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Over its many seasons on ABC, The Bachelor has inspired many different projects, from its own highly popular spinoffs to numerous high-concept ripoffs elsewhere on TV. But somehow, there has never been a show devoted to The Bachelor's final couple until now, as Season 20's Ben Higgins and winner Lauren Bushnell will be showcased in the upcoming Freeform series Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After. But why would they make the decision to head back to reality TV so soon after leaving it? According to Higgins, it's like they never really left.
We realized very quickly that our life was being documented, whether we liked it or not, by the fans. So we were like: Why wouldn't we invite everybody in to watch, if that seems like what everybody wants to do anyway?
Makes a lot of sense, especially when you throw in the added bonus that they're going to be getting a payday to go back to TV. Nothing helps soothe the aggravation of rabid onlookers like the comfort of a padded bank account. Granted, some of those onlookers would have gradually faded away, since there isn't the biggest shelf life of fame for former Bachelor suitors and contestants, but this new show will certainly keep the couple in the spotlight for a while longer.
It's a very different spotlight, too, which helped Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell make the decision. While everyone knows that reality TV is made in the editing room, there's also an obvious distinction between a broadcast network's long-running dating competition and a cable channel series focusing on a romantic coupling. I imagine that the Freeform spinoff will have its share of quirky moments, but I doubt anything will top the madness that was The Bachelor Season 20. And that's got to be a load off the brain.
Bushnell addressed those kinds of thoughts with THR as well.
At first I had a lot of concerns and Ben did, too. Our biggest priority coming out of the show and the Bachelor world was focusing on each other. Our biggest concern was: Is this new show going to try to alter our life or be incredibly intrusive and get in the way of our relationship? Our main priority was that our relationship always comes first and if something does ever get in the way, we'll have to have another conversation because that's something that neither of us are going to allow to happen.
There are so many uses of "our" in that sentence, you'd think there wouldn't be tabloid-ish stories about them breaking up coming out all the time. Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After doesn't seem like it would be the kind of show that would introduce faux drama to keep viewers interesting, either, unless the title was conceived with some irony in place. Will we see current Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher showing up to throw a stick in the spokes for a cliffhanger? Probably not. The couple doesn't even watch this season, although Lauren says she's interested to see what the now-gone Bad Chad was all about.
While a specific date has not been set yet, Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After will hit Freeform in October. Check out everything else hitting TVs later this year with our fall premiere schedule.