The Bachelor is an American reality television dating game show that debuted on March 25, 2002, on ABC. The show is hosted by Chris Harrison. The show's success has resulted in several spin-offs including The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, and Bachelor in Paradise.
It is created and produced by Mike Fleiss and directed by Ken Fuchs. The After The Final Rose and other reunion specials are produced at Victory Studios in Glendale, CA.
As the show is designed, the series revolves around a single bachelor (deemed eligible) who starts with a pool of romantic interests (typically 25) from whom the bachelor is expected to select a wife. During the course of the season, the bachelor eliminates candidates (see The elimination process), with the bachelor proposing marriage to his final selection. The participants travel to romantic and exotic locations for their adventures, and the conflicts in the series, both internal and external, stem from the elimination-style format of the show.
The above description is a general guideline. In practice, the show does not always follow its designed structure, and those variations are often a source of drama and conflict.
- A candidate who was eliminated returns to the show to plead her case to the bachelor.
- A bachelor distributes more roses or fewer roses than planned.
- A bachelor eliminates a woman outside of the normal elimination process. For example, the bachelor may eliminate both women in a two-on-one date.
- The bachelor chooses to pursue a relationship with his final selection rather than propose marriage.
The two most notable cases where the bachelor violated the premise of the show are Brad Womack, who selected neither of his final two women, and Jason Mesnick, who in the After the Final Rose episode broke off his engagement and several months later proposed (offscreen) to the first runner-up (the two are now married).
For the first two weeks of filming the contestants stay in "Villa De La Vina," a 7,590-square-foot (705 m2), six-bedroom, nine-bath home in Agoura Hills, California. The custom home, built in 2005, is located on 10 acres at 2351 Kanan Road. As of October 10, 2008, the home was listed for sale at a price of US$8.75 million. The final third of the episodes within a season are filmed traveling the world. Episodes have been filmed throughout the United States, Canada, England, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea to name just a few. The Agoura Hills, California mansion has not been used on several occasions, including during season 7 where filming took place in New York City, home of Charlie O'Connell, who had appeared in Sliders with his brother Jerry O'Connell; Paris, France for season 8; and Rome, Italy where Lorenzo Borghese, who is half Italian, lived for season 9.
The elimination process
On each Bachelor episode, the bachelor interacts with the women and presents a rose to each woman he wishes to remain on the show. Those who do not receive a rose are eliminated. Eliminations are based upon the bachelor's personal feelings about each contestant, guided primarily by the impression made by each woman during dates or other events of the week. Most roses are presented at a rose ceremony at the end of each episode, but roses can also be bestowed on dates. Typical activities include:
- A group date, in which the bachelor and a group of women participate in an activity. Sometimes the activity takes the form of a competition, the winner or winners spending more time with the bachelor. The bachelor typically presents a rose to the woman who makes the best impression during the group date.
- A one-on-one date, in which the bachelor and one woman go on a date. Except in the late stages of the season, there is a rose at stake: At the end of the date, the bachelor must decide whether to present the woman a rose. If the woman does not receive a rose, she is eliminated immediately.
- A two-on-one date, in which the bachelor and two women go on a date. At the end of the date, the bachelor must decide which woman receives a rose. The woman who does not receive a rose is eliminated immediately.
If a rose is at stake on a date, the participating women pack their suitcases in case they fail to receive a rose. The other women learn that a woman has been eliminated when that woman's suitcase is taken away by a crew member.
- Except in the late stages of the season, the episode concludes with a cocktail party, to which the bachelor and all women not yet eliminated are invited. At the first cocktail party of the season, the bachelor presents a "first impression rose"; roses are typically not presented at any other cocktail parties.
- Every episode concludes with a rose ceremony which has its own conventions.
- The women who have not been eliminated stand in rows at one end of the room, and the bachelor faces them. The bachelor has a tray with roses.
- The bachelor takes a rose and calls a woman by name. The woman steps forward, and the bachelor asks, "Will you accept this rose?" The woman accepts, takes the rose, and returns to her original position.
- When there is one rose remaining, host Chris Harrison says, "Ladies, this is the final rose tonight," then tells the bachelor, "When you're ready."
- After all roses are distributed, host Chris Harrison tells the women who did not receive a rose to "take a moment and say your good-byes."
The final episodes of each season traditionally follow this pattern:
- The bachelor visits the hometowns and families of each of the four remaining women. At the rose ceremony, one woman is eliminated, leaving three.
- The bachelor and the three remaining women travel to an exotic location for a series of one-on-one dates. At the conclusion of each date, the bachelor offers the woman the keys to the fantasy suite which allows the two to spend the night together without cameras present. At the rose ceremony, one woman is eliminated, leaving two.
- In a "The Women Tell All" episode, the women who had been eliminated from the show participate in a talk show where they discuss their thoughts and experiences.
- The two remaining women separately meet with the bachelor's family. At the end of the episode, the bachelor proposes to one of the women by presenting the "final rose".
- In an "After the Final Rose" episode which immediately follows, the bachelor, the finalist, and the runner-up participate in a talk show. The identity of the next season's bachelor or bachelorette is often announced at the end of the episode.
A woman may withdraw from the competition at any time if she finds herself no longer interested in the bachelor. On rare occasions, a woman is removed from the show for breaking one of the rules.
The bachelor has wide discretion in choosing how many and when to present the roses. For example, Sean Lowe presented several roses at his initial cocktail party.
It is common to accuse a contestant of not being on the show "for the right reasons", meaning that her aim is not to establish a relationship with the bachelor, but rather to garner publicity for her own career, induce jealousy in an ex-boyfriend, become selected as the next Bachelorette, or simply to get a free trip to exotic locations.
|Season||Original run||Bachelor||Winner||Runner-up||Proposal||Still together||Relationship notes|
|1||March 25, 2002 – April 25, 2002||Alex Michel||Amanda Marsh||Trista Rehn||No||No||Michel did not propose to Marsh but instead they entered into a relationship. Marsh and Michel broke up after several months.|
|2||September 25, 2002 – November 20, 2002||Aaron Buerge||Helene Eksterowicz||Brooke Smith||Yes||No||Buerge and Eksterowicz broke up after several weeks.|
|3||March 24, 2003 – May 21, 2003||Andrew Firestone||Jennifer Schefft||Kirsten Buschbacher||Yes||No||Schefft and Firestone broke up after several months.|
|4||September 24, 2003 – November 20, 2003||Bob Guiney||Estella Gardinier||Kelly Kuharski||No||No||Guiney did not propose to Gardinier but she accepted a promise ring indicating that they would still date. They broke up shortly after the show aired.|
|5||April 7, 2004 – May 26, 2004||Jesse Palmer||Jessica Bowlin||Tara Huckeby||No||No||Palmer did not propose to Bowlin. They continued to date but broke up several weeks later.|
|6||September 22, 2004 – November 24, 2004||Byron Velvick||Mary Delgado||Tanya Michel||Yes||No||Velvick and Jay Overbye started as two candidate bachelors. The women competing had to vote on which man they would like to be the bachelor. Velvick ended up winning the vote. Velvick and Delgado split after five years.|
|7||March 28, 2005 – May 16, 2005||Charlie O'Connell||Sarah Brice||Krisily Kennedy||No||No||O'Connell chose Brice and did not propose but instead began a relationship. They broke up in September 2007 but got back together in 2008. However, they broke up again in 2010.|
|8||January 9, 2006 – February 27, 2006||Travis Lane Stork||Sarah Stone||Moana Dixon||No||No||Stork did not propose to Stone but instead began a relationship. They broke up shortly after the show aired.|
|9||October 2, 2006 – November 27, 2006||Lorenzo Borghese||Jennifer Wilson||Sadie Murray||No||No||Borghese did not propose to Wilson. They began a relationship, but broke up in January 2007. He then dated Murray, the runner-up, but broke up in March of that same year.|
|10||April 2, 2007 – May 22, 2007||Andy Baldwin||Tessa Horst||Bevin Powers||Yes||No||Horst and Baldwin called off their engagement one month after the finale but continued their relationship. They broke off the relationship in September 2007.|
|11||September 24, 2007 – November 20, 2007||Brad Womack||N/A/||DeAnna Pappas||No||No||Womack chose Croft and Pappas as the two finalists, but they were both rejected in the season's finale.|
|12||March 17, 2008 – May 12, 2008||Matt Grant||Shayne Lamas||Chelsea Wanstrath||Yes||No||Grant and Lamas broke up in July 2008.|
|13||January 5, 2009 – March 2, 2009||Jason Mesnick||Melissa Rycroft||Molly Malaney||Yes||Yes/No[a]||On the season's finale, Mesnick had called off the engagement with Rycroft and resumed a relationship with runner-up Malaney. Mesnick later proposed to Malaney in New Zealand, which she accepted and were married on February 27, 2010, in California. Mesnick and Malaney's wedding aired on ABC on March 8, 2010. The couple have their daughter Riley Anne (born 2013).|
|14||January 4, 2010 – March 1, 2010||Jake Pavelka||Vienna Girardi||Tenley Molzahn||Yes||No||Pavelka and Girardi ended their relationship in June 2010.|
|15||January 3, 2011 – March 14, 2011||Brad Womack||Emily Maynard||Chantal O'Brien||Yes||No||Womack and Maynard broke up while their season was airing, but got back together after the show's finale. However, they called it quits for good in May 2011.|
|16||January 2, 2012 – March 12, 2012||Ben Flajnik||Courtney Robertson||Lindsey Cox||Yes||No||Flajnik and Robertson originally broke up in February 2012 while their season was airing. However, they were later reconciled and got engaged for the second time but broke up again in October 2012 for good.|
|17||January 7, 2013 – March 11, 2013||Sean Lowe||Catherine Giudici||Lindsay Yenter||Yes||Yes||Lowe and Giudici married on January 26, 2014. They have two children together, Samuel Thomas (born 2016) and Isaiah Hendrix (born 2018). They are expecting their third child.|
|18||January 6, 2014 – March 10, 2014||Juan Pablo Galavis||Nikki Ferrell||Clare Crawley||No||No||Galavis did not propose to Ferrell but instead they decided to continue their relationship. They later appeared on Couples Therapy. In October 2014, they decided to end their relationship.|
|19||January 5, 2015 – March 9, 2015||Chris Soules||Whitney Bischoff||Becca Tilley||Yes||No||Soules and Bischoff announced their break-up on May 28, 2015.|
|20||January 4, 2016 – March 14, 2016||Ben Higgins||Lauren Bushnell||Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher||Yes||No||Higgins and Bushnell had their own reality show Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?. The two announced their breakup on May 15, 2017.|
|21||January 2, 2016 – March 13, 2017||Nick Viall||Vanessa Grimaldi||Raven Gates||Yes||No||Viall and Grimaldi announced their breakup on August 25, 2017.|
|22||January 1, 2018 – March 6, 2018||Arie Luyendyk Jr.||Becca Kufrin||Lauren Burnham||Yes||Yes/No[a]||On the live season finale, it was revealed that a few weeks after filming wrapped, Luyendyk had quickly called off his engagement to Kufrin and started dating runner-up Burnham. The two got engaged during the After the Final Rose special and were married on January 12, 2019. On May 29, 2019, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter, Alessi Ren.|
|23||January 7, 2019 – March 12, 2019||Colton Underwood||Cassie Randolph||Tayshia Adams||No||Yes||Randolph initially broke up with Underwood at final three. Underwood then broke up with the remaining two women and convinced Randolph to give him a second chance and she agreed to take it day by day. The two are still together as of August 2019.|
- ^ Jason Mesnick and Melissa Rycroft were no longer together after the show. He married the runner-up, Molly Malaney, and they are still together.
- ^ Arie Luyendyk, Jr. and Becca Kufrin were no longer together after the show. He married the runner-up, Lauren Burnham, and they are still together.
The show's success has led producer Mike Fleiss to create multiple spin-offs, including The Bachelorette, in which the format is gender-reversed. The bachelorettes are eliminated contestants from The Bachelor. Season 11 of The Bachelorette had two bachelorettes (but only for the first episode).
On August 4, 2014, Bachelor in Paradise premiered, giving previous contestants of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette the opportunity to compete for another chance in love in dating-themed eliminations. The series went on to have a spin-off of its own, Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise, which also serves as a spin-off to The Bachelor, and it premiered on August 3, 2015.
The weddings of Trista Rehn (the 1st Bachelorette), Jason Mesnick (13th Bachelor), Ashley Hebert (the 7th Bachelorette), and Sean Lowe (the 17th Bachelor) were broadcast as television specials. Rehn's vow-renewal ceremony upon her 10-year anniversary was also broadcast. Bachelor in Paradise season 2 couple, Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert's wedding was also broadcast as a television special in February 2016.
On January 4, 2016, Bachelor Live, a one-hour after show talk show premiered, hosted by Chris Harrison.
On March 20, 2017, The Twins: Happily Ever After premiered. The series stars Haley and Emily Ferguson from season 20 of The Bachelor and showcases them "saying goodbye to the comfort and luxuries of living under their mom's roof and beginning the hilarious journey of figuring out life on their own while searching for independence and a new career."
The Bachelor Winter Games premiered on February 13, 2018. The show follows a similar premise to that of Bachelor in Paradise with a few twists. One stand out twist is that the cast is made up of international contestants from The Bachelor Franchise. All contestants participate in various winter sports in order to win a date card. Ashley Iaconetti (American) and Kevin Wendt (Canadian) were the winning couple of the first season, after competing in an ice skating dance routine against three other couples.
Questions of authenticity
On February 26, 2009, in an exclusive interview between The Bachelor season 13 contestant Megan Parris, and Steve Carbone, Megan commented that the producers edit the footage to create a fictional storyline. "I don't think [the producers] showed any real conversation I had with anyone... The viewers fail to realize that editing is what makes the show... You'll hear someone make one comment and then they'll show a clip of somebody's face to make it look like that is their facial reaction to that statement, but really, somebody made that face the day before to something else. It's just piecing things together to make a story."
On March 26, 2009, Megan Parris argued that not only was the show scripted but that the producers bullied contestants into saying things to the camera that contestants did not want to say. "There's nothing real about it," she said of the show's trademark "confessionals," in which contestants talk to the camera about the latest goings-on. "It is scripted," she said. "They basically will call you names, berate you, curse at you until they get you to say what they want you to say." Both ABC and Warner Bros., the studio that produces The Bachelor, had no comment.
On March 15, 2010, Mike Fleiss appeared on 20/20 and said that he develops contestants into characters that will cater to his audience's tastes and that they "need [their] fair share of villains every season." Fleiss has come under fire for admitting that The Bachelor has less to do with reality than it does making good television.
On February 24, 2012, during the taping of The Women Tell All episode of The Bachelor, a private conversation between contestant Courtney Robertson and a show producer went public when microphones were accidentally left on in between camera takes. The conversation revealed the producer's role as a coach encouraging Robertson to fake certain emotions for the camera.
The audience reactions for The Women Tell All episode are pre-recorded and inserted into the show later.
In December 2011, the producer of The Bachelor sued Steve Carbone, a Bronx-born, California-raised Internet enthusiast from Frisco, Texas, and proprietor of the website RealitySteve.com, for leaking unreleased information about the show, claiming Carbone encouraged contestants of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette to break their confidentiality agreements. Carbone has denied that the source of the leaks is current contestants.
The novelty of the show makes it a ripe target for parody.
Ben Stiller produced a web spoof of the series entitled Burning Love. It ran for three seasons before ending.
Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel also created a parody in 2013 called "The Baby Bachelor" in Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which the titular role is given to his 3-year-old nephew Wesley. In 2016, he released "The Baby Bachelorette" and in 2017, "The Baby Bachelor in Paradise".
The Fox network produced a show, Joe Millionaire, based on the premise that the bachelor was a millionaire heir when in reality, he was not. It was renewed for a second season The Next Joe Millionaire, but the series ended due to the season's low ratings.
On June 1, 2015, Lifetime began airing Unreal, a scripted drama about a producer who works on Everlasting. It is based on Sarah Gertrude Shapiro's short film Sequin Raze and her experience as a field producer on The Bachelor.