BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 26: Executive Producer Mike Fleiss arrives at The Hollywood Radio & Television Society Presents "The Unscripted Hitmakers" luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 26, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Creator Mike Fleiss Is Leaving “The Bachelor” Franchise After More Than Two Decades

In what might be “the most shocking announcement ever,” The Godfather of Bachelor Nation Mike Fleiss has said he is leaving the franchise he created over 21 years ago.

The Bachelor first aired in 2002 and quickly had fans talking, long before social media was even a thing. The series later expanded with numerous spinoffs, including The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelor In Paradise, and Bachelor Winter Games. In addition, multiple international versions of the show are in production around the world, as well as numerous copycat series. So many people looking for love — and the viewers watching them — served to make Mike Fleiss a very rich man.

After nearly 55 seasons of various Bachelor shows, Season 20 of “The Bachelorette,” is currently filming. Starring Charity Lawson in the lead role, the show premiers June 26 on ABC.

Mike made the surprise announcement to Variety just 24 hours after the Season 27 finale of The Bachelor. After congratulating Zach Shallcross and Kaity Biggar on their engagement, the departing producer thanked the network for 21 extraordinary years. “They’ve found the perfect creative team for me to entrust ‘The Bachelor’ franchise,” he said. “[Let’s] keep this lightning in a bottle bold and moving forward.”

Over the years, Mike’s tenure as the head of the Bachelor franchise had been somewhat controversial. There were rumors of his being overly controlling of his contestants, both during and following their run on his shows. Former Bachelor Peter Weber and Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher complained publicly that Mike prevented them from competing on Dancing With The Stars following the completion of their Bachelor Nation duties.

In 2017, former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe was also frustrated at being blocked from competing on DWTS, especially when her ex Nick Viall was permitted to do so. Kaitlyn’s public complaint probably cost her an ABC-sponsored wedding, but she hasn’t married as of this date anyway and even broke up with her choice from the Bachelorette, Shawn Booth. Kaitlyn finally got her dancing shoes in 2020 and went on to be the Season 29 DWTS Champion.

RELATED: Kaitlyn Bristowe Calls Out The Bachelorette Finale For Ignoring Blackface Scandal

In 2019, Mike faced one of his biggest controversies when his pregnant wife accused him of domestic violence. Laura Fleiss filed for an emergency restraining order, alleging that Mike had pushed her against a wall. But her husband claimed it was she who got physical with him. Police initiated an investigation, but Bachelor producers stayed out of it, claiming it was a private, domestic matter. Even though she later withdrew her accusations against him, Mike filed for divorce on July 10, 2019, citing irreconcilable differences.

Over his two-decade tenure with the show, Mike became more active on Twitter, as social media increased in popularity. He reportedly engages with fans of Bachelor Nation on a regular basis. But he’s also notorious for teasing plotlines and surprise announcements that rarely pan out. Sources close to the franchise say that Mike hasn’t actually been involved with day-to-day production for 10 years.


[Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images]