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Some ‘Bachelor’ fans thought Maria Georgas would be the next Bachelorette. Why predicting the next franchise lead can be tricky.

In Entertainment
March 29, 2024

Jenn Tran made Bachelor history when it was revealed she’d be the first Asian American lead in the franchise’s 22-year history.

Fans got to know the 26-year-old physician assistant from Miami, Fla., on Joey Graziadei’s Bachelor season. When the news was announced during “After the Final Rose” on March 25, Tran called the opportunity “surreal.”

Bachelor Nation fans are rallying around the new Bachelorette. Still, some expected a different contestant to be selected — specifically Maria Georgas, a 29-year-old executive assistant from Kleinburg, Ontario, who made it to hometown dates before she was eliminated by Graziadei.

Why fans thought Georgas was the right choice

During Season 28, Georgas stood out from the other contestants. She was outspoken and defensive, but always kept her focus on Graziadei. Fans loved her because of the way she addressed accusations of bullying and drama in the house. She also was vocal about her experience throughout the show on social media, giving fans insight into what went on behind the scenes.

Chad Kultgen, co-host of the Game of Roses podcast, told Yahoo Entertainment that he believes fans wanted to see Georgas as the Bachelorette “because she would break that mold” of what a season lead could be.

“You have no idea what that season is going to be,” he said of how a potential Georgas season could have unfolded. “It could be complete chaos and I think that’s what people wanted to see.”

Joey Graziadei and Maria Georgas during The Bachelor Season 28.

Joey Graziadei and Maria Georgas during Season 28 of The Bachelor. (John Fleenor/Disney)

Still, not every contestant who makes it far in their respective Bachelor or Bachelorette season wants to be the next season’s lead.

That may include Georgas. While she told the Wrap that becoming the Bachelorette would be “an opportunity of a lifetime,” one of the contestants from Graziadei’s season, Lauren Hollinger, posted on social media that Georgas apparently “turned it down.”

ABC didn’t respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.

Daisy Kent, who was the runner-up on Graziadei’s season, said during the finale that she wasn’t ready for the Bachelorette experience.

“I’m leaving this whole experience happier than when I came in, and that’s because [of] every single woman in the house,” she said on “After the Final Rose.” “I’m healthy and I’m happy, and I haven’t had those two things in a really long time, and so right now, I know it’s a time for me to focus on the things I love and the people I love, and so, right now, no, I’m not ready, and that’s OK, and I’m really proud of myself for realizing that.”

Joey Graziadei handing Daisy Kent a rose during a rose ceremony.

Joey Graziadei handing Daisy Kent a rose during a rose ceremony. (John Fleenor/Disney)

Emma Gray, an MSNBC columnist and co-host of the Love to See It podcast, told Yahoo Entertainment she found it interesting that Kent explained why she wasn’t going to be the Bachelorette.

“I think [producers] probably could anticipate that, given the emotional arc of that finale that people would be asking that question. And so they clearly tried to cut off some of those questions at the knees,” she said. “Obviously, there was another potentially larger contingent of people who were hoping to see a Maria season. I do think that’s why they had Maria [there too.]”

Kent and Georgas aren’t the first fan-favorites not to become the next season’s leads.

“Tyler [Cameron] didn’t want it,” said Mike Johnson, who competed on Hannah Brown’s Bachelorette Season 15 alongside runner-up Cameron, told the She’s All Bach podcast in April 2022. “He was like, ‘I’m good, bruh. I got more followers than any other Bachelor will get, I don’t need the money that you give me to be the Bachelor, I don’t want my life to be public like that.’ So I don’t blame him.”

The process of choosing the next season lead isn’t entirely clear-cut, at least from the public’s perspective.

Gray said the franchise producers probably think “what is there to gain” by explaining why someone didn’t work out as a lead.

“Part of the fiction and fantasy of the show is that this one person, whoever it is, is the ultimate object of desire, the ultimate person deserving of love,” Gray explained. “So it doesn’t really help the lead, the people who turned it down or the show to get into the nitty-gritty of what those negotiations looked like.”

Joey handing Jenn Tran a rose during a rose ceremony. Tran was announced as the new Bachelorette.

Joey Graziadei handing Jenn Tran a rose during a rose ceremony. Tran was announced as the new Bachelorette during the “After the Final Rose” special. (John Fleenor/Disney)

Former Bachelor host Chris Harrison explained to People in 2016 how Nick Viall went from repeat contestant to Season 21 lead. While Viall is now arguably the most visible alum from the franchise, at the time, viewers suspected that either Luke Pell or Chase McNary — standouts from JoJo Fletcher’s season of The Bachelorette — would be the ones handing out roses.

“[Viall] has just become that perennial, second place guy who wants to find love and is as sincere, if not more sincere, than anybody about finding it,” Harrison said of the decision. “It’s about giving him his chance to find love. Who deserves it more than him?”

Harrison said a big part of it was Viall’s “sincerity.”

“So many names get thrown around and at the end of the day, as producers, we have to try and think and decide what’s best for the franchise and who is the most deserving and sincere person. At the end of the day, we all looked around the table and nobody could say it wasn’t Nick,” he explained.

What could be next for Georgas?

Both Gray and Kultgen see Georgas continuing her reality stardom when the time is right.

Kultgen predicted she’s “looking at the longer game, which is what we’re calling third wave reality TV. These are shows like The Traitors, House of Villains, The GOAT that’s about to come out [and] Special Forces.

“[She will get cast on] Traitors Season 4 probably,” Kultgen said. “She’s locked into a [one or two] year exclusivity contract with Warner Bros. right now and in NZK Productions Inc. (the companies that produce The Bachelor shows), so she can’t go on any reality shows outside of the Bachelor pantheon unless they give her special permission, which I doubt they would do, even at this point, although they should.”

Gray said, “There are now quite a lot of reality crossover shows. I could see Maria killing it on The Traitors, for example. If she wants to be back on television, there are kind of lower-lift routes like that and I bet there are a lot of hosting and brand opportunities coming her way, if that is something that she wants to pursue. I could see her being offered a podcast or some other kind of hosting gig.”

Whatever her next steps, Georgas is showing support for Tran on social media.

“I’ll be cheering her on every step of the way. She deserves this moment and its hers,” she wrote, in part, on her Instagram Stories. “You go Jenn!!! Go get your man!!!”

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