11 Craziest Revelations from ‘Bachelor Nation’ Tell-All
The Bachelor may keep its production secrets close, but Amy Kaufman's Bachelor Nation (on sale now) tell-all puts all of its dirty laundry out to dry. Through interviews with past cast and crew, the Los Angeles Times reporter peels back the curtain on what really goes on behind those mansion doors — some of which confirms long-running rumors, some of which exposes even juicier reveals, and all of which is a fascinating look into how the social experiment turned reality TV goldmine actually gets made.
It does, also, essentially validate UnREAL in print; One producer even referred to their mechanized romanticism as "a panty dropper," Quinn's go-to catchphrase on the Lifetime satire.
Below, look through the book's 11 most shocking revelations.
According to Kaufman, producers are known to keep a record of when female contestants are menstruating so that they can schedule one-on-one interviews when they're most likely to be emotional and vulnerable. "So a girl's crying mid-interview about nothing, or being reactionary to things that are super small," producer Ben Hatta told her. "It helped the producers, because now you've got someone who is emotional—and all you want is emotion."
The early days of the Bachelor set are generally described as an adult frat house where hard-partying and late night-boozing were actively encouraged — so much so that crew members would often crash on set and sometimes, in the case of at least one openly gay producer, in the same rooms as the competing women. According to former production coordinator Brad Isenberg, franchise creator Mike Fleiss smoked so much weed during the show's early seasons that there was "smoke coming out of his [office] door."
There were also rumors of an affair between Fleiss and Lisa Levenson — a top producer who has since left, but is largely credited with shaping the show as it is today — both of whom were married at the time. Neither party have publicly addressed the accusations.
As much as viewers may went to believe Bachelor/ette leads whittle down their contestants based on feelings alone, producers do have a hand in deciding who's cut.
"We would say, 'We'd like you to keep this one because she's good for TV, and this other one we'd like you to get to know better,'" former Bachelor executive producer Scott Jeffrees told Kaufman. "When it got tough was when it got down to the final five or so. That's when there would be a little bit of back-and-forth. But they'd work with us."
Kaufman writes that Jeffrees kept a "wad of crisp $100 bills" on hand and promised cash incentives to whoever could deliver the biggest drama — the first to get tears, the first to get a steamy makeout, the first to catch a contestant puking on camera, and so on.
The absence of diversity has long been a point of contention for the Bachelor franchise, and though Fleiss told Entertainment Weekly in 2011 that people of color, “for whatever reason, [didn't] come forward," Jeffrees claimed they were simply "afraid of losing their audience."
It wasn't until a 2012 lawsuit, Kaufman says, that the issue "started to gain any real traction." The case was eventually dismissed, though it does seem to have had some residual impact. The Bachelorette selected its first black lead, then Dallas lawyer Rachel Lindsay, in 2017.
You know those little chats episodes often cut to between footage of dates, where contestants are all gathered together and gossiping about why they hate so-and-so or who they think will go home? Those are guided discussions organized by producers, and sometimes used as a bartering tool to get good dirt.
"If you talk s--t about Amy on the date, we'll turn on music and you guys can watch a movie or something," producer Michael Carroll recalled to Kaufman.
Bachelor dates may look expensive, but much of the time, the franchise isn't spending a dollar. Though they do technically have a budget of roughly $20,000 per date, the aim is to get everything for free through trade-outs — a comped bill in exchange for promotion. If a Bachelor staffer can't get the majority of a date provided for free, Kaufman writes, the idea is typically scrapped.
Clare Crawley famously told off Season 18 Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis, one of the franchise's most reviled leads, and in retrospect, it's clear why. The franchise vet, who recently got engaged on the Bachelor Winter Games reunion, told Kaufman that when she found herself in a rare moment of sans-camera alone time with Galavis on their final date, she took it as an opportunity to ask him how he was really feeling about the idea of proposing to her. His response? "I don't know. I liked f---ing you."
During lengthy one-on-one interviews — a process Kaufman equates to criminal interrogations — contestants have copped to repeating producer-crafted quotes word-for-word simply to get out of the room and go to bed.
"I was saying lines verbatim from producers because I'd been sitting in a stupid room for an hour and just wanted to go," said five-time Bach veteran Chris Bukowski. "You would say something you totally didn't even believe or want to say, but they just kept asking you and asking you and asking you — just like you're being interrogated."
In what producers have dubbed “Frankenbiting,” they re-cut sound bites so that they have a different meaning.
"With editing, everything is malleable," a producer who worked on the show for three seasons told Kaufman. "You can make it whatever you want. You think, 'Oh, she's going to say something bitchy and we'll use that.' No, no, no. You make whatever she does sound bitchy.'"
Bukowski, Sean Lowe, and Jesse Csincsack all had pre-proposal freakouts. Season 17 winner Catherine Giudici, to whom Lowe has been married for four years, told Kaufman the devout Bachelor showed up at her hotel room around midnight the night before he proposed to her to talk through his concerns about the role Christ would play in their marriage.
Csincsack said he was throwing up on his way to propose to Season 4 Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas (they split a few months later), while Bukowski recalled producer Elan Gale badgering him for weeks to propose to Elise Mosca, who he'd begun dating on Bachelor In Paradise. Bukowski hesitantly agreed, but backed out after feeling like he was "having a heart attack," explaining to Kaufman that he "couldn't stand" Mosca at that point.