University students are filming and producing an original reality show in Siloam Springs, starring one bachelorette and thirteen bachelors.
The show will be based off the popular ABC television show, the Bachelorette, on which one woman dates multiple bachelors, slowly eliminating them until she chooses one to marry. The John Brown University Bachelorette Project started when a group of friends joked about having one of their friends be the next bachelorette. Jonathan Grant, a senior producer on the project, said they put out a classified ad as a joke.
Within two days of the publishing the ad, eight men responded saying they would participate and 14 people agreed to be on the filming crew. It was no longer a joke, but a serious project. The crew is now made up of students from a full spectrum of majors, Grant said.
Matthias Herman, another senior producer, said the filming will be completely “JBU appropriate,” and “having no hook-ups” as one of their main rules.
“Safety is our number one concern here, which is why we have no hookups,” Grant said. “Respect the crew and the girl like it was your sister.”
“We’re not trying to ruin any relationships or put people against each other or anything hurtful like that,” Herman said.
The crew does not have their film schedule fully set, but they began filming Sunday, September 9, in Siloam Springs. Grant said they cannot disclose the specific filming locations around town, in order to keep the filming uninterrupted, but Grant said some properties, homes, and restaurants that have given them permission to film.
Grant also said they want to keep the identities of the bachelors and the bachelorette private in order to keep people’s curiosity piqued for the promos.
Kensington Chenoweth, a sophomore crew member, said she is excited to see the bachelors interact with the bachelorette. “I’m looking forward to everyone kind of laughing at ourselves for doing something that doesn’t have to be so serious, unlike what we think our dating culture has to be,” she said.
“I think it almost encourages a more casual sense of dating, by the fact that it’s a competition. It’s not like they’re spending months together with one person. It’s quick, it’s fun,” Herman said. “The last thing we want to do is make the dating culture worse, and that’s never our intention. If that happens, then we’ll never do it again, but I don’t think it will.”
The applications to be a bachelor closed on September 7. In total, 15 people respond. Only 13 bachelors will be on the show and go on dates with the bachelorette.
The promos for the series are set to air on YouTube in the next few weeks. Grant said that if everything goes as planned, the finale will be finished and aired by Fall Break, but if that doesn’t work out, their goal is to be finished by Thanksgiving Break.
Grant said he hopes the JBU campus will enjoy the crew’s hard work in the end. He said he hopes to blow everyone’s mind, because people have a preconceived notion of what the show will be.
“I think the dating culture here at JBU is already scuffed enough, so if we can’t laugh at ourselves about this, this is essentially making fun of The Bachelorette and JBU dating culture at the same time,” Grant said. “If we can’t laugh from it, we can’t grow from it.”