|Genre||Dating game show|
|Created by||Mike Fleiss|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||27|
|No. of episodes||286 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||Mike Fleiss|
|Release||March 25, 2002 –|
The Bachelor is an American dating and relationship reality television series that debuted on March 25, 2002, on ABC. For its first 25 seasons, the show was hosted by Chris Harrison. As the flagship of the original The Bachelor franchise, its success resulted in several spin-offs including The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise, The Bachelor Winter Games, The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart, The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons – Ever!, and The Golden Bachelor, as well as spawning many international editions of the shows.
On May 16, 2023, ABC renewed the series for a twenty-eighth season.
The series was created by Mike Fleiss. The After The Final Rose and other reunion specials were originally produced at Victory Studios in Los Angeles, California, and CBS Studio Center in Studio City, but are now taped at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank. In the most recent run of The Bachelor, it brought in almost $86 million in advertising revenue.
The series revolves around a single bachelor who begins with a pool of romantic interests from which he is expected to select a fiancée. During the course of the season, the bachelor eliminates candidates (see The elimination process) each week eventually culminating in a marriage proposal to his final selection. The participants travel to romantic and exotic locations for their dates, and the conflicts in the series, both internal and external, stem from the elimination-style format of the show.
The above description is simply 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. They may include, among other events:
Season six was the only season to feature a twist in casting. Since producers could not unanimously decide between Byron Velvick and Jay Overbye for the next Bachelor, the 25 women at the time participating had to decide which bachelor would make the best husband. At the end of the first episode, Velvick was chosen.
Notable cases where the bachelor violated the premise of the show are Brad Womack, who selected neither of his final two women on his first season, and Jason Mesnick, who broke off his engagement in the After the Final Rose episode and several months later proposed (offscreen) to the first runner-up (Molly Malaney)—who he later married. Like Mesnick, Arie Luyendyk Jr. also broke off his engagement and during the After the Final Rose episode, he proposed to the first runner-up (Lauren Burnham)—to whom he is now married.
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 free trips to exotic locations.
Main article: List of The Bachelor (American TV series) episodes
|Season||Original run||Bachelor||Winner||Runner(s)-up||Proposal||Still together?||Relationship status|
|1||March 25 – April 25, 2002||Alex Michel||Amanda Marsh||Trista Rehn||No||No||Michel did not propose to Marsh, but instead they entered into a relationship. They broke up several months later.|
|2||September 25 – November 20, 2002||Aaron Buerge||Helene Eksterowicz||Brooke Smith||Yes||No||Buerge and Eksterowicz broke up in January 2003.|
|3||March 24 – May 21, 2003||Andrew Firestone||Jennifer Schefft||Kirsten Buschbacher||Yes||No||Firestone and Schefft broke up in December 2003.|
|4||September 24 – November 20, 2003||Bob Guiney||Estella Gardinier||Kelly Jo Kuharski||No||No||Guiney did not propose to Gardinier, but she accepted a promise ring indicating that they would still date. They broke up in December 2003.|
|5||April 7 – May 26, 2004||Jesse Palmer||Jessica Bowlin||Tara Huckeby||No||No||Palmer did not propose to Bowlin. They continued to date, but broke up in June 2004.|
|6[b]||September 22 – November 24, 2004||Byron Velvick||Mary Delgado||Tanya Michel||Yes||No||Velvick and Delgado split in December 2009, after five years together.|
|7||March 28 – May 16, 2005||Charlie O'Connell||Sarah Brice||Krisily Kennedy||No||No||O'Connell did not propose to Brice, but instead they entered into a relationship. They broke up in September 2007, but got back together in November 2008. However, they broke up for good in April 2010.|
|8||January 9 – February 27, 2006||Travis Lane Stork||Sarah Stone||Moana Dixon||No||No||Stork did not propose to Stone, but instead they entered into a relationship. They broke up in March 2006.|
|9||October 2 – November 27, 2006||Lorenzo Borghese||Jennifer Wilson||Sadie Murray||No||No||Borghese did not propose to Wilson, but instead they entered into a relationship. They broke up in January 2007. He briefly dated runner-up Murray, but they broke up in March 2007.|
|10||April 2 – May 22, 2007||Andy Baldwin||Tessa Horst||Bevin Powers||Yes||No||Baldwin and Horst called off their engagement in June 2007, but continued to date. They ended their relationship in September 2007.|
|11||September 24 – November 20, 2007||Brad Womack||—||DeAnna Pappas||No||No||Womack chose Pappas and Croft as the two finalists, but they were both rejected in the season's finale.|
|12||March 17 – May 12, 2008||Matt Grant||Shayne Lamas||Chelsea Wanstrath||Yes||No||Grant and Lamas broke up in July 2008.|
|13||January 5 – March 3, 2009||Jason Mesnick||Melissa Rycroft||Molly Malaney||Yes||No[c]||In the season finale, it was revealed that Mesnick had called off the engagement with Rycroft and resumed a relationship with runner-up Malaney. Mesnick later proposed to Malaney in New Zealand, and they were married on February 27, 2010, in California. Jason and Molly's wedding aired on ABC on March 8, 2010. The couple have a daughter, Riley Anne (born March 14, 2013). The couple also shares custody of Jason's son, Tyler, from his previous marriage (born January 25, 2005).|
|14||January 4 – March 1, 2010||Jake Pavelka||Vienna Girardi||Tenley Molzahn||Yes||No||Pavelka and Girardi ended their engagement in June 2010.|
|15||January 3 – March 14, 2011||Brad Womack||Emily Maynard||Chantal O'Brien||Yes||No||Womack and Maynard broke up while their season was airing, but reconciled in time for the finale. However, they broke up for good in June 2011.|
|16||January 2 – March 12, 2012||Ben Flajnik||Courtney Robertson||Lindzi Cox||Yes||No||Flajnik and Robertson broke up while their season was airing, but reconciled in time for the finale. However, they broke up for good in October 2012.|
|17||January 7 – March 11, 2013||Sean Lowe||Catherine Giudici||Lindsay Yenter||Yes||Yes||Lowe and Giudici married on January 26, 2014. They have three children together; two sons, Samuel Thomas (born July 2, 2016) and Isaiah Hendrix (born May 18, 2018), and a daughter, Mia Mejia (born December 23, 2019).|
|18||January 6 – 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. They broke up in October 2014.|
|19||January 5 – 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 – 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?. They announced their breakup on May 15, 2017.|
|21||January 2 – March 13, 2017||Nick Viall||Vanessa Grimaldi||Raven Gates||Yes||No||Viall and Grimaldi announced their breakup on August 25, 2017.|
|22||January 1 – March 6, 2018||Arie Luyendyk Jr.||Becca Kufrin||Lauren Burnham||Yes||No[d]||During 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. Luyendyk and Burnham got engaged during the After the Final Rose special and were married on January 12, 2019. They have three children together - daughter, Alessi Ren (born May 29, 2019), and twins Lux Jacob and Senna James (born June 11, 2021).|
|23||January 7 – March 12, 2019||Colton Underwood||Cassie Randolph||Hannah Godwin||No||No||Randolph initially broke up with Underwood at the final three. Underwood then broke up with the remaining two women and asked Randolph to give him a second chance, and she agreed. They announced their breakup on May 29, 2020. In September 2020, Randolph filed a restraining order against Underwood, alleging that he stalked her and put a tracking device on her car. The restraining order was later dropped after the two reached a private agreement. Underwood came out as gay on April 14, 2021.|
|24||January 6 – March 10, 2020||Peter Weber||Hannah Ann Sluss||Madison Prewett||Yes||No||During the live After the Final Rose special, it was revealed that Weber and Sluss had ended their engagement in January 2020. Although Weber and runner-up Prewett admitted to still having feelings for each other, they ultimately decided not to pursue a relationship. On May 2, 2020, Weber revealed that he was dating Kelley Flanagan, who finished in fifth place on his season. Weber and Flanagan announced their breakup on December 31, 2020. They got back together in August 2022, but broke up again in April 2023.|
|25||January 4 – March 15, 2021||Matt James||Rachael Kirkconnell||Michelle Young||No||Yes||James did not propose to Kirkconnell. Instead they began a relationship, but on the After the Final Rose special, it was confirmed that James had ended the relationship after Kirkconnell's racially insensitive past came to light. On April 28, 2021, James confirmed that he and Kirkconnell were back together. They are still together as of December 2023.|
|26||January 3 – March 15, 2022||Clayton Echard||Susie Evans||Gabby Windey||No||No||Although the season ended with Evans rejecting Echard, it was revealed on the live After the Final Rose special that they had since gotten back together. They announced their breakup on September 23, 2022.|
|27||January 23 – March 27, 2023||Zach Shallcross||Kaity Biggar||Gabi Elnicki||Yes||Yes||Shallcross and Biggar moved in together in Austin, Texas in July 2023, and are still engaged as of December 2023.|
|28||January 22, 2024||Joey Graziadei|
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Premiered||Ended||TV season||Avg. Viewers
|After the Final Rose|
|1||Monday 9:00 pm||March 25, 2002||9.90||April 25, 2002||18.20||—||2001–02||10.7||44|
|2||Wednesday 9:00 pm||September 25, 2002||11.00||November 20, 2002||25.90||—||2002–03||13.93[i]||20|
|3||March 24, 2003||10.20||May 21, 2003||15.10[ii]||9.30[ii]|
|4||September 24, 2003||12.55||November 20, 2003||18.62||9.30[iii]||2003–04||12.53[i]||23|
|5||April 7, 2004||11.08||May 26, 2004||13.07||7.50|
|6||September 22, 2004||8.20||November 24, 2004||10.00||10.20||2004–05||8.53[i]||62|
|7||Monday 9:00 pm||March 28, 2005||8.23||May 16, 2005||9.27|
|8||Monday 10:00 pm[iv]||January 9, 2006||6.24||February 27, 2006||11.53||—||2005–06||9.3||53|
|9||Monday 9:00 pm||October 2, 2006||7.53||November 27, 2006||9.85||—||2006–07||8.5||61|
|10||Monday 9:30 pm[v]||April 2, 2007||9.86||May 22, 2007||12.67||8.00[iii]||10.3||41|
|11||Monday 10:00 pm[vi]||September 24, 2007||9.23||November 20, 2007||11.22||12.30[iii]||2007–08||9.72||49|
|12||Monday 10:00 pm[vii]||March 17, 2008||8.58||May 12, 2008||8.85||—||7.90||80|
|13||Monday 8:00 pm||January 5, 2009||8.74||March 3, 2009||15.48||17.47||2008–09||11.53||24|
|14||January 4, 2010||9.54||March 1, 2010||15.15||13.91||2009–10||12.22||23|
|15||January 3, 2011||9.04||March 14, 2011||13.86||13.96||2010–11||10.79||35|
|16||January 2, 2012||7.78||March 12, 2012||9.23||9.87||2011–12||8.85||49|
|17||January 7, 2013||6.92||March 11, 2013||10.42||10.81||2012–13||9.48||41|
|18||January 6, 2014||8.65||March 10, 2014||10.10||10.97||2013–14||9.59||32|
|19||January 5, 2015||7.76||March 9, 2015||9.68||9.68||2014–15||9.68||46|
|20||January 4, 2016||7.55||March 14, 2016||9.58||9.24||2015–16||9.53||41|
|21||January 2, 2017||6.62||March 13, 2017||8.40||7.85||2016–17||9.00||33|
|22||January 1, 2018||5.48||March 6, 2018||7.94||7.77[iii]||2017–18||7.92||47|
|23||January 7, 2019||5.13||March 12, 2019||8.12||8.21[iii]||2018–19|
|24||January 6, 2020||6.07||March 10, 2020||7.70||8.49[iii]||2019–20|
|25||January 4, 2021||5.23||March 15, 2021||6.07||5.64||2020–21||6.46||37|
|26||January 3, 2022||3.54||March 15, 2022||4.57||4.73[iii]||2021–22||TBA||TBA|
|27||January 23, 2023||2.96||March 27, 2023||3.40||—||2022–23||TBA||TBA|
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 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 had a 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, a producer of The Bachelor sued Steve Carbone, the 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 are current contestants. Despite the first two lawsuits in 2012 being settled out of court, a further lawsuit was presented against Carbone in 2017.
Further information: The Bachelor and race
The franchise has long been criticized for its lack of ethnic and cultural diversity, eventually prompting petitions and threats of boycott from the franchise's only black lead at the time, Rachel Lindsay. In June 2020, the show cast Matt James as its first black male lead for season 25. James was initially cast for Clare Crawley's season of Bachelorette, which was delayed due to COVID−19. In June 2021, it was announced that long-time host Chris Harrison was stepping down permanently after widespread criticism of comments he had made which excused the past behavior of a cast member who had been accused of racism, saying he was not the "woke police". Harrison acknowledged, "By excusing historical racism, I defended it."
The show has been criticized for stigmatizing virginity, thus reflecting the patriarchal masculinity stereotypes.
The program's success has led to the creation of various spin-off series;
The novelty of the show makes it a ripe target for parody.
The show was parodied in S1E5 of the Comedy Central show Nathan For You. Ben Stiller produced a web spoof of the series titled Burning Love.
In 2013, ABC's late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! has parodied the series as The Baby Bachelor, a sketch where the titular role is given to host Jimmy Kimmel's three-year-old nephew Wesley. Later episodes featured follow-up sketches with similar parodies of The Bachelorette and 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.
On June 1, 2015, Lifetime began airing Unreal, a scripted drama about a producer who works on Everlasting, a fictional reality series similar to The Bachelor. It is based on Sarah Gertrude Shapiro's short film Sequin Raze and her experience as a field producer on The Bachelor.
The series was parodied in the third season of the reality series RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars as "The Bitchelor", where a titular challenge featured the drag performers portraying contestants on a Bachelor-like show with Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman playing the bachelor.
We need our fair share of villains every season. And now we're very careful in our casting...to develop characters that the audience is going to root for and root against
"We are very careful in our casting to develop characters that the audience is going to root for and root against." Fleiss admits that his show has less to do with "reality" than it does making good television. Which is all fine and good... if a few moments later he hadn't claimed that the whole premise was romance and the search for love.
A private conversation between Courtney and a show producer went public. During Chris' temporary hiatus, one of the show's producers went over to comfort Courtney, who was clearly very distraught after being attacked by numerous ladies. I was sitting backstage with a group of other journalists, watching the taping on a remote monitor. While Chris was gone, the camera and microphones were left on on-stage, and so the press was accidentally privy to the intimate conversation. Courtney complained she felt like a deer in the headlights, and said she'd expected at least one of the women to come to her defense. "But I didn't play with my hair once. Aren't you proud?" she added. "Yes," the producer replied. "That was good." The staffer tried to distract Courtney by talking to her about the kind of cigarettes she smokes – American Spirits, apparently – and the model soon began to feel better. "I'm not feeling very emotional anymore," she said, her tears dispersing. "You made me feel better. I appreciate it." Then, she began to worry about coming off as too cold: "I don't know if I can show that emotion again," she fretted. "You have to," the producer said. "This is for you. [Possible spoiler alert!] This is for you and Ben."
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