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 produced and directed by Mike Fleiss and is filmed by camera operator Jesse Fleiss. Supervising producer (2013–14) is Elan Gale. The After The Final Rose and other reunion specials are produced at Victory Studios in Glendale.[1]


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 7590 sqft, six-bedroom, nine-bath home in Agoura Hills. 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.[2] 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, Korea to name just a few. The Agoura Hills, California mansion was not used during a few seasons including season 7 that was filmed New York City, where Charlie O'Connell, who had appeared in Sliders with his brother Jerry O'Connell, lived, Paris, France for season 8; Rome, Italy for season 9, where Lorenzo Borghese lived who is half-Italian.

The elimination processEdit

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 women 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," 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 home towns 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 is 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 Occupation Winner Runner(s)-up Proposal Relationship status
1 March 25–April 25, 2002 Alex Michel Management consultant Amanda Marsh Trista Rehn No Michel did not propose to Marsh, but instead they entered into a relationship. Marsh and Michel broke up after several months. Marsh is now married to her childhood friend, Jay Caldwell, and they have a daughter named Chloe.[3][4]
2 September 25–November 20, 2002 Aaron Buerge Vice president of a chain of family-owned banks Helene Eksterowicz Brooke Smith Yes Buerge and Eksterowicz broke up after several weeks.[5] Buerge became engaged to Angye McIntosh and married in 2009.[6] They have a daughter named Aven.[7] In 2013, Eksterowicz married senior technology consultant Andrew Goodman.[8][9]
3 March 24–May 21, 2003 Andrew Firestone Sales manager of Firestone Family estates Jen Schefft Kirsten Buschbacher Yes Schefft and Firestone broke up after several months but remained friends.[10] He is now married to actress Ivana Bozilovic and they have three children together.[11][12][13][14]
4 September 24–November 20, 2003 Bob Guiney Creator of a mortgage company Estella Gardinier Kelly Jo Kuharski 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.[15] Guiney later married soap opera star Rebecca Budig, but they split after five years of marriage.[16]
5 April 7–May 26, 2004 Jesse Palmer Canadian American college football player Jessica Bowlin Tara Huckeby[17] No Palmer did not propose to Bowlin. They continued to date but broke up several weeks later.[18]
6 September 22–November 24, 2004 Byron Velvick Pro bass fisherman Mary Delgado Tanya Michel Yes 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.[19]
7 March 28–May 16, 2005 Charlie O'Connell Actor Sarah Brice Krisily Kennedy No O'Connell chose Brice to be the winner but did not propose to her and instead began a relationship. They broke up in September 2007,[20] but got back together in 2008.[21] However, they called it quits again in 2010.[22]
8 January 9–February 27, 2006 Travis Lane Stork Medical doctor Sarah Stone Moana Dixon No Stork did not propose to Stone. Instead, they began a relationship. They broke up shortly after the show aired.[23] Stork is now featured on The Doctors and is now married to pediatrician Charlotte Brown.[24]
9 October 2–November 27, 2006 Lorenzo Borghese Cosmetics entrepreneur Jennifer Wilson Sadie Murray No Borghese did not propose to Wilson. They entered into a relationship, and broke up in January 2007.[25]
10 April 2–May 22, 2007 Andrew Baldwin Naval officer Tessa Horst Bevin Nicole Powers Yes Horst and Baldwin called off their engagement one month after the finale,[26] but continued their relationship. They broke off the relationship in September 2007.
11 September 24–November 20, 2007 Brad Womack Bar owner None DeAnna Pappas and Jenni Croft No Womack chose Croft and Pappas as the two finalists, but they were both rejected in the season's finale.[27]
12 March 17–May 12, 2008 Matt Grant Global financier Shayne Lamas Chelsea Wanstrath Yes Grant and Lamas broke up in July 2008 as they felt their lives were going in different directions, but stated they would remain close friends.[28] Lamas is now married to Internet personality Nik Richie.
13 January 5–March 2, 2009 Jason Mesnick Account executive Melissa Rycroft Molly Malaney Yes On the season's finale, Mesnick had called off the engagement with Rycroft, and resumed a relationship with runner-up Malaney. Rycroft is now married to Tye Strickland and have two children together.[29][30] Mesnick would later propose to Malaney in New Zealand, which she accepted and were married on February 27, 2010, in California.[31] Mesnick and Malaney's wedding aired on national television on March 8, 2010.[32] The couple welcomed their first child, Riley Anne.[33]
14 January 4–March 1, 2010 Jake Pavelka Commercial pilot Vienna Girardi Tenley Molzahn Yes Pavelka and Girardi ended their relationship in June 2010.[34] They were reunited in the second season of Bachelor Pad.[35]
15 January 3–March 14, 2011 Brad Womack[36] See above Emily Maynard Chantal O'Brien Yes 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 but remained friends.[37]
16 January 2–March 12, 2012 Ben Flajnik[38] Winemaker Courtney Robertson Lindzi Cox Yes 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.[39]
17 January 7–March 11, 2013[40] Sean Lowe[41] Insurance agent Catherine Giudici Lindsay Yenter Yes Lowe and Giudici married on January 26, 2014.[42] On December 8, 2015, the Lowes announced via Instagram that they are expecting their first child.[43]
18 January 6–March 10, 2014 Juan Pablo Galavis[44] Former professional soccer player Nikki Ferrell Clare Crawley 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 after months of fighting.[45] Ferrell is now engaged to longtime friend Tyler Vanloo.[46]
19 January 5–March 9, 2015 Chris Soules[47] Farmer Whitney Bischoff Becca Tilley Yes Though the season ended with Soules proposing to Bischoff, the couple announced that they had called off the engagement on May 28, 2015.[48]
20 January 4, 2016[49] Ben Higgins[50] Software salesperson


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 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 love in dating-themed eliminations.

The weddings of Trista Rehn (the first Bachelorette), Jason Mesnick (13th Bachelor), Ashley Hebert (seventh 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.

Questions of authenticityEdit

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."[51]

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.[52] "'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."[53]

On March 15, 2010, creator 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."[54] Fleiss has come under fire for admitting that The Bachelor has less to do with reality than it does making good television.[55]

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.[56]

The audience reactions for the The Women Tell All episode are pre-recorded and inserted into the show later.[57]


In December 2011, the producer of The Bachelor sued Steve Carbone, a Bronx-born California-raised internet enthusiast from Frisco, proprietor of the website, 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.[58][59]


The novelty of the show makes it a ripe target for parody.

Ben Stiller produced a web spoof of the series entitled Burning Love.[60]

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel also created a parody called "The Baby Bachelor", in which the titular role is given to his 3-year-old nephew Wesley.

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, an obvious nod to The Bachelor.


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