The Bachelor Franchise – How scripted are the love stories?

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Top: Matt James, Bachelor season 25 Bottom: Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams, the Bachelorette’s of season 16. Photos from ABC The Bachelor social media

Morgan McCoy, Sports Editor and Social Media Manager

The ABC hit reality show, “The Bachelor” has an average of 3 million viewers per week. This year, Matt James, the first Black bachelor on the show, brings in over 5 million viewers per week, according to Hollywoodreporter.com

Every year, viewers tune in for the drama and to see if the bachelor or bachelorette will find love in a fast-paced setting. 

South Sophomore Kathryn Cohen tunes in because “it’s a mindless show and is easy to watch.”  She said she spends an average of 2-3 hours a week watching Reality TV. 

“The Bachelor” first aired on March 25, 2002, and is currently airing its 25th season. There are also other shows in the Bachelor franchise which include: “The Bachelorette”, “Bachelor in Paradise”, and the newest show, “Listen to your Heart.” 

The real question about the Bachelor franchise is: do contestants really find true love?  The success rate of each show is definitely in question.

 Out of 24 seasons, there are only three couples still together. “I think they sometimes work. So I think it can work because everything happens for a reason but for some people I think the show is their happy ending and for some, it’s just the beginning of their journey,” said Wildcat Sophomore Laney Walden, who watches all the shows in “The Bachelor” franchise. 

In 2020, viewers were given a look at true love during the first season where there were two bachelorettes: Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams. 

Crawley’s season was short as she found her true love, Dale Moss, and left the show because she “didn’t need any more clarity,” according to what she said on the show.  However, it was recently announced that Clare Crawley and Dale Moss have ended their engagement 

After Crawley’s departure, Adams, a member of season 24 with bachelor Colton Underwood, stepped in to close the season and is now engaged to Zac Clark.

While many of the couples do not last, it is not uncommon for a past lead to date a different member from their season, usually one of their final cast members. 

Hannah Brown, Bachelorette season 15, ended up giving her final rose to Jed Wyatt. However, their engagement did not last long due to infidelity rumors. 

After calling off her engagement, Brown started to quarantine with runner-up Tyler Cameron, a fan favorite from her season, which caused dating speculation. Cameron is the current bachelor’s best friend. 

Dylan Barbour, “The Bachelorette,”  season 15, and “Bachelor in Paradise” season 6 alumni revealed many secrets about the show on Twitter. 

Barbour revealed that he thinks “Jed was not truly portrayed and was made out to be the villain” and mentioned that the cheating rumors did not actually happen. 

Many of his comments came as a shock to fans of the show, said Myah Noah, host of the Positively Enlightened podcast. 

The show’s ratings have kept it around year after year, there are some secrets viewers do not know, which adds to the drama and brings viewers in. 

“The producers definitely create drama,” said Barbour. He also mentioned, “Contestants are rewarded with screen time to start drama.”

He was eliminated during week 6 of Hannah Brown’s season and found his fiancé, Hannah Godwin on “Bachelor in Paradise” season 6. They are one of the only couples that remain from their season, along with Caelynn Miller-Keyes and Dean Unglert.

Godwin herself was a member of Colton’s season of the Bachelor.

According to BachelorInsider.com, the casting process also revealed how the producers impact the show. Each contestant is scientifically matched with the Bachelor or Bachelorette to see if they are a good fit. 

Luke Stone, “Bachelorette” season 15 cast member also revealed on the “Positively Enlightened” podcast, “We must follow a very strict contract of rules to follow until after filming is over for a little over a year.” 

Throughout filming, the contestants are not allowed to have access to any form of technology, to prevent spoilers.

Tracy Shapoff, a member of Colton’s season 24, revealed on the Positively Enlightened podcast that the producers are “casting for a variety of different spots, such as the “villains”, and who they think will be the favorite.” She also added that the producers “definitely make the show happen.”

While “The Bachelor” is Reality TV is it unclear how real the show actually is. WSHS Senior Mckhala Eckert is an avid watcher of The Bachelor. “I feel sometimes it’s scripted and there is so much drama compared to how ‘normal” people live their lives,” said Eckert. “We see how they live and use that to escape from our own reality.” 

However,  some of the show is real and the connection between the bachelor/bachelorette and the contestants grows throughout the season. “The producers definitely change things, manipulate conversations, and place clips together that aren’t a true representation of what actually happened,” said Shapoff on Positively Enlightened

While the show’s reality is definitely in question, viewers continue to tune in each week to see if the bachelor or bachelorette finds love. 

As Matt James season came to a close, he ended up not finding his wife during his time as the Bachelor. 

 The franchise announced the next bachelorettes, Katie Thurston, whose season will premier in June as well Michelle Young, whose season start has yet to be determined. 

 The cast for “Bachelor in Paradise”, has not yet been announced but will premier in August after being paused due to the pandemic. 

“I wouldn’t change the process or have it any other way. Being a part of the show was so much fun, I would definitely do it all over again if I could,” said Shapoff in her interview with Positively Enlightened.