How real are the shows in the Bachelor franchise? An ex-producer tells all

This is very UnREAL.
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It’s no secret that reality shows get tricky with editing to turn up the drama.

Comments are taken out of context and whole conversations are sometimes left out to craft an unforgettable, keep-em-coming-back-for-more narrative to ensure viewers are engaged. And we’ll be darned if they don’t do it well!

But how much of what goes on in The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor In Paradise is real and what can they fake?

Ex-producer Steph* (name changed for privacy) spoke to Sea FM’s Fifi, Fev and Byron about her time working on Tim Robards’ 2013 season. Here’s what she had to say.

The 2019 Bachelor In Paradise contestants were recently revealed.

Are the contestants paid?

How do reality show stars up and leave their lives for a three-month stint on TV?

Steph reveals they receive an allowance to cover general life costs only.

“[They don’t get paid] a lot — enough to cover their rent, their phone bills,” she says. “They’re certainly not making a profit from it. Well not on my series, anyway.”

Do producers tell the Bachelor/Bachelorette what to do?

How does that backstabbing contestant no-one – not even the Bachie – seems to like, make it to the finals?

While keeping them around surely makes the producers’ lives easier, Steph tells they can’t force the Bachelor/Bachelorette into giving contestants roses.

“[He’s] not told, but he’s guided towards decisions,” she explains.

“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.”

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Is the show scripted?

Steph lets the radio team in on a clever producer trick used to get contestants to say certain things but insists they are not fed lines.

“I’ll say, I’m going to ask a question, you repeat the question back in your answer,” she says, explaining the technique.

“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 …'”

She adds that contestants don’t have to say anything they’re not comfortable with, but adds fame-hungry participants know how to get the most air-time.

“The thing with people on reality shows nowadays is they’re quite savvy, so they want to be entertaining because that means more airtime,” Steph says.

“The smart ones will give us good stuff naturally.”

Does the Bachelor/Bachelorette come up with date ideas?

Ahh it’s the age-old question. Just when do they have time to plan these elaborate dates? The short answer is: they don’t!

However, Steph says the Bachelor has input into the dates.

“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.”

Confirmed! The Bachelor/Bachelorette doesn’t design the dates.

How much do the contestants drink?

In Australia, Bachelor contestants are limited to roughly two drinks per hour. Steph cites the sexual assault on one Big Brother season as the reason for this.

“That changed all the rules, you weren’t allowed to get blind after that,” she says.

“They threaten that someone could turn up on set at any time [to police the rule].”

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Do the contestants get to eat?

The answer to this one actually comes from Osher Günsberg himself.

“There’s plenty of meal breaks, and everyone eats,” he says. “But if you’ve ever watched MasterChef you’ll know that watching people chew isn’t excellent telly.”

Can contestants sleep with the Bachelor/Bachelorette?

Steph says the answer is a firm no, as there is a “duty of care” towards to stars.

“On overnight dates, there’s always a producer ‘c— blocking’ them, if you will,” Steph reveals. “They can chat privately, but not even second base.”

The rule, obviously, extends to relationships between cast and crew.

“We are threatened, basically, with death, if any of the crew members second glance or flirt with the girls,” she says.

“You want to get on to the next series, so it’s at your own peril if you make a move.”

So there you have it! That’s what really goes on behind-the-scenes of The Bachelor.

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