'The Bachelorette' Hits Worst-Ever Ratings: Is the Bloom Off the Rose for Good?

Leslie Gornstein
Yahoo! TV
"The Bachelorette" - Episode 902
"Episode 902" - The next day 14 men join Desiree at a swank Malibu mansion to star in a rap music video appropriately titled "Right Reasons" with superstar rapper Soulja Boy. He carefully selects his rapping protégés to each play the part of an infamous man from past seasons. There's Wes from Jillian Harris' season, Justin and Kasey from Ali's season, and one bachelor even reprises Jason Mesnick's legendary tearful collapse. Desiree gets into the act, rapping about her journey to find the perfect man. However at the after party the competition heats up, with Ben interrupting Mikey's alone time with the Bachelorette, sparking the first confrontation of the season. Meanwhile, Brandon opens up about his tragic broken childhood. Will displaying his deep vulnerability earn him the group date rose or will it be a turn-off? - on "The Bachelorette."

Burning Question: Why is "The Bachelorette" doing so poorly in the ratings? Are we finally getting sick of these shows? I know I am. — Lady O.

Well, you're not alone.

"People get tired of these shows 'cause in the end almost none of them get married anyway," a disgruntled commenter recently posted on The Hollywood Reporter. "As an audience, you are investing your time thinking you are seeing a couple meet. But the end result is it does not happen."

Right. Because everyone knows that the only happy ending on a reality show is the kind with a flower girl and a 10-foot satin train.

[Video: Watch All the Highlights From This Week's 'Bachelorette']

So is audience dissatisfaction the reason why the ninth-season opener of the ABC dating show suffered a 27 percent ratings drop compared with last year, and hit a series low this past Monday?

And is this the end of rose ceremonies?

Probably not.

Make no mistake: Audiences are annoyed with the "Bachelorette" series, at least anecdotally.

"They well know by now that these shows are not real and the stories are highly concocted and managed," communications professor Jeffrey M. McCall of DePauw University tells me. "In the past, audiences could convince themselves that there might be 'real' elements in the programs, but that mirage has now largely faded."

But, that said, dating reality shows are still here to stay.

"You won't get so many new entries in this genre" moving forward, says Jim McKairnes, a former CBS executive and the Verizon chair in Broadband and Telecommunications at the Temple University School of Media and Communication. "But certain key reality shows, like this one, are a franchise for ABC."

[Related: Why 'Bachelorette' Couple Trista and Ryan Sutter Made It 10 Years]

So why the soft opening? Well, you can blame an array of factors for America's lack of interest in Desiree's rap video with Soulja Boy (?!).

For starters, last season's "Bachelorette" debut enjoyed a unique boost: a lead-in from the popular "Dancing With the Stars."

Also: This season, "The Bachelorette" is competing with the "Voice" juggernaut over on NBC; and, as McKairnes points out, "ABC, in general, is having a decline in viewers this season. When you have fewer viewers in general, you have fewer people to promote your new project to."

Maybe the show needs a cameo from Kim Kardashian?

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