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'The Bachelorette' host: Emily Maynard's motherhood changed tone


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/14/2012 

The Bachelorette and The Bachelor host Chris Harrison witnessed Emily Maynard's relationship with former fifteenth-season The Bachelor star Brad Womack blossom, struggle and eventually fizzle out, as he became friends with the couple during their time on the show.

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However, the single mom from Charlotte, NC opted to attempt to find love again on reality TV in the upcoming eighth edition of The Bachelorette, and Chris, could once again, come along for the ride -- observing her journey from a very supportive and hopeful perspective.

During a conference call with reporters last week, Chris talked with Reality TV World about the next season of The Bachelorette and highlighted some details of what viewers can expect to see. Click here to read what he had to say.

Below are some highlights from ABC's transcript of the rest of the call -- including how this season will differ from ones past considering Emily is a single mom, what some of the drama will be and how he explained having a racecar driver on the show, whether he admitted Emily's goal all along was to become The Bachelorette star, why the show treated Emily a bit differently than prior Bachelorettes, and whether he'd consider becoming the next The Bachelor star given his recent split with his wife.

So given that Emily is a single mom, is the vibe of this season of The Bachelorette different than others before it?  And if so, how?

Chris Harrison: Yes.  I mean, well, the great thing about the show is that every season has a different vibe because you take the cues from The Bachelor/Bachelorette.  And you know, Emily's season is drastically different than anything we've ever done.

Her being a single mom, it definitely changed the tone.  It changed the tone from night one.  The guys all came in knowing it was Emily, wanting it to be Emily.  But at the same time, they had to know, you know, she's looking through this and at this from a very different light and from the perspective of being a parent.  And if you are a parent, you understand what that means; I mean it changes everything.

And you know, throughout the show there was always just that underlying issue of, you know, she's a mom and is this guy ready.  And it's not just at the end of this -- hopefully finding love, hopefully finding a husband -- it's hopefully finding a father and a father figure to Ricki.  So it's a very different show.

You said the guys came in knowing it was Emily and hoping it was her.  How does that play into relationships forming given the guys coming in know so much about Emily and maybe have feelings for her already but she knows very little about them?

Chris Harrison: Yes.  It definitely changes it when they know.  First of all, you don't have that moment of getting out of the limo going, "Who is this?" and, "Am I attracted to them?" -- which is kind of fun sometimes, because I think that's part of relationships.  And I think it's pretty interesting when we do that.

But I also love the fact that when these guys got out, I mean Emily, she already captured their attention and their imagination.  And I think it makes for a kind of -- you're already over that first hurdle and you're on to just trying to see, "Is there something there beyond that initial attraction?"

During Emily's time on Brad Womack's The Bachelor season, you guys made her go to the racetrack, and now we have this ex-racecar driver.  So are you going for the drama when you're casting this?  And the guy who comes in a helicopter, can you talk a little bit about that?

Chris Harrison: Yes.  You know, first of all, people need to understand that Emily loves the track.  She loves racing.  That is a huge part of her life and her family. You know, not to go into the history of what happened, but Ricky died at a racetrack.  She doesn't have bad memories of the racetrack.  She actually has very fond memories and a great love.  We talked about this at length.

So these aren't bad memories for her and it's not a bad thing.  The fact that -- and people also need to understand that I don't want to get too detailed about this, but NASCAR and open wheel racing might as well be two different sports, two different worlds altogether.  You really can't compare what Arie does and did for a living to the NASCAR world.

I know it seems like to somebody who's not a big fan, well, they're both in cars and they both kind of drive to the left and go around in circles.  But it's very different.  But no, she embraces that and she loves it.  But you really can't compare the two.  He's a very different person.

So can you talk about what kind of drama we're going to see this season?

Chris Harrison: You know, like I said in the last one, it's just a very different season. It's a very different drama.  You don't have the frat house humor and the frat house drama that, you know, maybe you've seen in seasons past with younger contestants or maybe contestants that weren't parents.

I kind of liken it to Jason Mesnick's season who's a single dad.  Things are just more, you know, much more serious tone and bigger issues.  And so calling it drama almost doesn't do it justice to what happens because a lot of it is just Emily trying to figure out, "Are these guys not only right for me but are they right to start a family?"  And that's what you're doing immediately should you be engaged at the end of this.

And so, you know, I think it's not the kind of superficial drama that maybe you've seen in seasons past.  It's much deeper.  There's a lot more to it.  There's a lot more layers to this season, which I think is fantastic. There was so much going on. 

It's almost even hard to explain in a nice little sound byte because there's so many levels to this and there's so many different things that Emily's dealing with that it just made for a fantastic season.

I read somewhere that before Emily officially signed on, she was a little hesitant and wasn't 100% percent sure if she wanted to do this and bring Ricki into this.  So what do you think happened?  Was there anything maybe that you guys said to her that made her change her mind and say yes to doing this?

Chris Harrison: You know, you'll have to ask her next week like what the straw was that broke the camel's back -- that made her do it.  I know she was reluctant; I know she was hesitant.  I mean everyone should be, you know, just jumping into this. And a single mom should be, because you don't get to make decisions for yourself anymore.  You're making decisions through your child. 

I think a lot of it was how do we handle Ricki and how will she be shown, if she'll be shown, where we'll shoot the show. I mean, I think there was just a million issues as a mom and then the issues of just being a single woman.  But you know, overall, if you deal with just Emily, I think in talking to her, she did go back out there.

She tried to date.  She tried to find somebody and she wants to find somebody.  She's ready for that, and she's like, "It's a nightmare."  She's like, "It really sucks in the real world and it really sucks trying to date and be out there, and I can't find any good guys."  And the thing I love about our show and the thing that speaks volumes to me is all these people do come back because they know it works and it has worked. 

And you know, it did work for her in finding Brad.  Obviously, it didn't work out, but she knows that the concept works.  And so, I was kind of proud of the fact that not just like Brad or [Ben Flajnik] or [Ashley Hebert] comes back, but a single mom like that, that has the values and the morals that she does, you know? I think it spoke volumes that she decided this is a good place and a safe place for me and my daughter to come back.

I know you mentioned Jason Mesnick who was a single dad, and since Emily has a child as well, who do you think will be a good fit for her? She obviously needs someone mature to be a father figure, but what type of guy do you think would be the best guy for Emily?

Chris Harrison: Well, the first thing, I love it.  I mean you bring up a good point in that Jason being a single dad, you know, it's almost like Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks.  Everybody was like, "Oh, how sweet, this single dad."

But then when a woman was doing it, it was funny that the reaction was totally different.  It wasn't, "Oh, look at Emily." It was, "How dare she!"  So I love, again, our show kind of bringing up this social issue and the juxtaposition like why? How is that fair?   How is she any less deserving?...  But I found it funny that that was the case.  But I kind of love pushing those issues and kind of raising that to [viewers].

But look, Emily is a very Southern traditional woman but very independent and strong. If you [haven't] ever known a strong Southern woman, they can be.  So she's definitely -- she's looking for a guy to come in and help her take her hands off the wheel for a while.  She has been in control of her life because of the tragedy, you know, since she was 19, 20 years old.

I mean think about that.  I mean, think about what this woman has been through in such a short time in her life.  She's ready for someone to come in and really help her out and kind of drive the ship for a while because she is -- she's just exhausted. She's been doing it all for so long and she's done an amazing job.

And so, she needs a strong man.  She needs a strong man who can come in and help take control and take care of her and Ricki, because she's used to controlling everything, and it's been a tough life so far -- but just someone that will love her, someone that will love Ricki and someone that will kind of meld into her life and Ricki's life.  And there's plenty of guys on this season that can do just that.  I mean it really is a good, good group of guys.

I know that you said it's definitely more serious and less frat-boy this season, but it always seems like there's someone who leaves early or maybe becomes a villain.  Is Emily in store for any kind of surprises like that?  I guess, how could you sum up her guys?

Chris Harrison: Of course there's surprises along the way and there's drama she has to deal with.  But I think what people will love and I think -- especially single moms out there -- Emily is holding that banner high.  And I think she will do everybody very proud.

And I think there are several moments throughout the show where, you know, for lack of a better term, everyone's going to say, "Damn, girl!" -- like, "Well done, way to handle it."  You know, you think Emily's just this little flower, this delicate little flower, and she is right up until the time when she needs to handle her business and she handles herself very well.

And you know, she lets these guys -- she gives them enough rope to hang themselves and some of these guys do.  And you'll see that along the way that some of these guys, she realizes aren't father-material, aren't husband-material. And she will dismiss them if that is the case.  She has no problem in clearing the deck.  So it's a fun -- it's a fun, fresh side of Emily that I don't think people know and they'll be very excited to see.

We've obviously loved a lot of the past Bachelors and Bachelorettes.  But do you think that maybe Emily, out of everyone, kind of deserves to find happiness at the end?

Chris Harrison: Yes, I would definitely.  I mean first of all, people -- I don't think people know Emily. I didn't.  And the reason I say this is, I really didn't know her as well as I thought I did until this season.  We spent so much time together and spent time with Ricki and traveling around the world.

But it's very refreshing.  I think there's a lot more to her than meets the eye.  I think you see her and you just see again this beautiful Southern belle, but there is so much more to her.  And she's incredibly interesting, incredibly proud and strong and independent.

And you know, does she deserve it more than anybody?  You know, I don't think that's fair, but I definitely am rooting for her like crazy.  I can't remember wanting it to work so bad for somebody in a long time just because, you know, it's hard not to feel for her and it's hard not to think about what she's been through and how strong she's been and has to have been over her life.

So yes, I mean you can't help but root for her.  And I think the viewers will definitely feel that.  I know I did and so did our producers, and we're as jaded as anybody. So if we feel it, I know the viewers will love it.

Emily is given a third chance to find love during this season of The Bachelorette.  Why do you think it's different or more special this time around for her?

Chris Harrison: Different in that, you know, you talked about the third time around.  Obviously, with the tragedy and then with Brad, she thought she found someone to take over and sweep her off her feet, and it just wasn't to be.

And so, she's ready and she's excited.  But one thing I haven't touched on today is there's also a very vulnerable side to her.  There is this side that is now getting a little worried that, "Am I unlucky in love? Am I not good at this? Am I not..." you know, whatever.  Look, we all have our insecurities and she's no different.

And so, I think that as strong as she is, she definitely has those vulnerabilities and she's a little scared.  And so, it's very different in that she's coming to this with a very just sincere perspective of what she wants in life. 

It's not like Ashley there, who came in and obviously fell in love with [J.P. Rosenbaum], and it worked out great.  But let's face it.  If she didn't, she'd have a great life and she's gone on to be a dentist.  You know, Emily really, really wants this.  She really wants a father for Ricki.  She really wants somebody to share in this life and have more kids.  And so, it was -- it's a very different show from that perspective.

You said that Ricki's been with you guys for a lot of it.  How is she processing everything that's going on around her?  What does she think of mom looking for love again?

Chris Harrison: Well, I'll let Emily explain everything about Ricki -- you know, what she knows, what she doesn't and all that stuff.  All I know [is] she's a part of the show because she's a part of Emily's life.  But at the same time, she's not a part of the show. The guys don't see her; The guys don't meet her.  She doesn't come on dates, none of that. 

Like early on, she came because we did a Muppet date in Charlotte.  It was a charity date for the children's hospital, which is very near and dear to Emily.  And you know, Ricki showed up with her mom, with Emily's mom, to meet the Muppets and to see the show.  But the guys never saw her.  The guys were gone when she came up and met Kermit.

And so while she is a part of the show, we definitely kept her at arm's length and that was important to Emily.  I'll let her explain it next week, you know, exactly how she's involved and what she knows and doesn't. But it's been fun.

I think for me, it's been fun having another parent [be] a part of the show, because my kids are around a lot and having Ricki -- who's pretty close to my daughter's age around -- they have instant play dates and it's fun and we've had a great time.

You talked about Emily being vulnerable and having insecurities.  What do you think her basic insecurity is and how is she overcoming that in this season?

Chris Harrison: Well, I mean the biggest insecurity is it's not working again.  Obviously, with Ricky, that was a tragedy.  And it's not that it didn't work, it's just, the tragedy took place and she lost her love.  And then with Brad, it did fall apart when she thought it was perfect.

And so, I think it's just that feeling of what happens if this doesn't work.  You know, I know she was -- she didn't love the real world and trying to date and find somebody that way, and she's come back to make it work here.  And I think there's that thought of "Wow!  What if this doesn't work now?"

And you know, what does she do to overcome it?  You know, I don't know if she fully has.  I think that's something until the end that she'll be dealing with and she'll be battling, "Is this real? Are these guys real? Do they really love me?" And, "Is this right?"

There's so many issues to deal with, with her, that it makes for a phenomenal season because, again, it's not just this happy-go-lucky cute little single girl from the big city coming in here to do this.  There's a lot more on the line.

I know you wholeheartedly believe in this process.  Any chance we can ever see you as The Bachelor star?

Chris Harrison: Good question.  I was waiting for that one.  I thought, "Man, I almost made it out alive."  No.  In all seriousness, getting out of a 22-year relationship and having just announced my divorce to the world a week ago, having two kids and trying to start a new life, I'm thinking I wouldn't exactly be a great candidate to be the Bachelor right now or probably any time soon.

Now that you are coming out of that relationship, you've always had compassion for the contestants.  But will you be able to offer them any more empathy now when they come to you with their heartbreaks?

Chris Harrison: You know, I always have... I've always stuck up and felt terrible for those falling in love and then out of love and had heartbreak, and I've always kind of not been offended but definitely [defensive] when the tabloids or publications would just say, "Oh, another breakup," or you know, and then say [Ali Fedotowsky] and [Roberto Martinez] -- like, "It wasn't a big deal." 

It was a big deal to them, you know, and even Emily and Brad. I know these people personally and I go through this with them on a very personal level.  And having loved myself, and now having felt heartbreak, I know what these people have gone through and what they, you know -- I know what they're searching for, and my heart actually broke for Brad and for Emily.

It says a lot that these people do want to come back and they're still trying to find love.  You know, I think that's the overall thing about this show.  It's very simple.  You know, it's the one thing around the world no matter what country we go to.  Everybody wants love,  everybody wants companionship and that's what makes this show I think so simple but so genius.

So in looking at Emily's potential suitors, I get the impression that a lot of them are very well-established, extremely good-looking and have done really well for themselves -- even more so than normal.  I'm wondering if that's a reflection of Emily's high standards and the fact that outside of the contacts (for) the show, that Brad might have been a little too like "average Joe" for her taste.

Chris Harrison: That's funny.  I mean no, Brad is actually as -- if not more successful, than most of the guys in the show.  He doesn't show it, but if you dig around a little bit at how successful that guy is, I think you'd be shocked.

But as far as the guys, the level of guys definitely is through the roof.  But that just goes to show the guys that knew Emily was going to be the Bachelorette.  And the guys that signed up, I mean they came running and lining up to have a shot at this woman.  She's a catch.  I mean, my gosh, if you just look at her, you know she's a catch.  But once you meet her, these guys can't help but fall in love with her.

And with so much emphasis on the fact that she's a single mom, how much of a factor, if any, was it to cast guys with kids of their own?

Chris Harrison: There's definitely single dads in here.  But to her, it wasn't a deal-breaker or a deal-maker.  You know, she definitely knew that a guy who came in with a son or actually just a child would definitely know her a little better, maybe get her a little better and empathize with her from the start.  But it definitely wouldn't make or break the situation.

The good thing about Emily is, despite the fact that she's a single mom, she's actually very young.  And she actually wants more kids and many more kids.  So she's really looking to continue this family but also start a family.  So in some ways, you know, she's just like every other Bachelorette we've had in that she's looking to find that special someone and, you know, fall in love and start a family.

You've been hosting this show for quite awhile now.  Can you talk about what being the host of a show that has Bachelors and Bachelorettes has taught you about love?

Chris Harrison: Oh, my gosh.  I mean what I learned in 10 years of watching and learning and paying attention, it's stunning.  I mean it's hard to even put into words because I'm trying to think of what one good, you know, lesson.  But it's just hard to explain all the things. I think overall it's just being -- I've been a lot more patient, a lot less judgmental. 

I think the biggest thing that I've learned is, and this is not only just this show, but also I think with age comes that wisdom of life isn't so black and white.  There's a huge gray area.  And you know, when I talk to -- when you go back to last season, when people would ask me about [Courtney Robertson] and/or even when you go back to [Bentley Williams] and I would start talking about them. 

You know, as soon as I say "but," I'd say, "Courtney was a little inappropriate but..." and there was, "Oh, you drink the Kool-Aid, you're defending her." Well, that's not necessarily the case.  But I've always thought it's just not so simple.  Like you can't just say, "Oh, someone's mean," or "Someone's a jerk" and it's that simple.  Like what makes them act like that?  What makes them do these things? 

And I think that's more of what I've gotten out of the show and the psychologist that I've become over the last 10 years of just digging a little bit more and trying to figure out like what makes these people tick and what makes us do the things we do especially in these extraordinary situations where we're trying to find love and doing it on TV in this pressured situation.

So you know, I've learned so much about just myself, life, love over the years.  But definitely, I'm a lot more patient, a lot more understanding.

Is filming done or are overnight dates this week as I read somewhere, and are there overnight dates this season?

Chris Harrison: We are not done.  We're still in production, which is typically -- you know, with The Bachelor, we try to wrap things up so everybody can enjoy a good Christmas with their families.  And so, there's that break.

But with The Bachelorette, our timing is kind of the exact opposite.  And we go kind of right up to deadline.  And so, you know, we premiere next Monday night as you guys know and we're still in production, still working.

Have you gone to exotic places?

Chris Harrison: We've been -- yes.  I mean we started in Charlotte, which if you've never been there, it's quite exotic.  We had a good time; It was good.  I've never been to Charlotte so it's fun to spend some time there and live there for a while. And then, we took off and we went to Bermuda. 

I went to Canada after that to host Live With Kelly, but then the crew went to -- well, we went to London.  Let's see, Bermuda, London, and Prague.  And then, we went on the hometown dates.

And will we see overnight dates?

Chris Harrison: That is the big question.  That is a good question.  You know, what is a single mother to do?  And what is Emily going to do and how does she handle that?  So you know, we definitely have the exotic, you know, locations and the exotic dates and then heading into our finale.  But you know, that's going to be an interesting dilemma.

So you're not really answering the question. (Laughs)

Chris Harrison: Well, you know, we're still in production.

I see.  And just to clarify, you were joking about the hot tubs mysteriously popping up.  But will we see them or won't we?

Chris Harrison: I don't know.  Honestly, I don't know if there is a hot tub scene in this season, I really don't.  You know, I wish I could answer that but I'm trying to think back over where all we've been.

But I mean I know she's, you know, you'll see her in a bathing suit and we'll be on exotic beaches and locations and stuff like that.  But is there a hot tub scene?  I don't know.

But the thing is, I think the overall question of what you're getting at is, the type of season it will be as far as her sexuality and how she puts herself out there.  And you know, she carries herself like a lady.  She carries herself in the eyes of how she wants to be seen by her daughter.  And so, she is very careful and very cognizant of that throughout the season and will always be.

We're having our own Canadian version of The Bachelor. Have you met Brad Smith and what do you think of him if you have?  And how far are you along with the production?

Chris Harrison: I don't.  You know, I have nothing to do with it.  I'm not hosting... But I did go up there just because I'm kind of the face of the franchise here and we are obviously, you know, showing in Canada.  They brought me up there to announce it.

But I know your executive producers.  They've been actually coming to our set.  They've been watching us for the last several years just talking to our producers, following us around, getting the feel of things, and they're definitely going to take it to Canada and make it their own.

But they definitely want to honor the franchise and honor, you know, the look and the feel of the show.  So I've gotten to know them really well.  I've never met your Bachelor, but he was on the short list and I knew the short list but I just didn't know who was going to eventually be. And I don't think -- do you guys have a host yet?

No.  We're still searching around.  The casting is finished [though].

Chris Harrison: Right.  Yes.  I knew the casting.  I knew they were still looking for the Canadian "Chris Harrison," so we'll see.

That's going to be hard to locate.  I'm sorry, Chris, but I have to go back to the topic of the news about your separation from your wife. In 2010, you were accused of cheating on the show.  Did that have an impact on your marriage?

Chris Harrison: You know, it's funny.  Actually, I know it's the journalism here in the States.  Sorry.  I apologize for all of them.  Actually, two years ago there was a contestant on the show who accused me of -- I forget the words, either "hitting on" or "flirting with" one of the producers' wives.  It wasn't a big deal, and I don't know how it turned into -- well, I do know how.  It's the United States and it's tabloids.

And so, that quickly went to "he was accused of cheating."  But actually, if people go back and watched it two years ago, that's not exactly what she said.  But it was -- honestly, to answer your question, it was completely a non-issue two years ago and it's still a non-issue now.  She was just -- that was, you know, a person in a desperate situation trying to deflect as much as she could to save herself.

Specifically, I wanted to ask you a little bit about the experience of shooting in Charlotte.  I know you said you've never been there before.  What were your impressions?  What went well?  What didn't go so well since this was your first time shooting out of Los Angeles?

Chris Harrison: We had a great time in Charlotte.  First of all, it's just kind of fun to move the show to a location that, you know, I think it's kind of like a rock to it.  We don't get out of L.A. much, and when we do, it's international where some people know our show but it's not such a big deal.

And so, to come to a place that loves our show -- and then you have a local star like Emily, it was awesome.  And you know, obviously the town knew we were there well ahead of time -- helicopters, people were trying to sneak on the set, and it was really fun.

People were inviting us to their restaurants.  And you know, when we did go into a bar or restaurant anywhere around Charlotte, people would know and come up to you and say hello and say thanks for being here. 

Being from that part of the country myself, you know, growing up in Texas, I loved that hospitality.  And so, it was kind of good to get out of L.A. and see how real people live and how real people act.  And so, it was fun.  I loved it.

Were there any particular challenges that you all faced shooting in Charlotte?

Chris Harrison: No.  I think it was honestly the opposite of how easy it was.  You know, we always do a really good job of hiring locals as well when we come into any country or any location.  There's drivers helping us produce just because they know the lay of the land.

And so, they just made it so easy.  And you know, there was -- I think it was almost easier than shooting here in L.A. where we've been established and set up.  It was just simple and easy.  People were great and they respected us enough that maybe we had a job to do but, you know, they also had a good time with us being there. So it couldn't have been better.  They rolled up the red carpet.

We did the wall climbing.  We did some concerts where we, you know, that was kind of cool too.  We opened up a few of our dates as you know to the people in Charlotte.  We has some public concerts and even the Muppet show that we put on was a charity event for a children's hospital, and that was a full audience with some folks from Charlotte.

So it was a blast I loved, and I don't know if we'll do it again like this because the season just set up because it was Emily, but I would love to do that again where we go to someone's home town and really make it known that we're there and kind of embrace it.

You've alluded to the public a few times on this call.  And obviously, over the last few seasons it has become, an issue that has threatened to pull the couple apart as we reach the After The Final Rose special, especially with Courtney last year like cheating allegations. Do you guys have a talk with your stars about the threat of the media. It seems like it's becoming a real problem in relationships that come out of the show, right?

Chris Harrison: You know, it's just -- it's not a threat. It's just life now.  You know, I knew -- you know, in my own life, in my own separation from my wife that it was going to be a public story.  And it was -- I actually will say with everybody on the line -- that I'm incredibly proud of how everybody handled my story. 

I think I've earned the respect over the last 10 years in the way I've handled myself and acted.  But you know, I really am pleased and I really thank everybody for the support and the way the story was covered.

And you know, I think there is -- there is that journalistic integrity out there.  I think people do a good job and want to do a good job.  But you guys also have a job to do.  And as stories leak, get out, you know, it's your job to chase them down and that's just life now.  That is social media and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and whatever.

You know, stories get out and you guys have to follow them.  It's your job.  I mean I remember in -- I hate to date myself, but you know, when I was a newscaster and a sportscaster, sports radio and talk radio, all that changed everything because people would call in and start stories that way and you had to chase them down. 

But now that's changed a thousand times over.  And for newspapers and magazines to try and keep up, it's nearly impossible.  So you know, you can warn these people but there's really -- I mean, how do you warn somebody for what's about to happen, because you don't really know what they'll dig up. 

And yes, there is an unfortunate side where people will call your old, you know boyfriend or girlfriend from high school, which I know they did to Courtney. And I know they've done it in seasons past where they'll call a girlfriend from 10, 12 years ago and ask their opinion and really, you know, would an opinion of anyone that knew you 12 years ago matter?  But that becomes the story.

I know desperately magazines and newspapers are doing the best they can and sometimes those lines are crossed.  But you just have to live your life and do the best you can and Emily knows that there's a certain degree of that's about to come.  And unfortunately, that's just part of what we signed up for.

You know myself, I knew that part of what my job entails is being a public figure.  And I knew that people would cover my divorce and my separation. I protect my family as much as I can because my kids didn't sign up for this.  But look, that's part of my thing and that's part of being on this show and being a host.  And so, you just -- you deal with it the best you can.

What about in terms of the contestants knowing that some publications might try to dig up stuff on them? And there always seems to be someone in the past like a boyfriend or a girlfriend that come out of the woodwork, so do you guys try to check that out beforehand or how does that work?

Chris Harrison: Well, I mean everybody -- I mean if you're on our show and you're single, and you're 20-something to 30-something years old, you have an ex-boyfriend and a girlfriend.  And I don't know you at all, but I'm guessing you have an ex-boyfriend somewhere.

And if we went back to your high school, well, I could probably get some embarrassing photos from prom or something like that, that you would definitely not want seen.  And that's just -- again, that's life.

And so, everybody who comes into our show has baggage.  They have history.  They have issues.  Emily has them.  I mean I do.  So you know, if you dig deep enough and you want to pull something out, you could embarrass anybody I'm sure.

Even on this call right now probably has pictures from a childhood or an old boyfriend or something you wouldn't want seen.  But that's just, you know -- if people dig and want that and that's where they want to go with the story, then you really can't do anything about it.

And so, you know, the people that come on the show, they're just kind of -- that's part of where we are in this culture.  And it's up to you guys as journalists to decide, "Is this news, is this a story? Is this an angle we want to go with?" And again, I love to talk.  I love to debate this, because I love journalism and that's where I started my career. 

And I think it's definitely changed over the last 10 years.  But you know, in the end you guys sitting around the table and saying, "Okay, well, what do we do with this story? Is it okay? Are we ripping someone's life apart, and are we doing it for a good reason and is it really worth it?"  Ultimately, that's up to you guys and your editors.

Since I'm calling from Canada, I'm just going to ask you a couple of questions about The Bachelor Canada.  You already said that you're not going to be taking part.  So you're confirming like you're not taking part of production at all? You won't be appearing during the first season?

Chris Harrison: No.  Actually, I can.  I mean we have Bachelor Pad season coming up after The Bachelorette, and that is when you guys are in production on The Bachelor.  And so, you know, it was physically impossible anyway to do it. So, no. I'm not hosting or producing on it.

You know, we talked -- I did, the more we joke the more we took it serious, the producers and I -- about making some appearance on the show, somehow being involved and we haven't given up on that yet, trying to figure out our schedules.

Because they know that, you know, they would love for me to somehow be a presence and do something. So I don't know if it will be on a date or somewhere.  We'll figure something out.  But I would love to be a part of it.

Because you've done so many seasons now and you really are the face of this entire franchise and we don't have a host named here in Canada yet, what kind of tips would you give to the potential host once they get it on how to host the show?

Chris Harrison: You know, it's funny I talked to the executive producers at length about this when I was up there announcing it.  And they said -- you know, and I took this as a huge compliment -- that they're looking for a Canadian "Chris Harrison," someone who is a family man, who cares and is compassionate, who listens and realizes that you're not the star of the show. You're not there for yourself.

I mean, there are vehicles like American Idol, like, say, Dancing with the Stars where it's really a host-driven show.  The Bachelor's never been that; It's never been about the host.  And you got to swallow that part of your pride and realize that your job is to be that support system.  And that's a tough thing because a lot of people want to come in and be that huge star, be that host. 

That's not what this job entails.  There's time for you to shine, but there's time for you to be in the background, and that's a tough mix for somebody in our business to have. And so, that's kind of the guy or girl, and I said that too, maybe go with a woman depending on the dynamic.  But that's kind of the person you're looking for.

It's nice to see a Bachelor of color on the show, so I just wanted to know if that was lucky timing or not because there have been some allegations that the show doesn't include enough [people of color].

Chris Harrison: Oh, no.  I mean we -- I don't know.  We just produce the show and cast it the same way every season.  So you know, how were they cast, that's how it turned out... They do the same process every season.  We just look for great guys, great girls.  And whoever they feel is the best fit for that Bachelor or Bachelorette, that's who ends up on the show.

I noticed there's been talk of people saying that they think that Emily's final goal was to become the Bachelorette.  Are we going to see something that portrays that this season or how would you respond to that question?

Chris Harrison: That her goal was to be the Bachelorette?

Yes.  A lot of people said after her time on Brad's season that her initial real goal was to become The Bachelorette star.

Chris Harrison: Oh, no.  To the contrary, her goal was to never be the Bachelorette.  I don't know if you'll see that and get the (gist) for the season.  But I just know personally in talking to her many times throughout the process of becoming the Bachelorette that she was as skeptical as anybody we've ever approached.

And again, it was for several reasons but, you know, mostly because she's a single mom and Ricki, how would that work and how would she handle it? And so, no, she's quite the opposite of that.  She was very skeptical and elusive to becoming our Bachelorette.

Sorry to hear about your marriage, Chris. It was really a bummer I'm sure for you more than me.

Chris Harrison: Slightly more for me.

Are there any Bachelors you think viewers should keep an eye out for this season besides the ones who make grand entrances, and could you give us a few little piece of things like we should watch out for?

Chris Harrison: Yes, oh, definitely.  There's the guys that make that first impression.  And you know, we were just talking about Arie and, you know, that's someone she's definitely captivated by early on with his looks.

Trying to think, Doug, who's a single dad, she definitely finds him interesting early on just from having that common thread.  I don't remember his entrance, but I don't think it's anything crazy.  So there's definitely several guys that, you know, just have the "get out of the limo, nice hug and a nice conversation" that made just as big an impression.

You know, I think as you know, yes, you want to make a good first impression.  But in my opinion, if you're meeting somebody, you don't need a fireworks display.  And if you do, then you're trying to show a little bit too much.

That would be my worry with the helicopter guy.

Chris Harrison: Exactly.  You know, what are you compensating for? It's the guy that drives up in the orange Lamborghini you need to worry about, not the guy that drives up on a station wagon.

I think there's a general feeling about Emily in that, "Oh, she's already in tragedy, she already had this breakup, she's coming back, like we want her to find love."  Everybody seems to be really rooting for her. Do you feel when they cast the show they were a bit more careful as to not find a guy who had a girlfriend still or a guy who obviously had no interest in having children and things like that?

Chris Harrison: Well, I mean yes and no.  I mean no in the fact that we do that with everybody.  I mean we go to great lengths as much as you can without hiring detectives to follow somebody 24/7 for six weeks, you know, hacking into their text and all that stuff.  You do the best job you can and that's all you can ever do.

Our producers and, you know, doing the background checks and all that.  And we only have so many resources and so much money and so much time to try and let these people out.  And you do the best job you can. The great thing about the show is that's kind of part of life.  It's out of 25 people, are all of them going to be perfect and are all of them going to be the perfect fit for you? No.

That's part of, you know, the dating process and trying to figure out who's right for you and who's not. But at the same time, I will say yes to your question in that the entire show was produced with that feeling in mind.  I don't think there's any of us, myself included, that didn't feel protective of Emily. 

And whether it's justified or not, she doesn't need it, believing she can handle herself. But you just feel that extra level of you want to take care of this girl.  You want to protect her.  You want her to be happy. You want her to have that, you know, fairy tale ending that she deserves because she has been so heartbroken so many times. 

And so, I definitely know that there was that kind of cloud following us around.  Everybody wanted to do a little extra for her. And the cool thing is that the guys -- and you'll see this early on -- the guys that are on the show are like that. 

There's a lot of good guys that really want to protect her and want to take care and want her, whether it's them or not, end up with a good guy.  And this whole season is very different in many ways, and that's definitely one of them.

I know you said you don't think you'd be a very good candidate for The Bachelor at this point.  But I wonder if this is going to change your perspective on the show in general because you've always been pretty positive towards the show and the fact that people can find love and it can work.  And you've always sort of been this voice suggesting marriage is a great thing and such, so has your personal life skewed your perception of  love and the show a little bit?

Chris Harrison: Not at all only because of my perspective of my life.  You know, I had an amazing 18-year marriage to an incredible woman that I have no regrets about. 

I mean, I really don't have any regrets about -- and I'll go back further because we've actually been together 22 years -- the last 22 years of my life and the love that I had and the family that I have and the love that I have now and the friendship that I have.

So no, I still hold that very dear and cherish it very much, and I will hopefully fall in love again and I will find that. So, no, I actually still -- maybe more than ever -- believe in the search and what everybody's doing on this show.  And you know, the good news is, I still have -- I think what I like about being the host is I have -- I was a part of it but now I've been there and I still live that life.

And you know, whether I'm the perfect role model or whether I was ever the perfect role model was never really the point for me.  It's having love, having loved deeply with your whole heart and knowing how great it can be.  I still very much believe in it.

Well, you certainly set yourself up though for dating.  The Bachelor is a hard act to follow for single guys.

Chris Harrison: Exactly.  Yes.  I can't imagine although, you know, I haven't exactly had a date in 22 years, so we'll see.

I think girls are going to expect bungee jumping and shark feeding or something.

Chris Harrison: Yes, the helicopter and private jet.

Above are some highlights from ABC's transcript of the rest of the call. Click here to read the first portion of Chris' interview and what he had to say to Reality TV World.





(Photo credit ABC)


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