In a network press release straight out of my dreams, ABC today confirmed Emily Maynard as the next Bachelorette. After a series of duds who've driven the Bachelor(ette) franchise to epically boring depths, Emily may just launch a reality Renaissance. Here are five reasons why you won't be able to stop watching once she takes the helm.
Angel or madman? Many viewers found themselves cringing as Bentley Williams played with Ashley Herbert's emotions like so many tiddly winks during the last season of The Bachelorette. He justified his sociopathic callousness by saying he had expected to be competing for Emily Maynard, not Ashley, when he applied. Rumors are swelling that he will be returning to the show to pit his dimples against Emily's better judgement. Will he get the stinging rejection every woman in America has been longing to give him, or can he ensnare Emily in the same web of crazy that caught him his bootleg-Emily first wife?
4. Epic backstory
Emily Maynard is kind of a celebrity in her own right. Engaged at age 16 to Nascar legend Ricky Hendrick, who died tragically in a plane crash, Emily found out she was pregnant four days after her fiance's death. Her ensuing devotion to her daughter, and her level perspective in the face of overwhelming grief, makes her a real hero the audience can root for.
3. Bachelor presence
To those of us who watched Brad Womack's second stint on The Bachelor, his proposal to Emily seemed inevitable. Described by a fellow contestant as "Mother Theresa in a Barbie's body," Emily is a rare combination of surreal beauty and complete thoughtfulness. Viewers were equally unsurprised when the Southern belle broke up with tattoo therapy junkie Brad a few months after the series' January 2011 airing. She was kind of out of Womack's league, and we all knew it.
2. She's a mom
While Jason Mesnick took on the role of the Bachelor in Season 13 as a single father, the series until now has avoided a single-mom Bachelorette. Gender parity is not the highest of values down at the old Bachelor compound, so it will be refreshing to see a group of eligible bachelors brush up on their parenting skills to impress Ms. Maynard.
1. She's a princess
In the best sense of the word, Emily Maynard is a princess. She's independently wealthy, she's outrageously gorgeous, and she demands certain standards. (The series, for once, will be based in Emily's home city of Charlotte, North Carolina so she won't have to separate from her daughter.) Emily is someone I believe a room full of guys will be falling over each other to impress, not just a runner-up or a fan favorite. For maybe the first time in the history of the Bachelorette spin-off franchise, there will be real stakes involved; we won't have to depend on sheer competition and Desert Island Syndrome to run the engine. We'll have the motivating force of a compelling, gorgeous, confident woman who already has a ton of admirers. That's the original premise of the show, and I'm genuinely looking forward to seeing it play out for the first time.
... Are you more likely to watch The Bachelorette knowing Emily Maynard will be in the spotlight?
... Will Bentley return, and if so, how will Emily handle him?