‘Bachelor’ Alums Reveal How Real the Show Is: ‘I Surrendered Myself to the Producers’

Producers might not print out scripts for the stars of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise to follow, but they’re definitely pulling some strings on each season’s ~journey~ to find love. In fact, these behind-the-scenes masterminds sometimes even coach contestants on what to say and do.

So, is the Bachelor franchise scripted? The short answer is no, but producers have tried and true tactics they use to make sure they pull out as much emotion from the season as possible.

“The end game … is getting a contestant to open up. To do that, the contestant must feel like they can trust you,” former producer Ben Hatta said in Amy Kaufman’s tell-all book, Bachelor Nation.

The extent of involvement from the Bachelor producers varies depending on who you ask. Show alums Brooks Forester, Sharleen Joynt and Chris Bukowski all claimed they repeated on-camera what the producers told them to say during confessional interviews due to caving under pressure.

“I was saying lines verbatim from producers because I’d been sitting in a stupid room for an hour and just wanted to go,” Chris, who has appeared in the franchise five times, told author Amy. “You would say something you totally didn’t even believe or want to say, but they just keep asking you and asking you and asking you — just like you’re being interrogated.”

Season 16 Bachelorette contestant Bennett Jordan reflected on his experience during an interview with Life & Style in July 2021. He admitted “manipulation is a strong word” to describe what happens behind the scenes.

“I think that it’s a reality television show production. If anyone knows anything about that — or if they’ve ever thought about it — I think people know that reality TV is not real life,” the New Yorker said while promoting his partnership with Del Toro. “I think producers’ jobs are to produce entertainment and storylines. So, I wouldn’t use the word manipulation by any means … I think you have to take everything with a grain of salt, use your brain, hopefully, show your best colors and realize what you’re getting into.”

He added, “I’m [was] not kidding when I had the emotional intelligence book and brought that with me. Those are the things to remember and pound and ingrain into your head when you were going on a reality show.”

Read on to see what past contestants have revealed about just how real the show is.