— -- Just days after the conclusion of the latest "Bachelorette" season, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey has addressed a frequent criticism of both that series and "The Bachelor:" A lack of diversity.
In the 32 combined seasons of "The Bachelor"/"Bachelorette" franchise, there has never been an African-American person in the title role.
Dungey, the first African-American to head a major broadcast TV network, said Thursday she would "very much like to see some change" on that front.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Dungey commented, "I think one of the biggest changes that we need to do is we need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning."
Dungey suggested that might be a viable solution since both shows tend to cast a familiar face as the lead.
"The show has been very much in a cycle where the first runner-up in one cycle becomes the person who leads the next cycle, and it's worked very well for us because the audience feels really engaged in helping to choose that candidate," she said. "So I think what we would like to try to do is just widen the pool of choices."
ABC has yet to announce its "Bachelor" for the 2017 season.
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