For eighteen consecutive years, host Chris Harrison is the consistent face of the popular dating reality TV show The Bachelor and its spinoffs.
He had seen the ups and downs of romance, flirtations, marriages, loves, and even the fights through 24 seasons of the show. Not to mention, he hosted sixteen seasons of The Bachelorette, three seasons of Bachelor Pad, and soon to be ready for the seventh season of Bachelor in Paradise.
Nothing has shocked this well-known host to make it the most dramatic season ever.
During the Television Critics Association conference earlier this month, Harrison spoke to a small group of reporters during a promotional reception hosted by ABC. LRM Online was present in the conversation.
Harrison’s career started as a sports reporter for CBS affiliate KWTV in Oklahoma City. He briefly worked for TVG Network, a horse racing channel, and was the host of Designer’s Challenge on HGTV. In 2001, he hosted the short-lived game show Mall Masters on GSN.
To keep this interview spoiler-free, we’ve edited any questions about this current season of The Bachelor.
For more information on ABC’s The Bachelor, visit its official web site here.
ABC’s The Bachelor airs weekly Monday nights at 8/7c.
Read the interview below.
Question: What do you tell them once they are engaged, and they go out into the real world?
Chris Harrison: I would say, look at those and talk to those who have made it. My advice is that don’t let this change you, let it enhance your life. Their lives are going to change a little bit. All of a sudden, they have a million, 2 million, 3 million people following you on Instagram, and people know who they are. But, I always say, get back to your life. Let it enhance your experience.
Whether you’re Arie [Luyendyk] getting back to real estate, Peter got back to flying. Look at Ashley [Herbert] and JP [Rosenbaum], who went to New York, and now they’re living in Miami. And Trista [Rehn] and Ryan [Sutter] went on to their normal lives with Ryan back to being a fireman.
Take advantage of it. You can monetize this now. That’s the world we live in. But, it’s those that want to stop everything and move to Hollywood to take my job as an example. Typically, that doesn’t work out, because there’s a lot of people who’ve been working at this job for a long time.
It’s kind of like me. Look, I would love to play on the PGA tour, and I’m turning 50 soon. I could play on the senior tour, but so is Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. It’s not as easy as it looks.
Question: Do you think Hannah Brown should get another shot?
Chris Harrison: Anything can happen. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities. That’s a tough question. I don’t know. I’m not against it. She’s a great TV. But, I could also see people that would rail against it. I think it would be exciting and compelling. Does she deserve it? I don’t know if anyone deserves it.
Question: How much of your job is being a host? And how much of your job are you a counselor to the suitors or Peter when they things go berserk?
Chris Harrison: Eighteen years ago, it was probably 90-10 or 80-20, where I was the host. You have to earn those stripes. You have to earn respect. Finally, you have to earn trust. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve lived in my own life experiences, and they’ve seen me with the word has gotten around that I am someone to be trusted and to be leaned on. Never I’ve thrown anybody under the bus or backed the bus over to anybody who didn’t deserve it. So I’ve earned the spot of being the friend and the confidant. Now it’s probably 75-25 of being that friend in the confidant with 25% probably host and producing the show.
Question: Would you ever like to do Dancing with the Stars?
Chris Harrison: If Tom Bergeron leaves, sure!
Question: No, I mean dancing on the show.
Chris Harrison: No, I’ll host it. [Laughs] I have no desire. Honestly, I love this business, and I love what I do. I’ve always been a TV host and producer long before I even came to Los Angeles. If Bergeron ever wants to step aside, it’s a great live show; then I’ll do it. You’re not going to see me in dance sequence anytime soon outside of my house on a Saturday night, where things get weird. [Laughs]
Question: In Bachelor’s history, are there any people that you thought were perfect for each other but never got together?
Chris Harrison: Well, I think some people have gotten together that I would have thought stayed together. I hate to say it because I am good friends with him and his wife. Andrew Firestone, I thought he and Jen Schefft were going to make it. They didn’t. Andrew’s unbelievably happy with his beautiful wife, Ivana [Bozilovic].
There are those I thought are going to make it. I would go to Vegas and bet $1 million. Then there some that I think there’s no chance. Then they do. So you never know. That’s kind of the beautiful thing about the show, about relationships and love.
Question: Can you spot those who are in it just for a career advancement or want to get on TV?
Chris Harrison: Not really. I mean, maybe some are more open about it than others. In this day and age, everybody gets in it for the fun, the travel, the excitement. Look, your chances of ending up with Peter is less than one in 30 because only one could win. There’s no guarantee that that will even work. It’s not a significant percentage, but everyone’s willing to do it. A lot of people get into it, thinking, “Oh, this will be fun and exciting.” Frequently, they find that this is a lot more serious and a lot more sincere than they ever intended. That happens a lot.
Question: Have you learned anything about relationships from hosting the show? Such as the significance of chemistry to love at first sight?
Chris Harrison: I’ve learned a ton. Honestly, it’s from growing old with the show and going through personally. There’s an insatiable appetite for it. It’s the one currency that trades around the world. No matter where you are, everybody understands companionship.
Due to this, I think I’m a better listener, and I think I’m a better dad. I am much less of a black and white guy. Maybe when you’re younger, you’re a lot more like my way or the highway. Life’s not so black and white. There’s a big gray area. When you quote-unquote run into the villains, say like a Chad [Johnson], people are so quick to crush these people and go after him. My thing is, what makes him tick? Why is he the way he is? What is it in his life? What is it with his family and his mom, and that makes him want to blow relationships up?
Chad is one example, but I think I am a better therapist, listener, interrogator. You’ll have to ask my girlfriend if I’m more understanding of a human being. I think I am.
Question: Pretty soon, Trista and Ryan, one of their children, can be a contestant on the show.
Chris Harrison: My kids could do the show someday. That’s my exit strategy. My daughter is sixteen, so with another five or six years and then she can take over as host.
Question: Since you deal with plenty of suitors and contestants, what type of person does it take to want to be on this show?
Chris Harrison: That’s a great question. I’ll go a step further. A lot of times, people jump on the so-called villain or someone who’s not handling it well. People have to understand that it does take a particular type of person to do this show. This show is not right for everybody. It does get the better of people in this situation.
Back to your question, why would I not be the right contestant on the show? I’m not that kind of person. Despite all this, I do it for a living. This is my profession. I don’t live out loud. My private life’s pretty private. I don’t want to go make out in a hot tub with five cameras around. Sometimes this experience does get the best of people, and they get crushed by it. They’re not themselves, and they’ll need to leave, or they pull themselves out.
It’s not a type. I’ve seen all kinds of work, but for some people, it just doesn’t work for you. That’s fine. It’s not an indictment on anybody. Back in the day, Ryan’s a good example, and he got engaged to Trista. But, he probably would not have been a good bachelor. Ryan is not a live out loud, open kind of guy. He’s a pretty quiet human being. That’s not probably great exposing that side of his life. It does take a particular type of person.
Question: Are you interested in hosting the spinoff The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart, or do you need a break?
Chris Harrison: We’ll see. Yes, I do need a break. Will I get one? No. We’ll see about being a part of it.
I’ve known about the concept for at least six months since we’ve been talking about this. The idea for The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart–I love it. I’ve helped craft it and work on the concept. It’s all in our family and when we’re on the road traveling around. It is a Star is Born meets Bachelor in Paradise. Can we create that beautiful couple?
So will I be a part of it? We will see, and you’ll hear an announcement soon.
Question: Do you think Chad could ever redeem himself?
Chris Harrison: In America, people can always redeem themselves. Everybody can be redeemed. Well, maybe not everybody, to a certain degree. For the most part, America, we love to tear people down, and we love a comeback story.
As a part of the brilliance of the show is what they don’t get to see with the audience. It’s maybe one of the contestants might be getting a little too obsessive or not getting along with the other people. Every week, we tune in to see when is she or he going to find out. What’s a great example that you can think of?
I know exactly what you’re talking about it. We’ve always prided ourselves on walking that line. Should I go tell Peter that I heard something at the house or that I’ve seen something? Obviously, as producers, we do see and hear everything. We never cross that gray line of telling Peter what he hasn’t heard or seen for himself. Can I push or maybe guide them into having a conversation person? Yeah. That’s walking that fine line.
We’ve always kind of wanted them to experience this and expose things for themselves. As a viewer, it’s infuriating because you’re throwing stuff at your TV. Only thinking, “My God! Why do you not see this?” They don’t. They’re not privy to everything. That’s the fun of the show.
Question: How had the vetting process either improved or changed throughout the last three or four seasons?
Chris Harrison: It’s evolved dramatically. When we started in 2002, none of you guys used to have held these things called recorders. With the advent of social media, Tweets, and Instagram, there’s a lot more out there. There are more things exposed. We had to evolve and change along with society and everything that’s going on. In trying, we always do our best, and we do our due diligence. Sometimes we fall short, and then we learn to take steps to fix that. We’re going to fall short again. Like I would tell my kids when you make a mistake–you stand up, you own it, and then you tell people you’re going to get better.
Question: Did you ever wrote a book?
Chris Harrison: I did write a book.
Question: Could you talk about that book again?
Chris Harrison: Well, it was a fictional romance novel called the “The Perfect Letter.”
Question: Why don’t you write a book about all of this?
Chris Harrison: I should write a book about all this. When it’s time to burn Rome down, and I want to retire to my Island, I will have an unbelievable book. The only problem is I’m getting so old–I’m starting to forget things. I need to jot it down.
ABC’s The Bachelor airs weekly Monday nights at 8/7c.
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Source: LRM Online