‘The Bachelor’: Are Those Emotional Interview Moments Real or Scripted?

Elyse Dehlbom on The Bachelor
Elyse Dehlbom on The Bachelor | ABC

After over 20 seasons there is still a mystery behind The Bachelor and how contestants continue to go on and pour their hearts out. That has led to some emotional interviews full of tears, anger, and even joy. But are the interviews real or scripted? Here is everything you need to know.

The interviews are real but contestants are given things like alcohol beforehand

Colton Underwood in The Bachelor
Colton Underwood in The Bachelor | ABC

When it’s time for contestants to sit down and talk about their experience, some producers go in with a specific goal. In order to get contestants to open up they give them a few things beforehand.

Lisa Levenson, who was an executive producer on the show, reportedly had a specific approach to getting emotional moments out of contestants according to the book, Bachelor Nation. “She was the most amazing interviewer I’ve ever seen,” Scott Jeffress, the show’s supervising producer, told Amy Kaufman. “If we needed tears, she would get them. First, she’d walk out there and just give them a big hug. Then she’d give them a shot of tequila. If they wanted a cigarette, they’d smoke a cigarette. Maybe one more shot of tequila.”

But the producer didn’t just offer the contestants things, she reportedly listened to them. “Then they’d start talking and Lisa would go, ‘Oh honey, I know, I know,’ and hug her again,” continued Jeffress. “And the girl just breaks. It happened hundreds of times.”

Other people who have worked on the show have talked about contestants having to be manipulated to get certain scenes.

Another former producer compared the job to a CIA interrogator

The Bachelor Cast
The Season 22 ‘Bachelor’ cast | ABC

Sarah Gertrude Shapiro was an associate producer on The Bachelor and went on to be the showrunner of UnREAL. She revealed what it was really like working on the dating show.

It’s sort of like being a CIA interrogator,” Shapiro told Cosmopolitan. “It’s this really weird skill set that’s not only manipulating people into performing how you need them to, it’s even just having an ear for syntax as people describe their experiences and editing in your head so you can build a first-person narration from people who aren’t narrators.”

She also answered the question on whether things are ever scripted. “We had a lot of standards and practices as to how to handle certain situations,” said Shapiro “and I truthfully don’t actually know how that’s changed or evolved. But I think [producers] still don’t hand people scripts.”

Former stars have called out the show for editing

Chris Harrison
Chris Harrison | The Bachelor Winter Games via Instagram

Although there isn’t a script, fans should probably still be skeptical while watching because of editing. The edit could be made because they want someone to be portrayed a certain way.

Sharleen Joynt who was on The Bachelor Season 18 told The Cut, “I was the classy opera singer. I didn’t know that’s what I was going to be, but watching it, I was like, Oh. I swear a lot, and they edited out almost every single swear word I said because it didn’t fit my persona.”

Joynt also noted that they might not be forced into what to say but they do make contestants talk in the present tense so they can use it in voice-overs and more.

So all of those tearful moments in interviews are real. However, things like alcohol and cigarettes have reportedly been used to get people to open up. The interviews are also edited to fit a certain narrative.

Read more: ‘The Bachelor’: Why Producers Reportedly Track Contestants’ Periods

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