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ABC Announces the First 'The Golden Bachelorette' Will Be...

New ‘Bachelor’ spin-off stars Joan Vassos, 61, looking for love

spinner image Joan Vassos
Ramona Rosales/Disney

The Golden Bachelor may be over, along with the union of Gerry Turner, 72, and the winning contestant, Theresa Nist, 70, who married this January and divorced in April, but a new love story featuring grownups 60-plus will be in bloom. The star is Joan Vassos, 61 — a contestant who left The Golden Bachelor early in the season to tend to her ailing daughter — as television’s first Golden Bachelorette. The show premieres Wednesdays this fall on ABC and streams next day on Hulu.

ABC announced that Vassos will be seeking love once more, with more choices this time, as a group of male contestants vie for her affections. She's a mother of four and grandmother of two who loves dancing, museums, Elton John and big, juicy burgers.

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“As you get older, you become more invisible … like you’re not as significant as when you’re young," Vassos said as a Golden Bachelor contestant. "Society makes us feel like we’ve had our chance."

Vassos felt that Gerry Turner taught her “that I am worthy. I can enjoy my life and live it to the utmost and find happiness — and I’ll tell you the truth, I can’t wait to get started!”

The 21-year-old Bachelor franchise has found success developing spin-off shows. The Bachelorette debuted in 2003, a year after The Bachelor found a strong audience, and throughout its 20 seasons, Bachelorette has often featured contestants who were eliminated on The Bachelor. Bachelor in Paradise started in 2014, featuring eliminated contestants of both aforementioned series; they get another chance at love, this time at a tropical destination.

The Golden Bachelor premiere episode reached 13.9 million viewers in 35 days through both live broadcast and streaming, according to Nielsen data, and its debut saw “the largest multi-platform audience for any series” in the franchise in more than three years. 

With ratings that good, fans and experts alike suspected there might be a Golden Bachelorette announcement.

When AARP teamed up with Katie Couric Media and asked readers to vote on who they thought could become the Golden Bachelorette, former contestant Ellen Goltzer led the pack of fan favorites, followed by Joan Vassos and Faith Martin.

Commenters on AARP’s Facebook posts about The Golden Bachelor also chimed in.

One commenter said the show should pick new people to participate and should not recycle the contestants. “Both shows keep bringing back people that have had their pick of a crowd, but they didn’t find one! Bring in NEW people!”

Another comment suggested that “it should be the runner up, if there is such a thing. It should be between the last two women who don’t get a rose. Not anyone else. They fought to be here till the end and that’s the right thing to do.”

Even former Golden Bachelor contestants weighed in on the possibility of an offshoot. Sandra Mason, 75, who was booted during Week 5 of the show, told AARP, “I think the market is ready for it. And hungry for it, even. I think they’ve whet everyone’s appetite for this kind of reality.”

As fans of the show anticipate the premiere of The Golden Bachelorette, one can only wonder: Will it be successful enough to warrant a Golden Bachelor in Paradise

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