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'The Bachelor' host Chris Harrison: I expect a retraction and apology

By John Bracchitta, 03/03/2009 

The Bachelor host Chris Harrison is vehemently denying an Us Weekly report that alleges the show's producers pre-planned last night's thirteenth-season ending which The Bachelor star Jason Mesnick picked Melissa Rycroft in the show's Final Rose Ceremony but then dumped her in favor of runner-up Molly Malaney during the season's subsequent After The Final Rose special.

"That report that Us magazine came out with is so unbelievably irresponsible," Harrison told American Idol host Ryan Seacrest during a Tuesday appearance on his KIIS-FM radio show. "[It is] unbelievably made up and just all-out lies."

"The level of just [a] lack of journalism, it was really amazing," Harrison told Seacrest about the report, which appears in Us Weekly's March 9 issue. "I was pretty upset and I fully expect a retraction and apology from [Us Weekly]... it was that bad."

"I can completely understand if people are unbelievably ticked off about the ending and what happened, but the fact is that report that [Us Weekly] came out with is so unbelievably irresponsible and the lack of journalistic integrity is astounding to me," Harrison said pointedly.

"I get it -- people go on their blogs and these yahoos make up stuff online. I go with that, it doesn't matter. But the fact that [Us Weekly] picked this up as fact and printed it was unbelievably vindictive, irresponsible and beyond anything I've seen in that magazine. I was really astounded [about] the lies and fabrication and the stuff that they went with as fact."

In the report, Us alleges that "a source close to" The Bachelor's production has "echoed" blogger Steve Carbone's recent unsubstantiated allegations that the season's ending was fabricated by the show's producers.

According to Us' source, Mesnick's flip-flop was allegedly "planned" as a plot to generate ratings for the series, which has thus far only had one wedding  -- Trista and Ryan Sutter from The Bachelorette's first season -- result from the shows' combined 16 seasons.

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The source also repeats Carbone's claim that the show's producers presented Mesnick with the idea of initially proposing to one woman at the Final Rose Ceremony and then breaking up with her and reuniting with the other rejected suitor.

"It was the intention of to have Jason choose one girl and then flip-flop to the runner-up," the source told Us.

The Us report also alleges that The Bachelor's producers secretly flew Rycroft to Seattle to visit Mesnick every other weekend between when he proposed to her at the Final Rose Ceremony's taping in November and when he broke up with her at January's taping of the After The Final Rose special.  In addition, it also alleges that the producers flew Malaney out to Seattle to see Mesnick on the "off-weekends" on which Rycroft wasn't visiting.

"He was basically cheating on Melissa!" the Us source gushed.

While speaking to Seacrest, Harrison said that orchestrating such a widespread manipulation of the show while keeping it all under wraps was not plausible.

"Lets think of the fact that they, the producers, contrived this and Melissa and Molly didn't know about this," Harrison said. "Okay, one person couldn't pull this off, all the producers would have to know, the director would have to know. Then, we would somehow have to alter the minds of Melissa and Molly to make sure that these two girls fell in love with Jason so much so that both of them would accept proposals."

Seacrest then asked if perhaps a producer could have simply introduced the idea of a flip-flop to Mesnick and then let the situation play out from there.
"Yeah and Jason would [still] have to know[n all along]. No, not at all. None of that!" Harrison exclaimed.

As for the claims that the show had been flying women girls out to Seattle, Harrison said they were "completely false" and "another lie that they concocted and went with as fact."

"We're not that stupid to fly any girl into the bachelor's hometown! We would never do that," he added.

"It's unfortunate Ryan that the ending was leaked, so it almost seems that it added validity to the story, because the ending that they got was correct -- but everything else in there was just unbelievably made up and just all out lies," Harrison told Seacrest.
Harrison also shot down rumors that the source of the allegations may be "so high" that he wouldn't have known about the alleged manipulation. 
"I'm on the set, I'm in the control room sitting with the executive producer and the director and the problems we were dealing with all season long, I know what the problems were," he told Seacrest.

In addition, Harrison also indirectly denied Carbone's original claims -- which the Us report repeated, citing Carbone -- that Mesnick had been attracted to Malaney "early in the process" and the show's initial filming had quickly established that "Jason and Molly were the couple... and Melissa was a distant second."

"I know what we were trying to fight, and part of the problem was [Jason] was so in love with Melissa [that] how do we show that he has feelings for anybody else. So what we were dealing with." 
"I know for a fact, there was no script. There was nothing going on," he added.

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