ABC cautious to try 'Bachelorette'

Success with 'The Bachelor' leads network to test new show

— Outperforming even the network's expectations, ABC's "The Bachelor" is planning to run for a third time next March. Until then, an experimental "Bachelorette" will fill in for six episodes (shorter than the eight granted for the "Bachelor"), starting Wednesday, Jan. 6.

"It's a real life drama, and people hooked into that," says Susan Lyne, ABC's president of entertainment.

When bachelor Aaron Buerge proposed to Helene Eksterowicz last Wednesday, ratings peaked for the ABC hit. In the world of TV, that means yet another edition is guaranteed.

However, ABC doesn't wish to have three single men paired up in one season, so before the next "Bachelor" in March, Trista Rehn (who was the runner-up choice of bachelor Alex Michel in the first edition) will get a chance to find love among 25 eligible men.

Still it's a risky proposition whether audiences will be as open to the role reversal. Even ABC is reluctantly enthusiastic as to how it will do:

"Quite honestly, we don't have the same expectations in terms of ratings, but I think it's impossible to have that kind of expectation," ABC Chairman Lloyd Braun said.


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