The same day that fans watched the worst Bachelor in history propose to his runner-up like five minutes after dumping his winner, The Bachelor expert and Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman dropped Bachelor Nation ($15.00, Amazon), a tell-all book spilling secrets from the dating show. Because as crazy as the show is on-screen, there’s often even more drama going on behind it. After all, we’ve seen UnREAL — and we know how much it has in common with The Bachelor. And the producers don’t want to give you a glimpse behind the curtain. In fact, they’re so against revealing the shows’ inner-workings that they even banned Amy from covering official Bachelor franchise events. But she hasn’t let that stop her from talking to former cast and crew members, and now she’s spilling all the tea. Check out the juiciest Bachelor secrets the writer revealed.
The Bachelor producers track contestants’ menstrual cycles.
Yep, according to Amy, producers make notes about when contestants are on their periods. The whole show is about showing the highs and lows of falling in love on camera — and knowing when a woman is menstruating means they know when she might be especially vulnerable. Emotions are everything on-screen, and the producers are experts at manipulating them, but this is a whole new level. “So a girl’s now crying, mid-interview, about nothing, or being reactionary to things that are super-small,” former producer Ben Hatta told the author. “It helped the producers, because now you’ve got someone who is emotional — and all you want is emotion.”
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Producers can win cash bonuses for drama.
Yep, just like on UnREAL. Because again, if you don’t have drama, why should people tune in to watch the show? And the best way to get that when the girls aren’t naturally clashing is with a little outside help from a third party. According to Amy, former executive producer Scott Jeffress “kept a wad of crisp $100 bills in his pocket” for any of his crew who could wrangle contestants into creating especially good TV. “The first producer to get tears? A hundred bucks… Catch a chick puking on-camera? A hundred bucks!” she writes. And they know exactly what buttons to push to get a contestant to react, too. The author participated in a role-playing scenario where she acted as a suitor to see how exactly producers get the sound bite they’re looking for. “The power of suggestion is real, especially when someone is berating you and making you feel like a disappointment,” she wrote.
If there isn’t any real drama, the producers can fake it with “frankenbiting.”
“Frankenbiting” is when that crew of a reality show cuts and pastes different sound bites to make up a sentence or statement that a cast member never actually said — or, at least, didn’t say quite like that. It’s a technique that a lot of shows use, but Amy writes that it was heavily used on The Bachelor and its spin-offs, at least in the earlier seasons. “There’s no allegiance to what happened to reality,” an editor told the author. “It’s like I’m handed a big bucket of LEGOs and think, ‘What do I want to build today?'”
Producers have a say in who stays and who goes.
It’s been long suspected that certain contestants only make it as far as they do because they’re good TV. And, for the most part, that’s true. The producers don’t actually decide who gets sent home, but they do have some serious sway over the show’s lead. Scott admitted, “We would say, ‘We’d like you to keep this one because she’s good for TV, and this other one we’d like you to get to know better.” Good TV means a better season for the Bachelor or Bachelorette — and since we all know that nobody is there for purely “the right reasons” (aka they want in on that Instagram spon-con after the show), it’s no surprise that the stars play along. Plus, producers can make you look as much like a hero or a villain as they want, so we can imagine nobody wants to be on their bad side.
The producers pressure contestants for on-screen proposals.
Though there are a few Bachelor and Bachelorette winners from over the years who never actually had that magic, on-screen engagement, the stars are still plenty pressured to go through with it. On DeAnna Pappas’ season, Jesse Csincsak got down on one knee — but it wasn’t because he was ready for it. “I started throwing up,” he told Amy. “I was puking on the sidewalk walking down to get the ring and coming back.” Things are even worse on Bachelor in Paradise where contestants have known each other for even shorter amounts of time. Chris Bukowski, who was on season 8 of The Bachelorette, said producer Elan Gale pushed him to propose so that he could rehab his public image. “You’ve got to do it. This is going to fix your image so much. America’s going to fall in love with you guys,” Elan allegedly told Chris. (For the record, he didn’t go for it. Seems like a good choice.)
(Photo Credit: Giphy)
That lack of Bachelor Nation diversity was no accident.
It was only last year that we got our first black Bachelorette, and before that, there had been comparatively few contestants of color. The show is slowly becoming more diverse, but it’s always been a problem that the franchise has had. However, producers apparently didn’t see it as a problem at all. For them, it was purposeful. While creator Mike Fleiss has said it was an issue of black contestants not applying to be on the show, former producers tell different stories. Scott shared the crew was “afraid of losing their audience” if the show became too diverse. Considering all the “Is America ready for a black Bachelorette?” think pieces that were written before Rachel Lindsay‘s season, we see where they were coming from. But, still. Yikes. That’s just not a good look for a show all about celebrating love.
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