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Chris Harrison: Michael Stagliano just doesn't love Rachel Truehart or want a relationship with her


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/07/2012 

Bachelor Pad's third season is coming to a close, as its finale episode will air Monday night on ABC and end with either Rachel Truehart and partner Nick Peterson or Chris Bukowski and partner Sarah Newlon being crowned the winning couple.

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Chris was known for instigating a lot of drama in the house and playing some of the girls this season, while Rachel had to dump her best friend Jaclyn Swartz in order to get ahead in the competition and potentially win the $250,000 grand prize. Based on the preview for next week's finale and what Bachelor Pad host Chris Harrison has hinted at in the media, the highly-anticipated show is expected to be both "dramatic" and "disturbing."

During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Chris Harrison discussed Bachelor Pad's current season and also touched upon Emily Maynard's edition of The Bachelorette and the upcoming season of The Bachelor. He talked to Reality TV World about what viewers can expect to see in Bachelor Pad's finale and the dynamic of some of the show's relationships. To read what he had to say, click here.

Below are some additional highlights from ABC's transcript of the rest of Chris' call -- including who's being considered for the next The Bachelor star and when viewers can expect an announcement, which contestant's behavior on the show he called "atrocious," and what's going to be a "volatile" situation that plays on during Bachelor Pad's third-season finale.

At the end of Monday's episode, you said that something in next week's finale was "disturbing," and I was wondering if you could elaborate at all on that. 

Chris Harrison: Not too much without kind of giving away what they're serving, but yes, it's a little different.  And it's funny that I've heard several times that that is the worst.  It kind of resonated with fans and the people on Twitter and everything. 

They're like, "Oh my gosh, he said 'dramatic' before, but he's never said the word 'disturbing.'"  So it's funny how kind of something has caught everyone's attention. But it is a -- it's very different. 

And we're trying to think like, "Okay, how do we say this is very different than just the garden variety drama that we bring, you know, every season and every week, year in and year out?"  And it's a very different event that happens in particular that we've never seen before, so that was the -- we had to bring something new to the game. 

I was wondering when the announcement on the next Bachelor was going to be made.  Like is there a timeframe for that? 

Chris Harrison: That's a very good question.  I actually had dinner with Mike Fleiss, as you guys know, the creator of the show, last night.  And we were just tackling the same discussion, and it's still -- it is still not done 100% percent. 

Obviously, we've narrowed it down considerably to our kind of finalist, but this -- as far as the business goes, this goes really high up the food chain, including, Paul Lee, the president of ABC.

So it's just vetting these guys out and then taking it up to all the bosses and making sure that everyone signs off on this and there's an agreement, but we're very close, as we have to be -- as we kind of start production fairly soon.  So I would say the decision should be imminent in any day now.

So it's not like you're waiting for Dancing with the Stars to start off or anything right?  

Chris Harrison: No, oh no.  Well, I mean, I don't think so.  Again, I don't know because it is well above my pay grade to decide how we would announce it if we would do it on Dancing or something like that.

But I think honestly, it actually -- no, I know for a fact that's not what we're waiting for because I think I will know before then.  They will tell me long before the -- we would say, "We'll announce it on Dancing with the Stars."  But I know the decision has actually not been made.  And where we'll announce it or how, I'm not sure.  That's up to the marketing gurus. 

So what I wanted to ask you is the success rate of Bachelor Pad's couples definitely helps the success rate of couples from the whole Bachelor franchise.  Do you think that Emily Maynard and Jef Holm will last after everything that's happened to them? 

Chris Harrison: Not sure what that first part had to do with that second part, but just dealing, I guess, with Emily and Jef is what your questions is.  Will they last forever?  I don't know. 

They are very much in love and doing great and despite what, I guess, people have printed and written -- although, I can't tell you exactly what was printed and written.  I don't really read much of that stuff.  But they're doing great, they're doing really good, and I've talked to them a bit and see them from to time and they're doing awesome.   

So they're just trying to get back to normal life and work on their relationship? 

Chris Harrison: They already have.  I mean, he's out there in Charlotte.  And I mean they're well, well into it and doing fantastic, yes.  And I wish them the best.  They're two good people. 

And I think, again, the million dollar question -- the million dollar question with any couple -- whether it's your mom and dad, or aunt or uncle, or friend and girlfriend, is the couple going to last?  Who the heck knows?  Are they going to try and really put it all out there?  Absolutely, they are.  And so if -- I wish them the best.  I hope everyone else does. 

So I have a question, how was this season different from the two past Bachelor Pad seasons? 

Chris Harrison: You know, first of all, kind of with The Bachelor and Bachelorette, everything just depend on the cast.  Those personalities, everybody brings their history, their baggage, and that creates the dynamic in the show. 

You know, like Emily's season was nothing like [Ali Fedotowsky]'s season.  And when you look at Bachelor Pad, it's kind of the same way.  I mean, these people are just so different, and of course, the fans, you know, having complete kind of strangers in the house change that dynamic. 

But this season, there was no -- which is funny because we ended up with so much drama as far as couples go.  To start, these people really didn't know each other that well.  It wasn't this tight knit group. 

I think having like [Tony Pieper] and [Chris Bukowski], and who am I missing from the season?  [Kalon McMahon].  They had new guys that -- they weren't part of the fraternity yet.  They were on the show, but they didn't -- [they hadn't been to] these reunions.  They weren't all buddy-buddy. 

And I think [Sarah Newlon] coming from [a season] quite some time ago wasn't as close to some of these girls.  So I just don't think it was that tight knit group that you've had in the past where everybody walks in and really knew each other so well.  And you didn't have those built-in couples so quickly. 

And I think last season, you had Michelle Money and [Graham Bunn], and you had [Kiptyn Locke] and [Tenley Molzhan], and you had the [Blake Julian] and that whole love triangle with [Michael Stagliano] and [Holly Durst] and all that.  So it was just a completely different dynamic that took awhile to build.  It took a couple of weeks.  But then when it did, it really took off. 

And I think it also lent itself to having those -- like the love triangle with Chris, who kind of like partnered up with [Blakeley Shea] but then he kind of went over and used [Jamie Otis], and then he's like, "No, no, I want Sarah," and so he kind of lent himself to, I think, more drama and more intrigue because they didn't know each other so well.

Were you surprised that Chris was such a player?  

Chris Harrison: Very... 

From seeing him in The Bachelorette?

Chris Harrison: Yes.  And you know what, he talked -- we talked a lot about that coming up in the finale.  Obviously, he had to own up to it, and as a host, of course, you have to ask that question.  But I'll give a little hint of something he talks about and that his family was disappointed in him.

Because I asked him, like, just about his behavior because it really was atrocious.  But he has heard from his family, his friends, and like everybody they were really disappointed in him.  And I just hope it's one of those things that something, the situation and the experience got the better of him, and he learned from it. 

And he's a young guy, he's a very young man.  But I was blown away.  After the guy I saw with Emily, and then this guy coming in and just plowing through the house, I was like, "Wow," like, "What are you doing?"  And at some point, I just want to stop, like, "You realize this is on television.  Like, you see all these cameras, you see the lights, like these are not hidden cameras, we're right here, we see these happening."

On The Bachelor and Bachelorette, you seem more involved obviously with The Bachelor and Bachelorette.  Were you involved with a lot of the drama?  Like, did you know it was going on in the house?  You seem more aware of what's going on in Bachelor and Bachelorette than Bachelor Pad

Chris Harrison: Actually, I'm a lot more aware in Bachelor Pad just because I have to be.  Bachelor Pad, I'm around and involved a lot more because there's a game element, and I have to run some. 

I'm kind of The Bachelor-Bachelorette host on the show.  But then at Bachelor Pad, I'm the host, the referee, and then I'm also that Bachelor-Bachelorette host where I come in and kind of work the romance and that dynamic as well in the relationships. 

And so Bachelor Pad, I wear a lot of different hats and walk a very fine line of running this game and this game show and keeping the integrity of the game, but at the same time talking to [Ed Swiderski] about [Jaclyn Swartz], and talking to [Lindzi Cox] and Kalon, and pushing those buttons as well. 

So I'm actually a lot more involved, I'm around a lot more, I watch a lot more, and I'm in on a lot more meetings and all that with Bachelor Pad just because you have to be to stay on top of it, because there's just a lot more.

I mean, again, this is kind of inside baseball, but there's a lot more freewheeling and adlibbing going on, on my behalf during the games, during some of the talks before rose ceremonies.  And so I really have to know my stuff going in to those situations. 

You spoke about how [Nick Peterson] was kind of like the surprise in the final four.  What do you think about the other three that made it to the end? 

Chris Harrison: You know, I think it would have been easy for Rachel and Michael to make it.  You know, she was on the -- she was part of the biggest alliance.  Whether it was Ed or Jaclyn, Michael and Rachel, like, they were the strong, bigger alliance in the house. 

Nick was kind of quietly part of Chris and like Erica Rose, that kind of smaller alliance.  He was kind of part of one, but not really.  They just -- again, everyone just kind of used Nick.  He kind of went back and forth, kind of like Kalon and Lindzi did.  You know, it kind of was whoever suited them that week, then people would come to them and use them as a vote. 

And so Chris and Sarah, you know, whether you like Chris or not, whether you like Sarah or not, they played the game well.  They won a lot of competitions.  They really fought hard.  They gamed really well.  I mean, if you look at that decision to bring Erica into the voting booth that night, that was a stroke of genius. 

And they got Mike Stagliano, the king of the house and the king of Bachelor Pad, voted off and took the guy down.  And so whether you like his personality and what he did morally, you got to look at the fact he played a damn good game. 

He really did and he fought hard, and so did Sarah.  So it doesn't surprise me.  Those three are there because Rachel floated with the stronger alliance, and Chris and Sarah played well.  Nick, who knows how he got there, but he's there.

In the teaser for next week's episode, we see how Rachel kind of had like this meltdown backstage or was obviously very visibly upset.  Can you give us any inside into what was behind that?  Did it have to do with Michael?  Or is there anything you can tell us leading up to that moment? 

Chris Harrison: You know, it's probably half and half.  Rachel had a -- it was a tough one.  First of all, facing Michael, it was very difficult for her.  And the way we do it, it's kind of tough because you have this kind of talk show.  But at the beginning, I can't have the final four out there because there's game play involved.

And again, there's -- again, I talked about wearing different hats.  In the beginning, I'm Bachelor-Bachelorette host where I'm kind of doing the tell all and we're dealing with all these situations. 

But we can't really do that with the final four because there' s also a quarter of a million dollars in play.  And so there's rules that we have to follow as far as the game goes.  And so the final four aren't out there in the beginning. And so, once they come out and we start dealing with these relationships, it is very emotional. 

It is tough on Rachel, and Michael, by the way.  Because it's like we can' t -- it's hard to get mad at somebody and I know we all will maybe get mad at Michael a little bit, but the bottom line is, he doesn't love Rachel. He doesn't want a relationship with Rachel. 

And so how do you delicately tell somebody that?  And he tried.  He tries to in the show, but it just doesn't go over well.  And you look at this beautiful girl, Rachel, and she looks phenomenal in this black dress when she comes out on the show and it's easy to sympathize and empathize with her. 

We've all been there, and so it was very emotional. But the game itself also is something that Rachel is involved in, so she deals with Michael and then she has to deal with the show.  It's a very volatile situation. 

Who do you think was the most unexpected couple that came out of Bachelor Pad this season? 

Chris Harrison: Well, I mean, Blakeley and Tony, easily the most unexpected couple ... 

What do you think about Blakeley and Tony being engaged?  

Chris Harrison: I love it.  I mean, I love the fact that they're together as a couple.  And the way they met on Bachelor Pad is -- it was this -- I don't know, I don't want to say odd, but I guess -- just in the beginning, I would say if you lined everybody up and pick somebody for Blakeley or pick somebody for Tony, you wouldn't pick them. 

You wouldn't put them together.  It's just an interesting pairing.  But the more they kind of started coming together on the show as partners, you can just see it really made sense.  She's a vulnerable, little girl and she kind of wants that guy who's going to be just overly honest and protective and trustworthy and dependent. 

And that's him, and he's that dad, he's the caretaker, and he's taking care of her.  They just quickly fell in love.  It happened really fast on the show, but it was just a beautiful thing to watch. 

And we showed a clip -- I think it was on Good Morning America this morning that they're still together and they really care about each other.  So it was really neat.  It was fun to watch, and I'm glad -- I'm really happy.  I like them both. 

I've gotten to know Blakeley a little bit because we saw -- we spent some time in Charlotte because that's where she lives and that's where we shot Emily's season.  I mean, she's a good girl.  She's a really good girl and he is a good guy.  I think they're -- I think they're a fantastic couple. 

And I was trying to think who else.  I mean, obviously, Lindzi and Kalon were a shock as well.  I mean, I just think anybody who could see America's sweetheart Lindzi ending up with Kalon, who was kind of the villain from last season.  That was a pretty big surprise. 

Do you think that he'll kind of like change Lindzi a little bit, because he's so... 

Chris Harrison: I hope not.

... "the villain?" 

Chris Harrison: Yes, I mean, I hope not.  I hope he doesn't hurt her in the end.  I hope they can -- I hope they make it.  And I like Kalon.  I mean, did he say some silly things?  Yes. 

But look, I think he's in on a joke.  I think he kind of likes to poke the bear and stir things up, so to speak.  And so Lindzi brings out, I think, a good side in him and I think vice versa.  That's another one.  You would have never predicted it, but it makes sense and they're good together. 

I know that there's no final decision as to who will be the next Bachelor.  But can you at least reveal who's in the running? 

Chris Harrison: I mean I can't -- well, first of all, you have the guys from the last season's show that are definitely in the running.  We've been talking about [Arie Luyendyk Jr.], we've been talking about [Sean Lowe].  I know there was the talk about Ryan Lochte. 

But there's also people in the mix that -- I always say this and people, like, "Oh, it's not true," but there's also people in the mix that nobody has met before.  We're always casting for the show, and there's always a wide net that we throw out there.  There's never just one or two people.  You know, like [Roberto Martinez] was in the mix.

Was he ever the Bachelor?  I guess someone said it was a done deal, it's never -- like, first of all, we'd never sign anybody as a done deal six months ahead of the show like somebody reported.  But he was in the mix for awhile... And again, it goes pretty high up the food chain from our producers to Mike Fleiss, the creator of the show, to the people, the executives at ABC. 

I mean, really, there's a lot of people that kind of have their hands in this pie.  And so there's still several people in the mix, and some, you don't even know that aren't even a part of this franchise. 

You mentioned Ryan Lochte.  So is it true that he was being or has been considered at least a little? 

Chris Harrison: Yes, oh, yes.  Like when crazy rumors like that get started or whatever, like we'll always go, when we ran into each other like, "Well, what do you think?  What do you think?" "Well, he's pretty," you know -- but in the end, what we have to look at is we can't just go on public emotion or popularity or whatever. 

In the end, what we have to do is kind of stick to what's made this franchise great.  And in the end, you need a guy who is -- or a girl, when it's The Bachelorette -- who's extremely sincere, open, honest, and really wants this to work.  And I don't know how far it got with him.  I don't even know if there was a meeting. 

And I know somebody reported that he was asking for three quarters of a million dollars [to do the show] or something like that.  I sincerely doubt -- I haven't asked, but I sincerely doubt it ever got that far to where he would even able to demand any money.  I don't think it ever got that serious. 

But there's always a ton of people in the mix, and I know that the decision's close but yes, we still have a pretty large group that's up to this gig.  It might be Michael Strahan. He's not doing anything, is he? 

So you said Roberto was in the running, does that mean he's out or is he still being considered? 

Chris Harrison: You know, I don't where -- honestly, I don't know where it stands.  I don't know if he's still in the running or not.  I don't know.  He might still be one of the candidates they're considering.  At this point, it's in the hands of the higher ups where we kind of all put our two cents in, and the producers will kind of run it by me and ask what I think and so we have -- they have our pool. 

It's not like people get weeded out.  It's not like it's a tournament where you kind of start tossing people aside.  You have this pool and then at the end, they'll make the decision.  And it's a tough decision because you got to think like, again, who's sincere, who's the best for the show, what's the network looking for -- I mean, why? 

It's bizarre how much goes into it.  But it's never like one of those snap decisions where it's like, "Hey, there's a good guy, let's make him the Bachelor," or "He's a big, big celebrity this summer, let's do that."  But we do, we listen to the fans and we -- that's why we take such a long time as we have plenty of time to make our decision. 

We're not in a rush.  And so we listen to people on Twitter, on Facebook and people that write in.  And public opinion definitely plays a part in it, but it can't play -- it can't make the decisions for you.  Because in the end, we also know what works on television and we know what has worked for over a decade now.  And so we take into consideration what our fans want, but at the same time, we also know what works.

Back to Lindzi and Kalon, there are reports that they're hanging out together just for now.  And then once they go back to where they're from, Kalon doesn't really plan on doing the long-distance thing.  But I mean, when we spoke to him last week in a conference call, he seemed pretty sure that they were at least going to give it a shot.  I mean, what's your feeling on them? 

Chris Harrison: I think they will.  I think they are.  I think, what, she lives in Seattle and he's in Houston, which isn't... But again, I know that they don't live in the same city and I know that's hard.  I know they want to make a go of it and they're going to try and all that.

Again, one of those questions with Emily and Jef or whatever, like, "Will it work?"  Like, who knows?  But do they have something very cool and something very real while they were on the show?  Yes.  And you'll see next week that they still have something that seems real and still seems good.

And you can look at the smile on their face and he seems happy.  And again, they'll make a go of it and I hope it works for them.  But long-distance relationships are tough, and if they can pull it off then good on them. 

So this season, you guys added fans to Bachelor Pad, are you guys going to do that next year and will you be adding more? 

Chris Harrison: I don't know.  And again, that was something we just kind of did last minute and thought it was a great idea, so I don't know.  It worked.  We loved it.  But we're very -- I don't know -- we rarely keep things the same, especially when it comes to the summer show on Bachelor Pad.

Because who knows what we'll do?  And if we'll change things up or if we come up with a great cast without fans, and maybe we just keep it the way it is.  So I don't know.  But I love -- it worked this season for sure.  I thought it was a great dynamic.  Although they got voted off and didn't make it extremely far, I thought it was a very fun, kind of homage to our fans and kind of a cool thing to do. 

And I think our show is very rare and that you have the ability to do that because people are so vested in our characters and the people and the show itself.  And it was kind of cool to bring these people in who knew so much about the show and knew so much about these people.  It was fun for me.

When you look back at the episodes, because I'm sure you don't know exactly what's going to get edited out, what's going to be put in? Do you think everyone was portrayed right and correctly or do you think maybe some people didn't get enough airtime that should have or...?  

Chris Harrison: You know, I think in the end, everyone got portrayed well.  In the beginning, I was a little disappointed that Lindzi and Kalon didn't get more time. 

And again, as you mentioned, they were in the edit and then they got taken out because there were so many crazy good stories going on, we just didn't have time.  It wasn't like an exciting dramatic story.  And you know, we got to it eventually after that date on the bridge and all that, so you saw it. 

I just -- I wish we could have shown a little bit more of that budding romance.  But again, we had so many different -- like the Ed and Jaclyn's, and Chris, and all the women.  It was just way too much to cover in that small amount of time that they got shorted a little bit. 

I was trying to think who else.  Again, Nick was Nick.  There wasn't a whole lot to show.  He was either cooking eggs or hanging out in the kitchen most of the time, so there wasn't a whole lot there to see -- it's not like you missed this huge dynamic of the personality that was skimming behind the scenes.  So no, I think it was a pretty good portrayal.  
 
Above are some additional highlights from ABC's transcript of the rest of Chris' call. To read what he had to say to Reality TV World, click here.

(Photo credit ABC)


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