Chris Harrison: "Something changed" between 'The Bachelor' couple
By John Bracchitta, 03/03/2009
The Bachelor host Chris Harrison has added his take on last night's ABC broadcast which featured thirteenth-season star Jason Mesnick picking Melissa Rycroft in the show's Final Rose Ceremony but dumping her in favor of Molly Malaney -- the woman he originally rejected in favor of Rycroft -- during the season's subsequent After The Final Rose special.
According to Harrison, he had thought the show had struck romantic gold when Mesnick proposed to Rycroft in New Zealand during the pre-Thanksgiving taping of the season's Final Rose Ceremony.
"They were both very much in love and the scene couldn't have been better. It appeared to us he had found a terrific woman who would become his wife," Harrison wrote in a posting on his Entertainment Weekly website blog. "You have to understand that we want a proposal and we want a true happy ending. I would have sworn up and down that that is what we had that night."
Harrison added that he spoke with the couple "several times" following the proposal and that everything had been going well between the two. That is, until the holiday season ended.
"After the holidays something changed. Jason was struggling with Melissa and he told me something was wrong and things had changed between them," Harrison wrote. "A few weeks after that I heard that Jason was going to break up with Melissa and that he still had feelings for Molly. I will be honest when I tell you that my heart sank. I loved Jason and Mel as a couple and selfishly knew that their success together would be great for our show. A true love story with a perfect ending, but all that was shattered with that phone call."
"My first thought was, Oh my god, he's going to do the unthinkable and make the switch. Turns out I was right," Harrison added. "Jason knew he and Melissa were through and wanted another shot with Molly, who he had also fallen in love with."
With Mesnick and Rycroft on the outs and Molly potentially re-entering the picture while The Bachelor's season had just started airing on ABC, Harrison said that the show was faced with the difficult decision of choosing whether or not to address the situation and, if they chose to, how to do so appropriately.
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"It's not like Jason was breaking up with Mel and just going away. He was asking for a shot with the girl you saw him break up with in New Zealand," he wrote.
Harrison added that the show ended up coming to the decision to restructure the After the Final Rose special so The Bachelor viewers could get caught up on what had transpired.
"I know this has been controversial but in my mind the only thing we could do out of respect for all of you watching was to show, as delicately as possible, what the hell was happening," Harrison wrote. "Not that it makes it any better or easier, but the fact is everybody knows when they sign up for this show everything about their story will be public. It's a TV show and that is not a big secret. They are well aware of what they got into."
Harrison also reiterated Mesnick's claims that Rycroft was not "blindsided" by his decision.
"We quickly put together the first After the Final Rose special and brought the three of them together to play it out," Harrison wrote. "I won't speak for Melissa but I can tell you she wasn't blindsided. She knew things weren't going well. Did she know Jason was going to break up with her? Honestly, I don't know. You'll have to ask her."
He also added that while the show was hardly a walk in the park for anyone involved, he felt Rycroft had dealt with the news well.
"Believe me when I tell you that was the hardest, most uncomfortable show I've ever hosted," Harrison wrote. "I like Melissa very much, and in fact we've talked several times since the taping including Friday before the second [After the Final Rose] special. Of course, she was hurt and pissed that night we shot the special, but she feels, as do I, that everything happens for a reason and that she's better off."
Because of the "explosive" nature of the show's finale, Harrison wrote that he was not surprised when news of the breakup began leaking out and added that the show has determined "how it happened" and who was responsible.
"We could have been real A-holes and held off till we were closer to the end but that wouldn't have been fair to anybody," Harrison wrote. "So we shot that special six weeks ago."
However, Harrison said he drew the line when unsubstantiated allegations that the season's ending had somehow been fabricated that began surfacing last month.
"I'm not sure why ruining the ending of one of the most successful shows on TV wasn't enough for people but it should have been." Harrison wrote. "To hear these 'people' go on and add their own twists and turns to the story was not only laughable but flat out ridiculous. To be quite honest, I could care less, but I know Jason, Molly, and Melissa have been hurt by all this and that's where I draw the line, and I do care about that. We said this on the show but I want to make it very clear to you, that when Molly walked on that stage six weeks ago that was the first time she had seen Jason since the finale was shot."
Harrison also addressed comments he had received from some frustrated viewers who have stated they are never going to watch The Bacheloragain after being disappointed by its ending. After stating that he feels many of the big questions regarding Mesnick's decision will be cleared up during the second After The Final Rose special that will air tonight at 10PM on ABC, Harrison said thatThe Bachelor was committed to showing whatever happened to the couple it had created, be it good or bad.
"To those of you who have said that and feel this way I say this: I'm sorry your feelings were hurt and I'm sorry you didn't get the magical ending you thought you were going to get. My promise to you is that no matter what happens on this show, good or bad, we're going to show it," he wrote. "Jason chose this path. I hope you will come back and watch the show, but if not, thanks for your support and thanks for seven great years together."