The Bachelor Drama: Was Peter Nixed as Next Suitor? Is the Show Cancelled?

There’s a lot of juicy drama swirling around The Bachelor this week… and it has nothing to do with handing out roses.

The ABC reality franchise, a primetime staple since 2002, was all prepared to name next season’s suitor, with Good Morning America even tweeting on Thursday night that they’d reveal the suitor’s identity on Friday morning. In the most… shocking… development… ever, though, the tweet was swiftly deleted, and Friday’s GMA came and went without an announcement. An ABC insider tells TVLine the network just wasn’t ready to make an announcement about the next suitor yet… but what gives?

Online buzz has pegged recent Bachelorette runner-up Peter Kraus as the next Bachelor, with franchise expert Reality Steve tweeting out a confirmation of the rumor on Wednesday. But there’s still no official announcement, and Bachelor executive producer Mike Fleiss is claiming the hold-up isn’t on his end:

Compounding the mystery, Fleiss has been tweeting out cryptic references all week to a network cancelling their top-rated show. (To clarify, The Bachelor is currently ABC’s second-highest rated show, behind Grey’s Anatomy.) Could ABC actually be contemplating axing The Bachelor? A recent article in the Wall Street Journal — that Fleiss conspicuously retweeted — warns of a major cost-cutting effort at the network, with plans to slash hundreds of jobs and 10 percent in overall costs. That could mean some trimming of the omnipresent Bachelor franchise, which now has four shows in total: The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and the just-announced Bachelor Winter Games.

It seems unlikely that ABC would pull the plug entirely on The Bachelor, especially since reality TV is generally cheaper to produce than scripted fare. And some have speculated that Kraus might actually be in line for a spot on the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars, which could explain the announcement delay. Still, there’s an awful lot of controversy around this franchise right now. (Bachelor in Paradise has come under fire for its handling of an incident between contestants Corinne and DeMario that forced a production hiatus.) Might ABC be looking for a way to get out of an increasingly toxic relationship?

Should ABC actually cancel The Bachelor? Or is this all a lot of smoke and no fire? Sound off in the comments.