This exclusive Chris Harrison Interview for The Bachelor Season 20 was full of laughs, dishes and advice for my #ABCTVEvent coverage. Post sponsored by Disney. All dramatic opinions are my own
Best Dating Advice from The Bachelor Host Chris Harrison | A Dramatic Interview
This guy could write a novel on drama. Chris Harrison, the host of The Bachelor, has seen enough drama to last a few lifetimes. Sitting with him, talking through 20 seasons of one of the most popular reality shows on TV today, Chris definitely offers quite a bit of expertise on dating, discovering one’s self and true love…and an insider’s scoop on The Bachelor Show, of course. So in the most dramatic interview I have ever conducted, I bring you the Best Dating Advice from The Bachelor Host Chris Harrison. Join me over mimosas as we celebrate the 20th season The Bachelor on ABC.
He’s handsome. He’s charming. But don’t let him fool you with that Rose Ceremony. He’s no novice. After 20 seasons, Chris Harrison has basically figured you out the moment you step onto the show. Having seen quite a bit of dating on The Bachelor, the ultimate dating reality show, Chris is a guru on dating advice. And that shocked me. As I sat with him and discussed the success of the show for now 20 seasons, it’s was obvious that so much of what he was saying could be applied to life. And not just flowery words, Chris had quite a bit to say on the deep stuff in what I summarize as the 11 Best Dating Advice Tips.
You Can’t Fake Your Way Through This
This always happens. There’s a point in the season when everybody just gets gutted. Not to be related to alcoholism or some kind of addiction. You know there is that bottom that you reach. Everybody has a different bottom when you go through something like that and inevitably, every Bachelor and Bachelorette gets kind of strung out. And that’s one of the great things about how we produce this show and this process that people probably outside the show don’t understand is it really does strip you down naked and then you start new, and you start to build. You can’t fake your way through this. Whether you’re one of the 25, or 28 this season, or if the guy or girl himself, you can’t fake your way through it, you just can’t. The first, maybe the second night. But you will be found out.
Eventually, you show up, your real self, and that is kind of the duty of this show and you know, we yell at our TV screens and, “Oh my God, why, get rid of that person? Don’t you see what’s going on?” Well first of all, they don’t. They don’t get to see everything we do. But eventually they do get found out. You get shown for who you are. Kudos to the producers and the process that we created that kind of exposes that.
There’s No Catch
And honestly there shouldn’t be when it comes to dating. If there’s a catch, then you aren’t being 100% real.
I think the wonderful thing about The Bachelor is I think that’s why we can all empathize. It’s why you can relate to what’s going on, and it’s why the franchise I think, has spanned 15 years and now 20 Seasons of just The Bachelor not to mention The Bachelorette because it’s a very simple concept really to think of the show. It’s not, to go Seinfeld on you, but it’s not based on anything. There’s no catch.
You’re Going to Have to Figure It Out
Ultimately, you can get dating advice from other people, but in life you’re just going to have to go through the motions yourself.
We started [this show] 15 years ago. And it was this crazy concept and reality was very new, very edgy. Survivor had just come on the air, and then we were next. And I remember running into Jeff Probst at an event and I said, “What is it?” I was a sportscaster and I knew how to host but this was very different. There was no template, there was no playbook for this is how you host a reality show.
Jeff said “You’re going to have to figure it out. I had to figure it out on Survivor. Your thing is gonna be so different. You’re just gonna have to find your space.” Early on I was a bit of just a talking head and I almost did have a script per se. I didn’t really think too much out of the box. I was just trying to keep my job honestly at the time. I was scared to death, my first network show, and we picked up with six one-hour episodes. That was it. That was the original concept. No Bachelorette. That was never intended to happen. This is just kind of a one-time deal that we thought we would do.
For this season there will be at least ten two-hour episodes. Maybe a three-hour episode somewhere and two specials. So at least 23-24 hours of television will be produced. We used to six. So it’s stunning when you think of how much we produce. And now I can’t even fathom doing a one-hour episode.
They’re Gonna Talk
It’s all about communication….right?
We just show you guys because it’s going to get out. You know, our national security secrets get out. You don’t think [that] 28 Twitter-crazed kids on The Bachelor are gonna talk? Of course, they’re gonna talk. They can’t eat breakfast without talking. They get up, go to the bathroom and have to show people. So when they recorded The Bachelor, of course they’re going to talk. These people exist to talk. They take pictures of everything; they do. So you have to embrace that. That is our show and to fight that would be insane.
Women Will Make The Right Choice
Ever wondered Chris Harrison’s thoughts on The Bachlorette show too? He’s more Team Woman than one might expect.
Then Trista came along and that was a huge controversial idea. How dare we put a woman in charge and have The Bachelorette? It was really crazy back then. Now it seems so benign and commonplace, but back then, it was a wild idea. And Trista is just a perfect storm, great guys, wonderful woman, and I think that legitimized our franchise. That was our kind of tipping point of, “Oh My Gosh, this is for real.” Ryan and Trista are so incredible. That was the fairy tale, and that kind of set the stage for everything that happened after. It really did.
Trista was a good example of that first lesson. You have Charlie who everybody says on paper, is the guy, right? I mean he has the looks the money, just that ‘it’ factor. You’re crazy to not end up with a guy like Charlie. But then there’s Ryan and he’s the right guy because he’s the guy inside your heart, inside your head. He’s the guy you can’t stop thinking about at night and when you wake up in the morning. So that was the first time when you saw this real dilemma of, “What do I do?” And I think a lot of times, it’s interesting.
The women will make that right choice. Guys often don’t. They’re not smart animals. You can quote that, that’s true, if you haven’t already figured that out. But when she chose Ryan, I think everyone in America was like “Thank God.”
With Age Comes Wisdom
I think obviously with age comes wisdom and obviously, this job, is giving me an amazing amount of experience. And if I’m like, “that guy you’re dating is a complete jack a**.” You’re immediately gonna — cause that’s judgment on you — so you’re gonna get defensive. You’re gonna start defending him. You’re gonna run into him even more and now I’ve kind of ruined any chance I had of getting in between you guys.
People Love Redemption
It’s not all movies and fluff. It’s about real people too.
It’s very easy for all of us to stand on our soapbox and you know, “D*** you.” I’ve seen who yells the loudest are people that are the unhappiest. But it was really interesting to watch that happen, but as much as we love to tear people down, people love a comeback story. People love redemption.
We’ve All Made Mistakes
He caught me.
We’re looking for a good story, we really are. That’s the show. That’s the genius. You don’t know what you’re going to get, and that’s why you bring in this woman from New York and San Francisco, and Iowa, and Alabama. And we don’t dress them. And we don’t do their hair and makeup because we want you to dress how you look, and you to dress how you look. We dress the Bachelor and Bachelorette, but we don’t dress the people that are on the show. The first night, we will help them, hair and makeup and some powder, whatever, but only the first night cause it’s such a crazy long night. But other than that, you’re completely 100% left to your own devices because this is the dynamic of what it takes to find love. How do you get ready?
You get the people that are there for their 15 minutes or whatever, that’s inevitable. It’s just this generation. But the great thing is our show’s never been predicated on the fact that there’s 28 people there all 100% sincere.
Dating is not perfect, and if our show was, it would be insincere and it wouldn’t work. The reason our show is [successful] is because it can fail. It has its issues, just like the dating process, it’s not perfect. And that’s what we all, again that’s what we all empathize with. We’ve all been dumped. We’ve all fallen for the wrong guy or girl. We’ve all made mistakes. But we all want that thing at the end.
You Will Get Exposed
Ouch. And then ouch.
This show really accelerates finding that personality. You will get exposed. And it’s not just because Ben’s doing it, it’s because he has a lot of help. We are really good at what we do now. We’re very good. And I tell everybody at the beginning off camera, I say, “Look, there’s someone in this room, has a boyfriend or girlfriend back home, you’re doing something shady, you’re doing, don’t, stop. Leave now or just stop what you’re doing because guess what’s gonna happen? You’re gonna be found out and this is gonna end up with me and you on a driveway somewhere having a really awkward conversation.”
Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve
So what should we expect from Season 20? It’s actually more down to earth than I thought.
This season is interesting because the drama is more Ben induced and caused because of who he is and how he carries himself throughout the show, which is extraordinarily well, and he’s very open. The best way to go through with this is to really just wear your heart on your sleeve and give yourself up to the process.
And that is so much easier said than done because you walk into, it would be like me walking into all of you guys and go, “OK, here’s my life. Take me at my most vulnerable moments.” And that’s scary to do. But the show only really works if it you do it that way. And because he really just gave himself and threw himself into the fire, the drama will follow like that happens. We don’t have to produce that. And I know people think, “Oh, you cast it crazy and you kept this girl.” You don’t have to. If I lock these doors right now, I promise you, half this room are crazy.
Ben did a good job of really giving [in to the process] and the women had to follow. The women had to really give it up too and that was a very vulnerable space. So it’s a dramatic season, but I think in a very different way than what we’re gonna be used to.
In the end, what people really really deep down yearn for is….
Ben was an easy choice for us. It’s always nice when you have options, and we did this season, but it was a bit of a no brainer. He’s just such a genuine sweet humble good guy but as you see, he also has something that as a producer, is nice because there is that fragility and there’s that vulnerable side to him where he does have some issues to deal with and some things to get over. And I know, it’s hard to believe with a guy that looks like that has issues.
Ben’s 26 years old. He’s of this generation and so the college age kids love our show because again, it’s relevant to their generation. But we’ve remained interested in the show. So we have had to grow with you guys. You guys demand more and you have expected more out of television. You push the envelope.
Our main goal is to end up with a couple, a happy couple and so if you mess with Ben too much and say keep girls or make certain things happen, it might be to the detriment of the ultimate goal. But do we produce the show? Of course, it’s not a documentary. We don’t just follow those people around. We know there are certain issues that we will push the envelope, and we’ll push those situations. And that is because we have this finite amount of time to make this happen. And so we do accelerate everything. It’s like you put this dating process over a Bunsen burner and it boils. And it boils quickly.
It’s a great season. I think we hit a home run with this guy. He’s a good guy, the women are fantastic. When you have a guy that is a catch like Ben, obviously the level of interest and the level of competition brings us along with the count and so from night one it was on. When the women came in and saw what they were after, and it was on. So it’s good a season with some familiar faces. Ben [has] trouble [believing] that he can be loved and finding love. And it’s an arcing theme you’ll see throughout the season that he deals with.
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Definitely a fun interview chock full of wisdom, Chris Harrison definitely knows what he’s talking about when it comes to dating. Celebrating his 20th season on The Bachelor, Chris is excited to see how social media, the changing times and the new twists keep fans coming back year after year. And hey, he wasn’t bad to get a picture with either, complete with our own Rose Ceremony. 🙂 The Bachelor Season 20 airs tonight, Monday January 4th and 8/7 c on ABC. Join the drama, the fun and the search for love.