at the Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen. Viewers can probably expect to see Flajnik crack a bottle of his Evolve sauvignon blanc or cabernet with prospective love interests, or perhaps he'll uncork one of the company's upcoming "value brand wines," dropping soon under the Epilogue label.
Fan reaction to Flajnik's selection was not overwhelmingly positive, at least as suggested by posts on the network's website. "Come on ABC," said a poster named Sandy, "I was so hoping for someone finally with a personality. You're losing your audience with last year's losers. Don't you have a team that picks new people? Let's get someone in there with a little game."
Cassie said, "Wow! Definitely won't be watching. Bring on somebody new!!"
And Jane wrote, "Boooooooorrrinnnggg. He's even more boring than Ashley, if that's possible."
But Alyssa said, "I think it will be great, Ben is a bona fide, incredibly attractive American boy, and he was my favorite from day one. I hope this works out for him, he deserves it. For someone who has never really watched "The Bachelor," I will definitely be watching this season."
And BB added, "Hey, give the guy a break. He was really sweet and I'm rooting for him."
Of course, even if Ben Flajnik doesn't find true love on TV, he's already struck marketing gold.