Two decades ago today, ABC took a gamble on a man-seeking-wife reality show called The Bachelor. EW's resident Bachelor freak Kristen Baldwin looks back on her favorite moments.
4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

If you're like me, rose lovers, you cannot remember a time in your life when The Bachelor did not exist. (Then again, I also have trouble remembering the names of people I've met several times... but I digress.)

The ABC reality show premiered 20 years ago today — March 25, 2002 — and God help me, I've been covering it for 15 of those 20 years.

The Bachelor season 1 key art
Credit: ABC

In honor of this momentous anniversary, please join me on a retrospective "journey" through some of my favorite EW stories on this truly absurd-slash-wonderful reality TV franchise. Here's to another 20 years! (Crap, will I still be doing this when I'm 68? Don't answer that.)

The Bachelor
Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC

Spending the Night with Colton

Back in 2017, EW was the first outlet to be allowed on set of The Bachelor during the first night of production. For 12 glorious hours, I watched the limo exits, the chaos in the control room, and learned the answers to burning questions like "Why does the Bachelor always pause SO DAMN LONG between each name in the rose ceremony?" Truly a "journey" to remember. Read the full story here.

The Bachelor
Credit: ABC

Daring to Rewatch Season 1

Officially, EW didn't begin recapping The Bachelor regularly until Jason Mesnick's season (it's a good one, y'all). So when Tubi (briefly) made season 1 available to stream, I couldn't help but jump in and recap the entire thing, because I am a glutton for punishment. It's practically a different show — they're in "the Villa," not the Bachelor mansion; the "rose ceremony" was called "Invitation Night;" and Alex made his decisions in the "Deliberation Room." Check out my full series premiere recap here

Bachelor grab
Credit: ABC

Uncovering Why Only Villains Eat

Ever wondered why we never see anyone on The Bachelor or Bachelorette eat on camera... except the villains? You know I have, rose lovers. From Juan Pablo to Chad to Corinne and beyond, Bachelor baddies never shy away from stuffing their faces, cameras be damned. We asked exec producer Bennett Graebner to explain this phenomenon, which he did here

The Bachelorette Paul Danner
Credit: Paul Danner/Instagram

Meeting Big Paulie

Here is a cold, hard fact, rose lovers: The Bachelor simply couldn't happen without Paul "Big Paulie" Danner. Viewers know him as the beefy security guy who comes out to escort rowdy contestants off the premises, but he also serves as the franchise's indispensable stage manager. He made his on-screen debut as a Bachelor butler, but truly broke through during the whole Rozlyn scandal in 2010. Get to know Paulie here

The Bachelor
Credit: ABC

Solving the Jacket Mystery

It never fails: the Bachelor will be outside with one of his potential wives at night, and she'll start shivering. After all, the Bachelor is in a full suit, and she's wearing some skin-baring ensemble. And yet the Bachelor never, ever hands over his coat. WHY? Turns out, it all boils down to (what else?) producer interference. Get the full scoop here

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)
The Bachelor

This romantic reality competition series follows a gaggle of women vying for the Bachelor’s heart — and a wedding proposal. Will you accept this rose?

  • TV Show
  • 27
stream service