Feminists, beware. This spring’s biggest miniseries — averaging 10 million viewers with each outing — is ABC’s The Bachelor, in which 25 women compete for ”alone time,” roses, and the possibility of marrying Harvard-educated consultant Alex Michel, 31. Producers are prepping a sequel to the show, which wraps April 25. Even Rick Rockwell, star of 2000’s Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, has weighed in: ”I pray Alex’s fate bears no resemblance to my own.” Here’s a walk down the aisle of shame.
The Prize Unlike Rockwell, Alex doesn’t have to get hitched. And the women can walk. Says exec producer Mike Fleiss, a first cousin of former Hollywood madam Heidi, ”The girls can refuse a rose if they’re not interested.” Thus far, none have. As for more tangible rewards, neither Alex nor the ladies were paid—though producers sprang for travel, meals, and gifts.
The Chemistry Sometimes it’s lacking. Amy, the brunet New Yorker booted in episode 2, wasn’t smitten: ”When I got out of the limo, I thought the host [Chris Harrison] was the Bachelor because Alex looks more like a talk-show host.” And LaNease, the aspiring actress who made it to the final eight, calls Alex ”too family-oriented and straitlaced.”
The Nasty Alex sure digs tonsil hockey, but did he ever hook up? ”He’s a smart guy,” says Fleiss. ”He went for some test-drives before he bought a car.” (Note: ABC conducted multiple checks on everyone’s backgrounds and bodily fluids.)
The Letdown After getting the boot, girls get a dose of psycho-bubbly. ”We have a champagne toast, which is so nice,” says LaNease. ”But then they have a psychiatrist sitting there for you, which is kind of weird.”
The Meltdown Perhaps the shrink is necessary. Producers insist the ambulance that arrived to treat Rhonda for a panic attack (after she was dissed in the third rose ceremony) was legit—and that the real estate saleswoman is now fully recovered and back on the dating scene.