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'The Bachelorette': Burning questions answered

Host and EW blogger Chris Harrison tackles fans’ questions about this season

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With Jake and Vienna and Ed and Jillian breaking up recently, what can be changed about the show to make the romantic outcomes more successful? —Allison M.
The success of our show has never been predicated on the success of our couples. Beyond making a contract that makes them stay together, what can you do? Who’s to say why your neighbors break up either? The whole thing about this show is that there’s no magic pill to take for love. Everybody will go through hell and back to find it. You’ll put yourself through pain and embarrassment, and we all do it. I think that’s why people relate.

Why did Jake have one-on-one time with you in the July 5 interview but Vienna didn’t get any? —Dally
I brought Jake out first because he was our Bachelor. I took some heat that I took Jake’s side, but I don’t have a team. Honest to God, I’m not told to protect Jake or Vienna. Vienna was the one who had the story, so naturally I was going to her with all the questions. I kept going back and letting her explain, but I really felt in my heart that by doing that, I was giving her a fair shake. So many people said, ”Chris, you’re an A-hole, you totally stuck up for Jake, and after watching that, I’m totally on Vienna’s side.” I’m like, ”Wait, obviously it wasn’t biased toward Jake if you’re feeling sympathy for Vienna.”

Why didn’t any of the other Bachelor couples who broke up get interviews like Jake and Vienna? —d
This story just lent itself to the interview. With the salacious nature of this breakup and how crazy it got and how quick, we just thought, Let’s get them together in a more benevolent environment and let them tell their stories.

Why are the Bachelorette previews giving away so much this season? —bean99
Honestly, I don’t love that either. Because there have been some spoilers out, we’ve gotten a little liberal with giving things away. But I hate that we could be ruining it for anyone.

Why don’t we ever see Ali and her suitors talk about anything on their dates other than their romantic ”journey”? —Heather K.
Not to sound arrogant, but it’s almost like we know better about what you want than you do. We send up a test balloon and if the audience doesn’t respond, then we don’t do it again. Obviously it’s not a normal conversation to talk about ”walls coming down” and stuff like that. But discussing the next Supreme Court justice, believe me, that’s not going to bring in the ratings.

How do these guys with girlfriends back home sneak under the radar? Can’t the producers hire a private investigator or something to check them out before they’re picked for the show? —Sheila
No, we can’t. We do background checks, we do psychological profiles, we do blood tests. But these people are flawed, and that’s part of our success. If you meet someone in a bar, he can tell you he’s never been married, and then it turns out he’s been married twice and has three kids. How do you prove if someone has a girlfriend — unless you walk in and see them having sex? We’re not the CIA.

How exactly did the Justin revelation come about? —ennisfan
From Jessie Sulidis, one of our former cast members. She knows Justin’s girlfriend in Canada. We were leaving Iceland and the producers were telling me this, and they just sort of glossed over that part. I was like, ”Are you kidding me? How small is this petri dish we’re living in?” It was absolute happenstance that she knew her and Jessie was able to get ahold of the producers. We got to Istanbul and put it all together. When these moments happen, we let them play out. The voicemail was him with the smoking gun, with blood on his hands standing over the dead body. It was laid out for everybody.

Do the guys go out when Ali is on dates with the other bachelors, or do they sit around waiting in the hotel? —doglover
They’re not out sightseeing. We can’t let them roam the streets. Honestly it’s for safety and insurance reasons. Once they’re under our care, we’re responsible for them. I got to know this group of guys better than any because we traveled together. I’d be up there having a beer off camera with the guys in their suite while they waited around.

How do the guys escape to, say, get a tattoo? —Mandy H.
That depends on what they’re doing. If they want to go get a beer, we’ll be like, ”No.” If Kasey says he wants to get a tattoo, that’s something we will absolutely accommodate. Why would we stop that? Are you kidding me? Kasey came to our people and said he wanted to get a tattoo, and we were like, ”Yeah, as long as you know we’re going to shoot it.” And then we set it up.

Whose idea was it to give Ali those hair extensions? —etm I’m guessing it was her idea. I don’t think anyone tells a woman what to do with her hair.