Ex-Bachelor producer spills show’s juiciest secrets
EVER wondered how much of The Bachelor is actually real? For instance, is the Bachelor or Bachelorette told by producers who to send home each episode, and who to keep around?
More importantly, does anyone actually get it on during filming of the reality dating show?
Wonder no more. An ex-Bachelor producer by the name of Steph, who worked on the debut Tim Robards season of the reality TV franchise back in 2013, appeared as a guest on Fox FM's Fifi, Fev and Byron this morning, and she was certainly in a chatty mood.
It appears five years of distance is enough time to reveal many of the show's closely held secrets: this TV insider spoke frankly about how exactly producers manipulate their on-screen charges to get what they want - and how they bend the rules regarding drinking and sex.
Here's all the dirt Steph told the radio trio:
How long does that first night cocktail party take to film?
We actually filmed that over two nights. If you look closely, about halfway through the cocktail party they're looking a bit blurry-eyed, and then when it comes to the rose ceremony they're fresh as a daisy.
Are there rules around drinking?
Yes, they're allowed to drink. The rules on Australian TV are very different to American TV - it's only two drinks per hour … roughly. Do you remember years ago, Big Brother, that [turkey slap] incident? That changed all the rules, you weren't allowed to get blind after that. They threaten that someone could turn up on set at any time [to police the rule], but it's loosely two drinks per hour.
How much input do producers have on who gets eliminated?
[The Bachelor]'s not told, but he's guided towards decisions. I think the Bachelor keeps certain people in because it takes the weight off his shoulders. He knows for the show to do well it's got to be interesting, but it's hard for him to be interesting the whole time. If he keeps the crazies in, that's a great show. Let's keep it entertaining, let's work together.
So the Bach is encouraged to keep lively characters around?
He's being encouraged, and he's seeing the merit in it, because then he doesn't have to be this outrageous entertaining character the whole time; she can carry a bit of the workload.
We had a problem on Tim's season because he fell madly in love with Anna quite quickly. "Who do you want to go on a date with?" "Anna." "OK, and who next?" "Anna." He had to work with us a little bit.
Does sex happen on the show - between cast members, or between cast and crew?
We are threatened, basically, with death, if any of the crew members second glance or flirt with the girls. You want to get on to the next series, so it's at your own peril if you make a move.
In saying that, one of the girls is now married to one of the cameramen! They have a baby as well. That didn't happen until after the show, when the cameraman thought 'I can make my move now.' One of the producers did end up dating one of the girls after the show too.
So that does happen, but sex definitely does not happen on the show because there's a duty of care. On overnight dates, there's always a producer 'cock blocking' them, if you will. They can chat privately, but not even second base.
How much do contestants get paid?
It's not a lot - enough to cover their rent, their phone bills … they're certainly not making a profit from it. Well not on my series, anyway.
Do you just search casting agencies to get a bunch of actors?
They're not actors. I was involved in casting and you discover who's putting on an act pretty quickly. The people who are cranky or bitchy - that tends to be what they're like in real life. They go through a massive casting process, so if they're going to crack, they'll crack early on.
Is it all scripted - are they told what to say?
They're not fed lines, but there are standard producer tricks. I'll say, I'm going to ask a question, you repeat the question back in your answer. I'll say 'How did you feel when Richie brutally rejected you at dinner?' and they have to [say] 'When Richie brutally rejected me at dinner, I felt …' They can always say they don't want to say it, and that's fine. But the thing with people on reality shows nowadays is they're quite savvy, so they want to be entertaining because that means more airtime. The smart ones will give us good stuff naturally.
How does the US Bachelor differ from the local version?
In the US they have a massive budget, so it's one producer per contestant. When the contestant gets kicked off, the producer loses their job, so you might be doing some sneaky things to keep your contestant around. It's not as brutal in Australia.
Does the Bachelor really design the dates himself?
He has input. They take a while to organise - you don't get a horse on a beach or charter a plane easily! You start planning them, and then bring him in: 'Are you cool with this date? Can you even ride a horse?' You don't want a Bachelor on a beach looking like an idiot. We were lucky with Tim because he was awesome, but I know there have been Bachelors who've straight up said 'I'm not going to do that', and may or may not have had tantrums.
She confirmed it was second season Bachelor Blake Garvey who "rejected a lot of dates." "Can't ride a horse - there's a scoop!"
Fox FM's Fifi, Fev and Byron airs on 101.9 6-9am weekdays. Bachelor in Paradise screens 7:30pm Sunday on Ten.