‘The Bachelor’ Host Chris Harrison Had Some Truly Petty Things to Say About the Lifetime Series ‘UnReal’

The Bachelor has been hosted by none other than Chris Harrison since season 1. Harrison can get defensive when it comes to his contestants, and his series — which he also executive produces. That was never more clear than when The Bachelor host responded to the Lifetime series UnReal.

‘The Bachelor’ host reacted to the Lifetime series ‘UnReal’ season 1

The Bachelor host Chris Harrison
The Bachelor host Chris Harrison at AOL Studios on Feb. 11, 2016 | Esther Horvath/Getty Images

After UnReal premiered on Lifetime in 2015, some fans of The Bachelor began to look at the show differently. The scripted series presented a fictionalized behind-the-scenes look at a Bachelor-esque reality show (called Everlasting).

On UnReal, the producers go to harmful and extreme lengths to get their contestants to say and do the things they want on camera. All the more disturbing, one of the creators of UnReal, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, actually worked on The Bachelor. Fans wondered — and worried — how many of the dramatic scenes on UnReal were inspired by Shapiro’s real-life experiences.

However, Harrison wasn’t convinced.

As Variety reported in 2015, he had some choice words for UnReal at the time. Asked about the difference between the two shows, Harrison blasted: “Really, the main difference that I’ve seen is that people watch The Bachelor.”

He also denied the Lifetime series’ basis in reality.

“It’s complete fiction,” The Bachelor host said. Harrison continued to mercilessly drag the show:

As much as they would love to jump on our coattails — they were begging for us to talk about it and for people to write about it — at the end of the day, no one is watching. I mean, absolutely nobody is watching that show. Why? It is terrible. It is really terrible.

Harrison also distinguished the Lifetime series from parodies on shows like Saturday Night Live — which is “part of the vernacular.” The Bachelor star sees the SNL sketches as “a sign of respect.”

“The way that UnReal took it, it wasn’t a sign of respect,” Harrison explained. “They were trying to take it another direction, but it doesn’t work that way.”

‘UnReal’ creator responds to Harrison’s comments

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As Us Weekly reported, Shapiro — “who worked as an assistant to a producer on The Bachelor from 2002 to 2004″ — shared her thoughts on Harrison’s comments at Paley Center for Media’s Evening with UnReal. She mainly remained positive in response to The Bachelor host — if a bit tongue-in-cheek.

“We’re glad he saw it,” Shapiro she said. “We’re glad he saw it.”

However, the story doesn’t end there.

Was ‘UnReal’ Season 2 poking fun at ‘The Bachelor’ host?

Slate argued that the Lifetime show itself responded to Harrison’s comments, in its own way.

On UnReal, actor Brennan Elliott played the role of Harrison on The Bachelor — as the host of the fictional Everlasting. Between season 1 and 2, Slate argues, the character turned from one of lighthearted jokiness to one of ridicule.

“In the first season, the host was a figure of fun, an expensive haircut and a sharp suit with nothing much between them. But in the second, he’s a punching bag,” the publication noted.

In one episode of UnReal Season 2, Graham is late coming out of makeup.

UnREAL cast
Shiri Appleby, creator/producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, and Constance Zimmer attend Lifetime and Us Weekly’s premiere party for UnReal on May 20, 2015 | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

“What is he, getting a chimpanzee face transplant?” Rachel asks. She follows that up with: “If he isn’t on his mark in 15 seconds, I am going to come in there and I am gonna grab him by the balls and I am gonna put him on his mark.”

The rest of the Everlasting crew begin joking about the host is “spray-tanning his balls.” Quinn later refers to the character as “our moron.”

While The Bachelor and The Bachelorette obviously win the day in ratings, UnReal is one of the best shows Lifetime ever put out — especially in scripted TV. However, depending on how many of the episode plot lines you believe are based on real-life experience — it may cast your Bachelor viewing in a different light.