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The Time a Bachelorette Picked a Serial Killer on TV

May 30, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

Before The Bachelorette pitted 30 men against each other to win one woman’s heart, Americans watched a different show about random strangers competing for a mate: The Dating Game. Starting in 1965, the ). “This creep comes up and he puts his face practically in my face, and he says: ‘I always get the girl.’”

Alcala was very upset by Bradshaw’s rejection, and authorities believe it motivated him to increase his murder spree between then and his arrest in July 1979. Right before his arrest he met a 16-year-old girl named Cynthia Libby and told her, “I could do anything I want to you, and no one would know.” Libby, not taking him seriously, agreed to go out with him again. But he stood her up, and when she told her mom his name, her mother informed her that he’d just been arrested for murder.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Libby told People three decades later. “I still have a hard time believing it. I could have been one of the dead girls.” So too could Bradshaw if she hadn’t turned him down.

Timeline of Alcala’s murder spree shown in the courtroom during his trial in 2010.

Alcala is now in prison for the murder of several women and a 12-year-old girl, although investigators believe the real number of murders he committed could be in the dozens. Alcala used photography to get close to his victims, and police have not yet identified all of the people they found in his photo collection.

It’s not clear if the producers of The Dating Game knew about his conviction in 1978, but modern dating shows continue to struggle with male contestants who are violent toward women. In 2017, viewers criticized Bachelor in Paradise for treating an alleged sexual assault on set as a cliffhanger. The next year, a Bachelorette contestant was convicted of indecent assault and battery just days before the season premiered. And only three episodes into Hannah Brown’s 2019 Bachelorette season, the producers removed a contestant without explanation amid allegations about his past treatment of women.

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