20 Years of the Bachelor – What is Real and What is Fake?

After over twenty years of The Bachelor: What is Real? What is Fake? While the emotions are very real on “The Bachelor,” some of the scenes have been staged. Did you really think those interviews were actually filmed right in the middle of a romantic date or a vicious argument?  Of course not! Find out  what else is staged and what really goes on behind the scenes!

Olivia-@BachelorABC - 20 Years of The Bachelor: What is Real? What is Fake?


After watching The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise since the beginning, there are a few things that most fans have wondered about.  After scouring the internet and reading a variety of articles, both new and old, below are quite a few facts which have been gleaned concerning which parts of The Bachelor shows are real and which parts have been faked or “staged.”

Are the Contestants Themselves Fake or Sincerely Looking for Love?

Many people wonder how much of the show is faked.  The truth is that every season includes at least some phoniness, but it isn’t always the fault of the producers.  Sometimes, people have gone on the show after convincing the producers they are looking for love when, in truth, they may be looking for fame.

It can be hard to tell if a contestant is looking for love, or an opportunity to get a job with ABC. Olivia is a perfect example.  She gave up a job as the anchor woman on a local news show to appear on The Bachelor:

There have been contestants who used the opportunity to be on the show to display their song writing, guitar playing or other skills.  Some have catapulted themselves from The Bachelor to other shows in the franchise or related shows, such as The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, and Dancing with the Stars.  Others, like Melissa Rycroft, have found semi-permanent jobs with ABC by covering entertainment news stories.

Melissa Rycroft has done quite well for herself with ABC since appearing on The Bachelor.

Does this mean that these contestants were faking it when they first went on the show?  Not necessarily, although sometimes their actions make it appear that way.

Which Parts of the Show are Faked or Staged?

According to articles and observations about the show, as well as admissions by the producers, some parts of the show are “staged,” not faked.  For example, there are cameras all over The Bachelor mansion while they are filming.  In addition, the cast members are constantly followed around by producers and a camera crew.  This goes on for weeks, and the episodes do not go through their final editing until the producers know who the finalists will be, which contestants are the most interesting, and which person will end up with a proposal.  Only then to they edit all that film footage to create a series of two-hour television episodes (more like one hour and 45 minutes).

As a result of all that editing, the producers have the ability to focus on the incidents which are most likely to keep the viewers interested … the people who got drunk, were involved in arguments with each other, acted inappropriately or just seemed a little “off.”  While these incidents are not “faked,” they are carefully selected.

However, in order to get the effects they want, some aspects of the show are definitely “orchestrated” or, if you prefer, “faked.”  Below are some examples:

  • The Interviews with the Cast Members:  The interviews are usually “staged” after a date or an event has taken place.  The cast member will put on the same outfit they were wearing and be interviewed.  Then, the interview will be slipped into the scene, as though it took place at that very moment.

The interviews are staged later:

  • Leaving the Show:  Although we may see contestants walk out the door or be driven away, in truth, they often do not go very far.  It can take a little time for travel arrangements to be made and for the contestants to arrive back home.  However, the emotions they display on camera are very real.
  • The Fantasy Suites:  While fans use their own imaginations to decide what goes on in the fantasy suites, they might be quite disappointed.  In truth, it is not unusual for the couple to spend the time talking all night, because this is the only chance they have to talk off-camera during the entire show.
  • The Engagement Rings:  The engagement rings themselves are real and can cost up to $75,000.  However, they are not an immediate gift.  If the couple does not stay together for at least 2 years, they have to return the ring to the jeweler, Neil Lane.  If they decide to sell the ring after two years, they must give ABC written notice in advance.

If she wants to keep that ring, the couple needs to stay together for at least two years!

  • Filming for Hometown Dates: They do not always use the contestant’s actual home.  Sometimes the homes of affluent relatives are used, instead.
  • The Rose Ceremonies:  These events are carefully filmed and have been known to take up to 12 hours and end at 5 or 6 in the morning.  After plying the contestants with alcoholic beverages for hours, this could explain why some of them appear to be exhausted and/or intoxicated by the end of the episodes.  Speaking of rose ceremonies, the roses themselves are not real … real ones just don’t hold up long enough!

The roses look fresh, but they aren’t real!

  • Eating on the Dates:  The couples are not allowed to actually eat the food on their plates during the dinner dates.  This keeps the mics from picking up the sound of them eating and the camera from showing them talking with their mouths full of food.  They eat before they go out and then just look at the food during their dinner dates!

Which Parts of the Show are Real?

If some parts are faked, the producers insist that most of what viewers see is actually real.  While certain incidents may be emphasized, they actually did happen and were not planned.

The parts of the show that are quite real are:

  • The Dates:  The bachelor or bachelorette does not plan the dates.  That is done by the producers.  The bachelor will get to choose who to take on the date, often after suggestions are made by the producers, but he or she doesn’t always know what has been planned for the day.
  • The Emotions:  If someone wants to leave the show, they are required to tell the bachelor or bachelorette on camera so the emotions and reactions can be filmed.  What you see is quite real.  The emotions are also very real when fans watch contestants get irritated, angry or upset with each other.

The emotions are definitely real:

  • The Pay:  Contestants are not paid to be on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette … which can be extremely frustrating for those who spent their own money to build up their wardrobes.  On the other hand, the lucky Bachelor or Bachelorette is paid.  While the exact amount has not been revealed, it is believed to be over $100,000 … which makes it worthwhile for many of these young adults to put their current careers on hold.  Contestants who appear on Bachelor in Paradise are rumored to be paid between $7,000 and $15,000.  In addition, former contestants on the show are often paid to make public appearances or show up for events.  They can also make a little money from social media, books or magazine interviews.
  • Screening the Contestants:  While love may be blind, it is just smart for the network to screen the contestants before they are approved to appear on the show.  They must go through interviews, STD tests, a psychological evaluation and talk with a psychologist.  With some of the contestants, it might have been helpful for them to spend a little more time with a psychologist!
  • While contestants come in all shapes, sizes, hair colors and skin tones, the average female contestant is around 25-years-old and a size 6.  There are also restrictions on the colors and patterns of the clothing they can bring, so they look their best for the camera.

This is an example of what the “average” women on the show look like:

  • Being on the show does not mean there are servants hovering in the background to take care of the contestants.  The women get their hair and make-up done on the first night and the last night, if they are one of the final two.  The rest of the time, they do their own hair and make-up, pack and unpack their own luggage, keep their space picked up, and do their own cooking when they are in the mansion!  That’s keeping it real!
  • Speaking of packing and unpacking, the participants are required to bring enough clothing for seven weeks, including 14 rose ceremonies … just in case they make it that far.  They also need to pack for all types of weather and activities.  While doing all this, they are only allowed two suitcases!
  • To help the women out, producers give each of them a gift bag containing bikinis, jewelry, beauty products and other odds and ends of clothing when they move into the mansion.  Obviously, the producers want the women to look good and wear lots of bikinis on camera!
  • The Bachelor Mansion is located in Agoura Hills, CA and, when filming is not going on, a real, live family with children lives there!
  • The contestants spend most of their time with each other … not with the person they are “dating.”  In addition, they are not allowed to bring phones, music, magazines, or computers.  They are not provided with a television.  However, they are given plenty of alcoholic beverages.  With very little to do but lay around in their new bikinis and talk to each other, the producers know there will be at least a few interesting conversations, catty remarks, or moments of irritation and hurt feelings. On the other hand, sometimes the contestants even form close friendships.
  • According to an estimate by Ali Fedotowsky, the couple who ends up together after the show has only spent about 72 hours in total with each other.  Of course, this also depends on how many one-on-one dates they have had, etc.

Can People Really Find Love on a Reality Show?

Apparently, despite the fact that parts of the show are staged or manipulated, couples do manage to meet and fall in love on The Bachelor franchise television shows.

In early 2016, for example, there is a “Bachelor Baby Boom” with a number of former contestants becoming parents.

Sometimes, however, life does not turn out well for everyone.  There have also been Tragedies Affecting Bachelor Cast Members,” and several people who appeared on one of The Bachelor shows have died in the past few years.

Despite it all, fans continue to hope for the happy ending!


ABC’s The Bachelor and other shows in the franchise.  Articles on Buzzfeed, OKMagazine, TV Guide, fame 10, etc.

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