In all my years covering this show, I’ve never really had to deal with something quite like this. None of us have. For those who weren’t directed over here today from Twitter or Facebook, contestant Eric Hill, who was in a terrible paragliding accident on Easter Sunday, passed away last night in a Utah hospital, this according to his sister Karen, who took to her Facebook page this morning to share the horrible news. I’m not going to begin to pretend I know anything about who this guy is, because I don’t know anything more than what is out there on a basic internet search, but you can see for yourself this is definitely a guy who lived life to its fullest. Before he passed yesterday, not only had Eric gone to film the “Bachelorette” in March & April, but he also was in the middle of starring in his own documentary (“The Global Odyssey”) where he planned on visiting all 195 U.N. recognized countries by 2016, which he was blogging about on his site, GoWithEric.com. By what I can see, he had already accomplished visiting 50 of them since starting last year. So lets not just pigeonhole Eric Hill as a “contestant on the upcoming Bachelorette,” because he was much more than that. The “Bachelorette” is just something to add to his already impressive resume. I’d say he was a son, a brother, a world traveler and a philanthropist much more than he was a reality show contestant. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all those who are grieving over his death.
Being that covering this show is my job, unfortunately I must now look ahead and talk about how the show handles this whole situation. And right now, I don’t think anyone knows since ABC hasn’t released the cast names yet, nor acknowledged this has happened. I would expect that to come soon and I will notify you via Twitter and Facebook once they release a statement. With that said, there are so many different ways to look at how this will be handled, and it looks like ABC is in a no-win situation. Some will think they should show his footage from his time on the show, and others will think it’s insensitive. Then if you break that down even further, if they do show all his time on the show, how will his death affect his edit? I gotta imagine any footage of they show of him will be positive. In the meantime, here are just a few of the questions I’m pondering while thinking about this whole situation:
-When will ABC acknowledge it and how?
-Considering filming is still in progress, and Andi’s final 4 rose ceremony is tonight, have they told Andi? Have they told the 4 guys left?
-If they did tell Andi, did they tell her before yesterday’s hometown date with Marcus (which I had the pleasure of viewing a lot of. Check my twitter account for pictures)?
-If they haven’t told her yet, do they tell her after she makes her decision tonight, or, do they wait until after the show is completely done filming before they tell her?
-If Andi does know at any point from here on out, how does this affect her emotionally?
-Does this delay filming at all?
-Does ABC foot the bill for any of the guys this season that want to attend any funeral services?
-Do they have something on screen before every episode this season (until he’s gone) mentioning Eric, or do they just do it before his first episode and his last episode?
-Is it the family’s decision how much of Eric gets shown, or because he signed a contract to appear, do they own his rights and is it up to ABC how they want to depict him?
-He had the first 1-on-1 of the season as we know. Do they show it at all?
-How do they handle his elimination?
If Eric was a contestant who never made it past night one, I’m sure there would be an “In Memoriam” at the beginning of the episode, they’d show his limo entrance and probably not much else, he wouldn’t get a rose at the end of the night and they could be done with it. The fact he gets the first 1-on-1 date of the season, plus makes it far enough to where he starts traveling with them, I just don’t know how much they are going to show. It’s a very sticky situation and you’re never going to please everybody. Some will say they should show him on the show as a celebration of his life, and there are others who will think it’s too much too soon and he shouldn’t be shown at all.
For me, the biggest thing right now in regards to his edit on the show is his exit. I was going to spoil it tomorrow with a few other things, but after this awful tragedy, it’s now brought to the forefront. I can tell you this: Eric did not get eliminated at a rose ceremony. I’m aware of the circumstances surrounding his exit, but since I have no idea what’s going to air, I will hold off until I see what ABC chooses to air. Very curious to see what they do with his exit. If it was a regular rose ceremony and he didn’t get a rose, then it’d be easy to hide. You’d basically just see him not getting a rose and they probably wouldn’t have shown his exit interview. However, it happens before a rose ceremony takes place and it’s not under normal circumstances, so, do they just cut that part out and never address it, or do they show you what happened? I don’t know. I guess we’ll see come June when that episode airs.
Once again, thoughts and prayers with Eric’s family and friends at this time. Losing a child has got to be one of the worst things a parent can ever go through, and now they have to deal with all this that comes afterwards. Hopefully they can get through it during this very difficult time.
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