"The Bachelorette" is here.
Becca Kufrin, who became next season's "The Bachelorette" after she first was proposed to and then ditched for another woman by Arie Luyendyk Jr. in last season's controversial edition of "The Bachelor," is in Western New York shooting an episode involving a hometown date with a Western New York man.
A source close to the production confirmed that Kufrin and Jason Tartick, a WNY native who now is a corporate banker in Seattle, will be shooting scenes for the popular ABC reality series on Wednesday and Thursday. The program has hometown dates when "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette" is close to picking someone to be their spouse so Tartick is likely in the Final Four. Tartick's parents have moved to North Carolina but are here and are expected to be part of the program.
When reality shows film here that usually means a stop in Niagara Falls or a local park. The unseasonable weather might not make the Chamber of Commerce happy, but it may believe any publicity is good publicity.
The Buffalo angle has to be a dream come true for Bennett Graebner, the City Honors School graduate who is one of the showrunners of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette."
During an interview in January in Los Angeles, Graebner said he hopes every season that someone from Buffalo will be cast but it hadn't happened while he was part of the show for the last decade.
"I would love to shoot a hometown episode in Buffalo," said Graebner. "It would be fantastic."
Graebner was in the room when Luyendyk ditched the first woman he proposed to, Becca, in an episode that aired the day before he proposed in the live follow-up episode to the runner-up, Lauren Burnham, who he apparently couldn't get out of his mind.
"Yes, I was there," Graebner wrote in a January email. "I was with Arie that day. We had lunch before he went over to see her, and we drove over together. He was distraught."
Graebner talked with Arie before the breakup, as he often does with bachelors and bachelorettes.
"It’s hard to give anyone advice in that situation, regardless of whether or not it is on television," he said. "I simply told him to be honest and kind with her, and to ultimately follow his heart. I believe he did.
"The breakup was tragic. Becca was blindsided, of course, but that is often the case in any relationship. And I consider both of them friends, so to see them go through such emotional turmoil was painful. Many of us there that day behind the camera were in tears.
"I was a little surprised by the outcry over Arie’s handling of the breakup. As we drove off, he was despondent. We didn’t talk much on the way back to his hotel. I know he’s been criticized for not being emotional during the breakup, but if you know Arie like I know Arie you could see that he was actually very emotional. His skin became blotchy, he didn’t know what to say. He might not have broken down, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t distraught.
"Some viewers were upset that the breakup was filmed. Yet, this is what happens on 'The Bachelor.' You have relationships and you agree to have those relationships recorded. Sometimes they end beautifully, sometimes they end tragically. But they are always real people in real situations struggling with real emotions."
Becca seems to have landed on her feet quicker than many people who experience a breakup – with another TV show.
"As for Becca, she is a strong, smart woman who knows what she wants," added Graebner. "The choice to make her 'The Bachelorette' was an easy one. I’m excited to help her on her journey to find her husband."
And now the journey includes a stop in Buffalo.