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The Bachelor is an American reality television dating show that debuted on March 25, 2002, on ABC. The show was hosted by Chris Harrison from 2002-2021 and is currently hosted by Jesse Palmer. The show's success has resulted in several spin-offs including The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor Winter Games, The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart, The Golden Bachelor, and The Golden Bachelorette.

Production[]

The Bachelor 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.

Plot[]

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 goes on individual and group dates with the women, eliminating candidates each week to narrow the pool. The participants travel to romantic and exotic locations for their adventures, and the conflicts in the series stem from the elimination-style format of the show and the tensions of living under the same roof while dating the same man.

In the end, the Bachelor rejects one woman and proposes marriage to the other in the final episode. He almost always proposes with a ring from designer Neil Lane.

The above description is a general guideline. In practice, however, the show does not always follow its designed structure. Those variations are often an additional source of drama and conflict. For example:

  • A candidate who was eliminated may return to the show to plead her case to the Bachelor
  • A Bachelor distributes more or fewer roses than planned
  • A Bachelor eliminates a woman outside of the normal elimination process (ie the Bachelor may eliminate both women in a two-on-one date instead of just one)
  • The Bachelor chooses to pursue a relationship with his final selection rather than propose marriage, or reject both women instead of one

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.

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, secure a spot on Bachelor in Paradise, or simply to get a free trip to exotic locations.

Setting[]

For the first several 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 Agoura Hills, California mansion is not always used, however- season 7 took place in New York City, home of Charlie O'Connell, season 8 in Paris, France, and season 9 in Rome, Italy, where the half-Italian Lorenzo Borghese lived.

After a handful of women have been eliminated, the remaining group leaves the mansion and begins the travel portion of the show. They typically start in the United States, and when the group has become smaller, take off to international destinations. Episodes have been filmed in England, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, and Estonia to name just a few.

The final four contestants then take the Bachelor back to their hometowns in the United States, where they plan the date and introduce him to their family and friends.

The Elimination Process[]

On each Bachelor episode, the Bachelor presents a rose to each woman he wishes to remain on the show. Those who do not receive a rose are eliminated. Eliminations are purportedly 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, with 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. After the cocktail party concludes, the contestants gather for a Rose Ceremony as follows:

  • 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 (or not), takes the rose, and returns to her original position.
  • When there is one rose remaining, the host says, "Ladies, this is the final rose tonight," then tells the Bachelor, "When you're ready."
  • After all roses are distributed, the host 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 "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.

Seasons[]

Season Original run Bachelor Winner Runner-up Proposal Still together
1 March 25 – April 25, 2002 Alex Michel Amanda Marsh Trista Rehn No No
2 September 25 – November 20, 2002 Aaron Buerge Helene Eksterowicz Brooke Smith Yes No
3 March 24 – May 21, 2003 Andrew Firestone Jennifer Schefft Kirsten Buschbacher Yes No
4 September 24 – November 20, 2003 Bob Guiney Estella Gardinier Kelly Kuharski No No
5 April 7 – May 26, 2004 Jesse Palmer Jessica Bowlin Tara Huckeby No No
6 September 22 – November 24, 2004 Byron Velvick Mary Delgado Tanya Michel Yes No
7 March 28 – May 16, 2005 Charlie O'Connell Sarah Brice Krisily Kennedy No No
8 January 9 – February 27, 2006 Travis Lane Stork Sarah Stone Moana Dixon No No
9 October 2 – November 27, 2006 Lorenzo Borghese Jennifer Wilson Sadie Murray No No
10 April 2 – May 22, 2007 Andy Baldwin Tessa Horst Bevin Powers Yes No
11 September 24 – November 20, 2007 Brad Womack None DeAnna Pappas No No
Jenni Croft
12 March 17 – May 12, 2008 Matt Grant Shayne Lamas Chelsea Wanstrath Yes No
13 January 5 – March 2, 2009 Jason Mesnick Melissa Rycroft Molly Malaney Yes Yes/No[1]
14 January 4 – March 1, 2010 Jake Pavelka Vienna Girardi Tenley Molzahn Yes No
15 January 3 – March 14, 2011 Brad Womack Emily Maynard Chantal O'Brien Yes No
16 January 2 – March 12, 2012 Ben Flajnik Courtney Robertson Lindsey Cox Yes No
17 January 7 – March 11, 2013 Sean Lowe Catherine Giudici Lindsay Yenter Yes Yes
18 January 6 – March 10, 2014 Juan Pablo Galavis Nikki Ferrell Clare Crawley No No
19 January 5 – March 9, 2015 Chris Soules Whitney Bischoff Becca Tilley Yes No
20 January 4 – March 14, 2016 Ben Higgins Lauren Bushnell Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher Yes No
21 January 2 – March 13, 2017 Nick Viall Vanessa Grimaldi Raven Gates Yes No
22 January 1 – March 6, 2018 Arie Luyendyk Jr. Becca Kufrin Lauren Burnham Yes Yes/No[2]
23 January 7 – March 12, 2019 Colton Underwood Cassie Randolph Hannah Godwin No No
Tayshia Adams
24 January 6 – March 10, 2020 Peter Weber Hannah Sluss Madison Prewett Yes No
25 January 4 – March 15, 2021 Matt James Rachael Kirkconnell Michelle Young No Yes
26 January 3 - March 15, 2022 Clayton Echard Susie Evans Rachel Recchia No No
Gabby Windey
27 January 23 - March 27, 2023 Zach Shallcross Kaitlyn Biggar Gabriella Elnicki Yes Yes
28 January 22 - March 25, 2024 Joey Graziadei Kelsey Anderson Daisy Kent Yes Yes
Notes
  1. Jason Mesnick and Melissa Rycroft were no longer together after the show. He married the runner-up, Molly Malaney, and they are still together.
  2. 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.

Final Couples[]

Spin-offs[]

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.

On August 9, 2010, Bachelor Pad premiered, giving previous contestants of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette the opportunity to compete in dating-themed eliminations for $250,000.

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 also had their wedding 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.

First airing in October 2016, Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After? showcased the relationship of Ben Higgins and Lauren following their season of The Bachelor.

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.

On January 8, 2020, it was announced that a new spinoff titled The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart is set to premiere on April 13, 2020.

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.

Lawsuit[]

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.

Parodies[]

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.

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