Season 11 of The Bachelorette? is upon us (premiering on Monday, May 18), and it has a twist that requires a lot of math. There are two Bachelorettes, Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe, from Season 19 of The Bachelor; they will meet 25 guys who will choose one of them, and then she, in turn, will choose 19 bachelors to continue on. Here’s one more number for you to know: 10.
Why 10? That’s the number of behind-the-scene secrets we’ve dug up that you have to know before you start watching.
Here we go…
1. There’s a “tear wrangler”
The tears are real, but it is someone’s job to encourage them. There is actually a producer whose job it is to get the girls to cry during those sit-down interviews. I call that person the “tear wrangler” (not their official title) and part of their job is to encourage crying. In the first years of the show a good friend of mine did that job, and they were so good at it they’ve gone on to other reality shows to do the same. Let’s face it, tears make drama and drama makes good TV.
2. The contestant you hate is chosen during casting
When I worked on the VH1 show Confessions Of A Teen Idol, one of the teen idols confessed to me off camera that they were brought on to be disagreeable and to start fights, which is a common casting trope for The Bachelorette, too (Bentley Williams, Season 7, anyone?). A reality show producer, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed to me that without those “hateable characters,” no real conflict exists, and “it’s the conflict that gets the ratings. Plus, you have to have a villain.”
3. A “crazy” contestant will be cast
Image: The Odyssey Online
If you ask anyone at ABC they will tell you that every contestant has to meet with a therapist and have a psych evaluation. It’s required before you can be a contestant on The Bachelorette. So, how do some slip through the cracks? According to the show’s psychologist, Dr. Catherine Selden, they screen for how well a contestant will do under the stressful and emotional situations the show creates. But that means they don’t screen for those who walk the wacky vs. mentally ill line. That’s saved for casting and they do a great job at it!
4. You can’t eat on the dates
There is nothing worse for the sound guys than chewing noises, and there is nothing worse for viewers than watching people talk with food in their mouths. So, it’s common practice on The Bachelorette to eat before you go on camera, then show up on your date and look as pretty as the fake food.
5. The storylines are written weeks ahead of time
I worked on two major reality shows and on both we storyboarded the show months ahead. That is where we sit and write out each episode, weeks before they air, what will happen. While producers may not know who will be the final four, they have mapped out a scene like the one in Bali where “Chris tells X it’s over,” where X ended up being (a surprised) Kaitlyn.
6. A team of writers comes up with those wacky ideas for the contestants when they get out of the limo
Image: ABC/Rick Rowell
I’m sure you’ve heard that this season a contestant will strip down to give both Bachelorettes a lap dance, while another will show up in a cupcake car. Trust me, that wasn’t his idea.
7. Fears are great TV
If you say during your audition, “I hate snakes,” just know that written into your story line will be a scene where you visit a snake pit.
8. How do they get so many hot girls/guys on the show?
They send casting people out in search of them. Producers go where hot young people are and they recruit them. While they do hold auditions and take submitted tapes, they also have a team that goes out to find you. One blogger recounts her audition at a Maryland casino. They can see anywhere from 100-150 people a night, just like those first Idol auditions.
9. You’d better be rich to be on the show
Who in this economy can take months off work with no repercussions? Rich people. In his book For The Right Reasons Season 17 Bachelor, Sean Lowe, talks about the strict wardrobe requirements when he was a contestant on Season 8 when The Bachelorette was Emily Maynard. He says there was no wardrobe budget, the clothing was all his and he was expected to have 14 different rose ceremony suits. Also, he needed a great wardrobe since there is a strict dress code.
10. There’s way more kissing than you can imagine
You thought Juan Pablo did a lot of kissing? I’m here to tell you he did even more. This has been confirmed by countless contestants over the years of the show, but I spoke with an editor who told me that a first kiss looks awkward, so the “first kiss” you see may actually be the 10th.
Surprised by any of this? Know any other secrets? Let us know in the comments!
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