You wouldn’t think a show like The Bachelor would provide the most entertaining, controversial, and exciting television of the night. After all, this was season 11! But last night’s finale, when Brad Womack dissed not one but both finalists, has everyone talking. We got Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss to dish about Brad’s decision, the original ending, and why the network wasn’t happy.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: At what point did you know that Brad wasn’t going to propose to DeAnna or Jenni?
MIKE FLEISS: Not until the day of. Much like Jenni and DeAnna, I was convinced this guy had fallen for one or both of these girls. It was a shock to the whole staff. When we knew how he wanted to play it, it was like a morgue around here. Usually at the finale there’s a happy couple afterwards and they’re all drinking champagne. This time when it happened the staff just freaked out. Everyone shlumped back to their cars. It was really dark.
What happened? He seemed so happy. He even picked out a ring.
I don’t know why. I don’t know why he said the things he did. I don’t know why he let the girls say the things they did. I don’t know. Maybe he was trying up until the last minute to make it work. Only Brad knows for sure. And maybe [his twin brother] Chad.
Ah, Chad. You can’t go wrong with the whole twin twist. Did Brad have to tell you his decision?
It’s not mandatory. But we’re around him so f—ing much that he needs someone to talk to. I live right next door so I would see him every day. I didn’t see it coming. I thought any of the final three girls could have won.
Can you give us any insight? Or will it all be revealed on the After the Final Rose special tonight?
He’ll give it some explanation, like he just sort of woke up that day, was cranky, and sort of said, ”F— it.” He couldn’t see himself with either of those chicks and so he blew them both off.
As a producer, were you thinking you struck gold or that this would ruin your franchise?
We knew it was going to be controversial and that some people would say, ”F— that. I’m never watching the show again.” But it’s not supposed to be a guaranteed proposal. It’s about how men and women relate and date. It’s about getting into the mind of a single guy and the mind of a single girl, and we certainly got that. What he did was the thing that women fear the most — he became intimate and then split the next day. The fact that it happened to two girls at once was a unique opportunity.
So are you happy Brad was your Bachelor or do you regret it?
I think he did a great job. He’s a great guy. I wish he would have been a little more committed to making those girls happy too. I think that’s what was lost. Those girls really put themselves out there. Jenni might have been more open with her emotions than any other girl in the history of the show. She wasn’t a blithering, crazy girl. You felt like she was truly in love. I really felt for her. I felt myself tearing up, which almost never happens.
I kind of thought he would go with DeAnna in the end.
Yeah, but when he and Jenni were together they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.
Was the network upset that there was no happy ending?
They weren’t happy about it. They would much prefer a proposal and a happy couple like Trista and Ryan or Byron and Mary.
Yeah, but this was a much better ending than those were.
The original ending, before the network made me change it, was after the girls were crying we fade down and come back up to a shot of Brad sitting on the couch, remote control in hand, clicking on the game, munching on a submarine sandwich. That’s what I wanted at the end. But the network said no.
Any plans for the next installments?
We’re doing another Bachelor in the spring and a Bachelorette for summer.
Any chance DeAnna or Jenni will be your Bachelorette?
Uh, don’t know yet.