It’s hard to believe the hit reality show The Bachelor has been on the air for 15 years. March 25, 2002 marked the birth of a show that would create drama, love, heartbreak, hate, and the most romantic dates ever. Chris Harrison has been the only host of The Bachelor and Harrison does his job well. What started out as a show about a man hoping to find love with one of 25 women has turned into a huge, beloved franchise with loyal, devoted fans known as Bachelor nation.
Who would have thought that the show would be so popular that it would spawn The Bachelorette, short-lived Bachelor Pad, and now the very successful spin-off, Bachelor in Paradise? Harrison hosts all three as every season Chris promises it will be the most dramatic episode yet. The Bachelor has become one of the most successful reality shows of all time and Harrison is one of the most well-known hosts.
Entertainment Weekly caught up with Chris Harrison to talk to him about that epic first night 15 years ago that started it all. According to the report, Harrison shared there was no template for the show all those years ago and nobody knew if it would take off or not. Survivor was the only successful reality show at that time and had only been on the air for one season. Harrison revealed it took a long time to even decide how the rose ceremony should take place. Chris said it was a debate if the women should be standing, sitting on a staircase or somewhere else entirely.
As we head off to shoot the next #Bachelorette season we look back to the first with the Godmother @tristasutter and her then fiance @ryansutter at their AFR special. I was just hoping to grow up big and strong and fit into my shirt
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Chris says on that first night with the very first Bachelor, Alex Michel, things were not refined yet and when the women met Alex they all walked a little further back and also met Harrison. Chris said, “The girls started showing up and they met Alex and then they took like 10 steps and they met me. I talked to the girls later and they were like, “Wait, who are you?” No one had ever seen the show, so they were like, “Are you another guy? Who are we going to marry and have sex with?” It was so weird. We were like, okay next time let’s not have me standing right behind the Bachelor.”
Chris also shared that it wasn’t until the second season that they knew the show would be a success. It was revealed that Aaron Buerge’s season finale brought in a record 25.9 million viewers. Harrison also credits Trista Sutter with the success of The Bachelor franchise. Sutter was the first to find love and actually make it down the aisle. Trista married Ryan and the two are still happily together with two beautiful children. Chris says without a successful couple to pave the way for the future, then The Bachelor could have fizzled out.
Since the premiere episode 15 years ago, Harrison says a lot has evolved and changed. Chris says the dates became more elaborate and the travel more exotic over the years. Chris sent his apologies to those contestants who were on The Bachelor before they had a dramatic increase in their budget. Harrison also says that now The Bachelor is a well-oiled machine. Chris says the show is set up for successful relationships and Harrison feels that is why so many more couples are making things work long term.
— Chris Harrison (@chrisbharrison) March 25, 2017
— Chris Harrison (@chrisbharrison) March 26, 2017
Harrison took to Instagram yesterday to share his thoughts on The Bachelor’s 15 years of success. Chris posted a photo of himself and Alex Michel, whom nobody can locate, and said the following.
“15 years ago it all began. At the time this young man couldn’t comprehend how life was about to change. Along the way I’ve worked with some amazing people and made some incredible friends. I’ve seen every corner of this beautiful planet, more than a few tears, plenty of drama but also a lot of love. Thank you hardly seems like enough to those I’ve worked for and with to make this show, but Thank You! Many have come and gone since our first season with Alex Michel and I appreciate them all for their part in all this. The first 15 years have been an incredible ride and thanks to you #BachelorNation the future only looks bigger, brighter and more dramatic than ever!”
15 years ago it all began. At the time this young man couldn't comprehend how life was about to change. Along the way I've worked with some amazing people and made some incredible friends. I've seen every corner of this beautiful planet, more than a few tears, plenty of drama but also a lot of love. Thank you hardly seems like enough to those I've worked for and with to make this show, but Thank You! Many have come and gone since our first season with Alex Michel and I appreciate them all for their part in all this. The first 15 years have been an incredible ride and thanks to you #BachelorNation the future only looks bigger, brighter and more dramatic than ever!
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Chris also shared with Entertainment Weekly that the reason the show is so great is because everything is fresh again on night one. Harrison says the following in response to what makes the show successful:
“The fact that it’s fresh. The show starts anew every time. Whether you loved Nick or hated Nick, it’s gone. They’re no longer a part of our show. They’re a part of our story and we will continue to keep them a part of the family and that story will continue, but we start over. Now we have Rachel and these new guys and the show stays young, which is important. It stays young and it stays relevant, and it stays fresh. That is a huge part of our success and why I’m sitting at a rose ceremony 15 years into this.”
Harrison got his first big break with The Bachelor and loves Bachelor nation. Fans love Harrison too. What would The Bachelor be without Chris Harrison’s intros, dramatic announcements, humor, and support for the lead and the contestants? Harrison is also a huge part of why The Bachelor continues to be a huge success. Congrats to everyone at The Bachelor, along with Harrison, on 15 years of continued air time with hopefully many more years to come.
The Bachelor and Chris Harrison can be seen on ABC.
[Featured Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for dcp]