'Bachelor' Behind-the-Scenes: Casting and Other Rules
There's a lot that goes behind the glamorous life of the contestants and bachelor/bachelorette of the season. While it may seem like everything is a picture-perfect set, it's a lot of hard work from the producers to hide secrets and stir the pot. Not that there's any pot to be stirred, but we'll learn about that at number five...
16. A REAL FAMILY LIVES IN THE BACHELOR MANSION
Believe it or not, The Bachelor mansion isn’t empty for most of the year. The mansion is actually a place where a real family of six live and isn’t ABC-owned at all. Twice a year, the Hardin family moves out and rents their home to ABC so the show can commence filming!
Marshall Harden and his wife built the home in 2004 and didn’t expect it to take on this fate. Producers approached the family and since Brad Womack’s season in 2007, both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette began filming in the iconic mansion. Emily Maynard's season was the only one not filmed in the mansion because of the producer's decision to film in her hometown.
15. PRODUCERS OWN THE NEIL LANE DIAMOND FOR TWO YEARS
It’s the moment that viewers, contestants, the lead and Chris Harrison all wait for -- the engagement; but what's the deal with the rings? In her tell-all book, Andi Dorfman revealed that the finalist gets to pick her own ring...kinda. She claimed she practically designed the Neil Lane ring herself just by dropping hints to producers.
Diamonds are forever -- but not for The Bachelor and his fiance if they break up before the two-year mark. Producers own the rings and that doesn't change for at least two years. If a Bachelor or Bachelorette couple breaks up before then, they must give the rings back to producers. Sorry, Andi!
14. CHRIS HARRISON WROTE A ROMANCE NOVEL
What better person to write a romance novel than the host of one of the biggest romance-themed reality shows on television today. Chris Harrison published the book “The Perfect Letter” back in 2015. The book was described as being “so bad it’s good” by Huffington Post. Watch out, Nicholas Sparks!
13. PRODUCERS TRACK CONTESTANTS' PERIODS
Reality shows are known for being invasive -- how couldn’t they be? Cameras are everywhere (except for the shower usually.) But Los Angeles Times reporter, Amy Kaufman, revealed in her book “Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure” that one of the more eyebrow-raising practices happening onset is the monitoring of contestant’s menstrual cycles.
"Women cycled together in the house, it created a completely different vibe," Ben Hatta, former assistant to Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss, told Kaufman. "So a girl's now crying mid-interview about nothing or being reactionary to things that are super small. It helped the producers because now you've got someone who is emotional—and all you want is emotion."
12. ROSE CEREMONIES ARE ACTUALLY REALLY LONG
Viewers only see a rose ceremony that lasts about 5 minutes long (10 if we count the commercial break that happens during the most intense ceremony.) But for contestants, the ceremonies actually take up to 12 hours, and may not even finish until five or six in the morning for the perfect filming.
To have the perfect-looking rose ceremony, the lead has to get all the names correct. Part of the reasons why the ceremonies take so long is because producers have to stand nearby holding flashcards with contestants’ faces and names to help the Bachelor and the Bachelorette remember everyone that’s there.
11. ABC ONLY PROVIDES DRESSES FOR THE FINALE
A girl could only get so lucky. ABC makes sure each woman is dressed to the nines for the last rose ceremony by providing the final dresses for both women to make everything look as flawless as possible. Producers dressed Courtney Robertson in a black Alberto Makali dress, Ben Flajnik’s favorite color.
Other than the last ceremony, every outfit the contestants wear is completely up to them. They must buy or borrow their own rose ceremony dresses for the duration of their time on the show. Unfortunately, this is one of the many reasons contestants find themselves deep in debt. Jillian Harris revealed she spent $8,000 on clothes for the show!
10. THE FINAL FOUR (MIGHT) GET PICKED OUT ON NIGHT ONE
The final four is the moment the Bachelor brings together his top for picks after narrowing it down based on romance and emotions, technically. Turns out, the final four may have been chosen way earlier. Jesse Csincsak, the winner of Bachelorette season 4 told OK Magazine that producers and the lead chose the four on the first night.
"Producers orchestrate the entire thing, sitting contestants down with the star, then directing others to kick them out. Then they tell the lead, ‘Pick four people you would like to get to know better," he told the magazine. That explains why the first impression rose recipient makes it to the final four each time.
9. THE HOMETOWN DATES USUALLY AREN'T ACTUALLY AT THEIR REAL HOME
Because not every contestant grows up on an estate, many of them use the homes of wealthier relatives or friends or opt for producers to rent a place for the meeting. In 2014, the Bachelor Australia contestant, Lisa Hyde, showed the lead around her parents’ waterfront mansion, which was actually a rental.
8. MEALS MAY ALSO BE CATERED!
While some families do opt to cook for the visitor, not all of them do, Andi Dorfman explained. “I remember Nikki [Ferrell, on Juan Pablo’s season] had her mom cook this big roast. And I’m like, ‘uhhh, my mom doesn’t really cook.’” In that cast, production will have the visit catered.
7. THE LEAD GETS PAID FOR THEIR SEASON
A lot of perks come from being on the Bachelor: traveling, food, and fun activities like modeling for Janis Dickenson. And just like any other reality TV show job: you get paid, but only if you’re the lead. Contestants don’t make money for their run on the show and usually go into debt due to having to quit their jobs.
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette do rack in a few coins -- six figures actually. Back in 2011 the blogger, Reality Steve, revealed that the salary was likely higher than $100,000 but even that depends on the guy. Bachelor alum Sean Lowe reportedly only $75,000-$90,000. But they can make more if you have a televised wedding!
6. CONTESTANTS TAKE AN EXAM
It is not enough to just apply and be interviewed. After lengthy applications, including photos and videos and a long interview process that can last a number of months, contestants have to pass a group of exams before they’re able to go looking for love on the famous romance show.
In Amy Kaufman’s book, she revealed that one of the biggest roadblocks for hopefuls when looking to compete on the show is passing the various psychological and health exams. Samples of the blood are testing for drugs and STDs. If any underlying conditions are found then they’re immediately taken out of the running.
5. EATING IS OFF LIMITS ON DATES
There are a lot of weird rules, mostly as it pertains to what can and cannot go on in the Bachelor mansion (only two suitcases of clothing per person allowed!) But one of the weirdest, and maybe most heartbreaking, is that the delicious food we see on one-on-one dates don’t actually get to be eaten!
Contestants will have food brought to their hotel (or the mansion) before the dinner portion of their date, and the perfectly arranged food is left cold as the two get to know each other. Why? Because the mics pick up on all the ASMR chewing. It also removes the risk of any awkward food moments.
4. A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR IS INVOLVED IN THE PICKING PROCESS
The exam isn’t the only thing that producers do to delve deeper into who they’re bringing on the show. Other than the exams, background checks, and psychologist visits, producers also hire a private investigator to learn everything they can about contestants off the show. They even look into their family and friends.
3. CONTESTANTS HAVE TO ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES THE WHOLE TIME ON THE SHOW
Living in a mansion and traveling around the world looking for love actually isn’t all it’s cracked up to be after all. Contestants are known to get really bored during downtime. Having no connection to the outside world leaves a lot of the contestants having to entertain themselves or each other without any help.
There is a limit on items allowed in the mansion meaning, of course, no cell phones, laptops or internet, no TV or news at all. But even harsher, contestants weren’t allowed to bring magazines or books and they still can’t listen to music because of licensing issues. There’s also no air conditioning allowed because it could hurt the sound quality!
2. CONTESTANTS AND PRODUCERS GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER REALLY WELL
Peter Weber’s season was filled with a lot of drama and rumors, especially one claiming that there’s no way the ending could be spoiled because he actually ended up with a producer. Turns out, this wasn’t true. But it isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem to the untrained eye or seasoned viewer.
1. THE CONTESTANTS AND THE LEAD BARELY KNOW EACH OTHER
The contestants spend a lot of time together, forming pretty close friendships. But they only spend 5% of their time with the Bachelor or Bachelorette. Ali Fedotowsky, who won the Bachelor in 2010, revealed that she actually only spent a total of 72 hours with the show's star, and 12 of those hours are spent in the fantasy suite.
Contestants come onto The Bachelor and The Bachelorette to find love, but usually, they're taking on a lot more than what they bargained for. Regardless, it's fascinating to see how the show's executives can execute such a well-packaged show. Were you shocked to find out all these wild behind-the-scenes facts about one of the best reality shows on television?