Will you accept this mirrorball? After Kaitlyn Bristowe sparred with Bachelor franchise creator Mike Fleiss last month over Nick Viall appearing on Dancing With the Stars, the ballroom-competition series’ longtime producers spoke to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday, March 17, about the controversy.
Bristowe, who starred on The Bachelorette season 11, took to Twitter on February 27, shortly after news broke that Viall would be competing on DWTS season 24. She tweeted that she wanted to go on a “twitter rant,” and her Bachelor season 19 costar Whitney Bischoff tweeted at her that DWTS doesn’t cast enough Bachelorettes. Bristowe replied by saying she had been set to appear on the dancing show after her Bachelorette run but that Fleiss wouldn’t let her. Fleiss posted several tweets in response, including one pointing out that The Bachelor season 13’s Melissa Rycroft was the DWTS season 15 winner in 2012.
DWTS executive producers Joe Sungkur and Ashley Edens spoke to THR on March 17 about the flap, with Edens saying that “there’s no rhyme or reason” to why certain Bachelor franchise alums get picked to show off their fancy footwork. “In some seasons, it works out, and some seasons, it doesn’t. This season we wanted Nick,” Edens added.
When asked if the show’s team is aware of the perception that more Bachelors than Bachelorettes have been on DWTS, Edens pointed out that The Bachelorette season 1 star Trista Sutter was on the dancing show’s first season. “We had Trista,” she said. “[It’s] based on when we’re casting and the whole cast we’re pulling in and what other reality stars we already have in place.” (In addition to Viall, former Bachelors Chris Soules, Sean Lowe and Jake Pavelka have all strutted their stuff on DWTS; Sutter is the lone Bachelorette to have competed.)
To further explain her position, 31-year-old Bristowe told Entertainment Tonight on March 1, “I believe men and women should be afforded the same opportunities. That has not been the case with the Bachelorettes and the Bachelors. I had an offer to do Dancing With the Stars and was told by Mike [Fleiss] I could not.… My hope in speaking out is that future Bachelorettes are given the same opportunity as Bachelors.”
Viall, 36, who teams with two-time winner Peta Murgatroyd, kicks off his DWTS journey on ABC Monday, March 20, at 8 p.m. ET. The Bachelorette returns to ABC Monday, May 22, at 9 p.m. ET.