It may have garnered widespread attention but the incident that forced the temporary shutdown of Bachelor in Paradise this summer was “nothing really out of the ordinary,” executive producer Martin Hilton tells EW exclusively.
After viewing tape from the highly-publicized encounter between Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, Hilton says he knew “pretty much immediately” that nothing would come out of the allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Just from watching it, it seemed to me that there was nothing really out of the ordinary. It seemed like summer fun that we would normally have in Paradise,” says Hilton. “And so it was fairly clear to me watching it that this was not going to be a long-term issue, yet even the perceived issue is important for us to get right both for the people who have worked on the show forever and with the cast. It was important to slow down, really look at this, and only proceed if everything checked out.”
After the show’s production company, Warner Bros. TV, investigated the allegations and deemed nothing improper occurred, production resumed on the fourth season — though its debut date on ABC was delayed until tonight. Some things changed when production resumed, like better monitoring of issues regarding consent, but removing alcohol from the equation was never seriously considered.
“Obviously, everybody knows if you have a couple of drinks you might say things,” Singer tells EW. “But it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the personal responsibility of the cast. When the cast returned, we sat down with them both off-camera and on-camera to see how they wanted to proceed, what limitations they thought were fair, and what role they played in terms of their behavior on the show. They were very clear that summer fun in paradise on their end needed to include drinking. That was how relationships formed, and how bonding takes place. That was their choice.”
One thing’s for sure: Hilton feels confident about the future of the franchise. “Obviously, as producers, you always have that feeling on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, even though we’ve been on so long, that somehow it could be canceled next season.” says Hilton. “But I feel pretty positive that we will be back next summer with another season of Bachelor in Paradise.“
Bachelor in Paradise returns tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.