Credit: Ron Koeberer/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Ben F. Smiles on The Bachelorette Season 7, Episode 8

No day is complete until we've uncovered at least one potential Bachelor/ette conspiracy, so try this on for size: In his Entertainment Weekly blog on the Season 7 hometown dates, Chris Harrison pointedly asks readers for their opinions on Ben Flajnik... because he could be the Season 16 Bachelor? Maybe.

It does sound like ABC is now in official "Who Should Be The Next Bachelor?" mode. They are airing the "final casting call" ads during The Bachelorette and posting polls on both the official Bachelor  and ABC sites. So excuse us if the Rosemaster’s probing makes our eyebrows dance.

Check out the excerpt below and judge for yourselves:

I’m very interested to hear everybody’s thoughts on Ben after this episode. Up to this point I know everybody liked him but I felt like in this episode and on this date you really got to know him on an intimate level [revealing] so much about himself and his feelings about his late father [...] Ashley is already taken by him but was really moved by his open, candid emotions. His dad’s death has really affected him but he seems to have turned that into a positive. He has definitely evolved as a man and has great perspective on his life now. Ben’s talk with his mom was incredibly moving. I think it’s great that our hometown date really seemed to bring the two of them closer together as well.

That sounds less about Ben's connection with Ashley than Ben's "journey" of self-discovery as a potential launching pad for dating 25 new chicks next year. But that’s just our opinion. What do you think? Crazy talk? Possible?

Read Chris' full hometown dates blog here.

Meanwhile, Ryan “Mr. Sunshine” Park seems to have most of your votes to be the Season 16 Bachelor. Oh, the suspense!

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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