Bachelor Creator Defends Jason Mesnick, Molly Malaney

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For a week, the celeb gossip universe has been obsessed with The Bachelor's "After The Final Rose" special, which some perceived as pure public humiliation.

While the show's season finale and the reunion special were shown back-to-back, six weeks of real time had elapsed between the finale, when Jason Mesnick chose Melissa Rycroft as his bride, and the special, during which he announced that he had changed his mind and professed feelings instead for runner-up Molly Malaney.

As Rycroft fought back tears, and as Mesnick turned to Malaney, many fans became enraged, decrying Mesnick as a "jackass," "playboy" and "bastard."

This particular chapter of reality TV struck some as a little too real.

Yet The Bachelor creator and executive producer Mike Fleiss says the March 2 spectacle reflected not the worst, but the very best of reality TV.

Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney

"I'm not really surprised by this, it's just a sign that the show is working," he told Time magazine. "That's really your job, to create television that the whole country will sit down at one time and watch together."

"Honestly, I really don't see the difference between [Jason Mesnick] dumping Molly in New Zealand and then dumping Melissa [weeks later] in Glendale."

Some say the difference is that Malaney knew there was a chance she could get kicked off the show during the competition, while Rycroft's departure occurred long after she had already been picked as the winner and gotten engaged.

But Fleiss insists Mesnick's actions came as no shock to Melissa.

In the weeks leading up to the special, Fleiss said he started to hear word from other producers on the show that Rycroft and Mesnick were not getting along.

Two weeks before the reunion, Fleiss heard Mesnick was still interested in Molly Malaney - whom Fleiss had approached about starring in The Bachelorette (third-place finisher Jillian Harris would eventually be tapped for that role).

All of of which set the stage for the most unpredictable "After the Final Rose" event in The Bachelor history - as host Chris Harrison accurately hyped it.

Opting to film the show without a live audience for secrecy reasons, and unsure of how Malaney would respond to Mesnick's affections, Fleiss said there was plenty of uncertainty when cameras rolled - just not when it came to Rycroft.

"She knew they were essentially finished before walking out on stage," Fleiss said of Rycroft, who debuted last night on Dancing with the Stars. "But doing it for real, making it official and handing back the ring caused real emotions."

In various interviews, as well as in e-mails between Jason and Melissa that were leaked to the press last week, The Bachelor star blamed the producers for some of the emotional fallout surrounding his choice of Molly Malaney.

Specifically, Mesnick claimed numerous times he was obligated to dump Rycroft in front of the cameras. But Fleiss says that's only half the story:

"We didn't want Jason to necessarily spill the beans prior to taping, to keep it as real as possible. But he's a good guy and didn't conceal anything - he let her know before that show that he didn't think this was going to work."

Fleiss seems to be basking in the buzz of the past week, but he also claims the emotional outcry that's accompanied this season's Bachelor denouement is a sign of the passion this new wave of reality TV contestants is bringing to the set.

Before, he says, it was nearly impossible to recruit plausible contestants, or even hosts, to reality TV projects. But the genre has grown increasingly mainstream, and producers have been able to find people who are not just exhibitionists.

And that, he says, is the true impact of Jason Mesnick.

"Believe me, I've seen Bachelor couples stay together who really didn't care about each other," he said. "Some of them feel an obligation to the show to try to be a couple, since we spent literally millions of dollars as their matchmakers."

But rather than playing to the expectations of producers, or viewers, says Fleiss, Mesnick dared to reveal his true emotions, and to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth that love is not always a programmable enterprise.

"More than any other Bachelor in history, he was committed to love and to truly following his heart even though he knew he was going to have to go through hell to do it," Fleiss said. "It's really a romantic notion, that he sacrificed chunks of his popularity to at least try to be with the woman he loved."

Jason and Molly in the Tub

Will Jason and Molly get married?


Jason & Molly, I hope you two stay together and get married and raise Ty. Molly was my choice and I was so disappointed when she wasn't chosen at the Final Rose Ceremony. Jason, I applaud you for following your heart and admitting your mistake even though you would get criticism. And Molly, I applaud you for forgiving and coming back to Jason. Please keep us updated.


Jason S Mesnick
13426 NE 136th Pl
Kirkland, WA 98034
4258255834 Howdy fans of mine! I am doing a relationship radio show here in Seattle. I will talk about love, how to find it, keep it, marry it!!!! Please be part of the show! Thanks for all your support! Love Jason, Molly & Ty


Jason S Mesnick
13426 NE 136th Pl
Kirkland, WA 98034
4258255834 Howdy fans of mine! I am doing a relationship radio show here in Seattle. I will talk about love, how to find it, keep it, marry it!!!! Please be part of the show! Thanks for all your support! Love Jason, Molly & Ty


Who really cares - the bachelor/bachelorette shows should have ended after Trista and Ryan got together!


Hey, I think it was a hit this season. Definitely added some spice. I think it turned out okay. Melissa is doing her thing on dancing with the stars...I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't win, maybe get a career as a dancing instructor or something. Jason and Molly are more like each other anyway. It just took Jason a bit to figure out that there is more to a woman than her looks. Not that Melissa is dumb, she's not. She is just different than Jason. He is more of an intellectual guy and Molly is an intellectual gal. This kind of stuff happens all the time. Why should we be so offended when its played out on TV. The part that gets me is I hope all these people are not sleeping with each other, might be more than romance that springs from all these "overnights" Some STD's going around. Keep it innocent and save that special gift for the final rose recipient.


Good try to save your dumb ass show, not enough back peddeling to right the wrong you created. Good for Jason and Molly...but this should have been done IN PRIVATE no matter what, why not go back before the final and change the ending. Let him choose Molly and save the unbelivable humilation you all caused Melissa. She did not deserve that on natinal TV ..What? So Jason could find true happiness
C'mon he could have found that in private if he wasn't such lil pussy...oh and why in the hell did you bring back that stupid "All I wanaa do is find love, and marry and raise a family dumb ass Deanna Pappas" back to the show? yet another selfish ass hole! You killed the show for me I'llnever watch again, Good luck you bunch of losers


WOW!!!!!!!!!!! This Fleiss guy just doesnt get it. Its freaking over you loser. You're such a jerk in every sense. Do you think that we are idoits? Let me say this one more time.... I WILL NEVER WATCH THIS SHOW...


I don't necessarily think that Jason went about the situation in the best way possible. But, I also think he was a big person for not taking his relationship with Melissa farther and then dropping her. At least they didn't get married and then go through a divorce. And ya know what, everyone in the story is happy now. Melissa has a new boyfriend, Molly and Jason are together. Stories over.


Wow Kitty, you seriously need to get a grip. Obviously, Melissa is not suffering from any of this. She's dancing with the stars and hanging out with her boyfriend. And did it ever occur to you that maybe Jason and Molly are happy together, which is what's important? Who are you to judge people that you don't know and are watching on a reality TV show, not to mention people expressing their opinion here?


It is so great to see 2 people who are so much alike being with each other! I could never understand why he was picking Melissa in the first place. To see Molly deal with rejection (the final rose) is totally different from the way Melissa deals with it *after the 6 weeks)! I can only see that Jason is wishing Melissa well on her competition on Dancing w/ the Stars, and how Melissa and the whole gang on the reality show of "Dancing" is up against Jason and openly slandering his name! I say, "keep taking the high path, Jason!"

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The Bachelor Quotes

There’s still a lot of growing to do in our relationship. We will not tie the knot until I am mentally and physically prepared as well as Matt.

Shayne Lamas

It was a fairytale proposal like I’ve always dreamed about. I forgot that there [were] cameras around. In that moment, it was just Matt and I and it was the most amazing moment of my entire life.

Shayne Lamas [on proposal by Matt Grant]