Archive for Saturday, January 8, 2005

This time for real for ‘Bachelorette’ Jen Schefft?

January 8, 2005

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Jen Schefft won't say whether she's found true love -- again -- on a reality series.

"I'm just very happy with the way things turned out and have no regrets," Schefft said.

For Schefft, whose run on "The Bachelorette" starts Monday at 8 p.m., it's the second go-round at TV romance.

Fans of "The Bachelor" will recall that at the end of that dating show's third cycle, wealthy heir Andrew Firestone got on one knee and proposed to Schefft.

She said yes.

Soon after, Schefft and Firestone professed their love for each other in Us Weekly.

"I've seen him with his nieces and nephews. He loves them so much, and he's so sweet with them," Schefft told Us shortly after they were revealed as a couple.

They lived together for a while, and, no surprise, they joined the long line of TV-show couples who failed to stay together in the real world.

"I was nervous about putting myself out there again," Schefft said. "But I thought, why not try and see what happens? I'd regret not doing it."

Hoping to improve the odds for success, Schefft had a hand in selecting the bachelors she entertained during production. (The show was shot in New York City, where Schefft and her suitors took in events such as a Knicks game).

She also believes that, though her relationship with Firestone didn't lead to marriage, you can find a soul mate through a reality program.

"I'm somebody who wants to have a family and have children," Schefft said. "It worked for me once, though it didn't have the happiest ending, but why not try it again?"

However Schefft's search for a mate turns out, it may be a key indicator of the "Bachelor/Bachelorette" operation's future.

A year ago, "The Bachelor" averaged more than 12 million viewers. Last fall, in contrast, "Bachelor" contestant and bass fisherman Byron Velvick's attempt to hook a wife drew 8.7 million viewers and generated few, if any, ripples beyond ABC's airwaves. Last season's "The Bachelorette" drew 11 million viewers.

One of the reasons Schefft was chosen for "The Bachelorette" was her popularity, said producer Mike Fleiss.

"She was very popular (on 'The Bachelor"), and we hope a lot of the people who liked her will watch her again," he said.

"It's the same thing with sitcoms -- you don't replace the cast. Same with our show. If we can bring viewers in with Jen, it takes one more variable away."

Fleiss said he feels good about the "Bachelor/Bachelorette" franchise, noting that the 100th episode was recently shot.

At the same time, TV is filled with dating shows, many similar to "The Bachelor."

"There's been literally 18 copycat shows, almost identical copycats," Fleiss said, adding: "As the people who created this genre, we have to pump new life into this." Bringing the show to New York is part of that effort.

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