Chris Harrison Dishes on The Bachelor Controversy

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"You've got to be joking!"

This is how The Bachelor host-pimp Chris Harrison says he reacted when Jason Mesnick told him that he changed his mind and wanted to end things with the winner, Melissa Rycroft, and reconcile with runner-up Molly Malaney.

The shocking "After the Final Rose" special, in which Jason dumped Melissa for Molly, sparked controversy, outrage, big ratings and unanswered questions.

Did the producers know? Did they orchestrate the whole thing?

Both Harrison and The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss spoke out about it in the aftermath, and the short version is that Jason legitimately did change his mind (for reasons still unknown), but the public exchange was a total ratings stunt.

Jason Mesnick Decides ...

A contemplative Jason Mesnick ponders ruining Melissa Rycroft's life.

Here are some quotes from The Bachelor powers that be ...

They were just as shocked as we were: "When we left New Zealand, we were high-fiving, thinking this is great, 'People are going to love this guy and love the story,'" Chris Harrison recalls. "I talked to Jason when we got back, and things were going great. And then the next thing I hear, the producers are saying, 'He wants another shot with Molly.' And I just said, 'You've got to be kidding me!' We were all blown away."

Not their idea: "People think we wanted to pull this stunt, but we didn't!" Harrison says. "This isn't good for us. I mean, the ratings were insane and all that, but we would have much rather had him end up with Melissa and have them get married. In the long run, that's a better story for us and for the fans."

Seriously, not their idea: “It was [Jason's] choice in New Zealand who he proposed to,” says Fleiss. “But after the show wrapped, he was not in love with Melissa anymore and instead he was in love with Molly and needed to make a change.”

They wanted to show the resolution: "We had a really big dilemma when this happened," Harrison admits. "It wasn't like a normal deal where, after the show airs, the couple doesn't work out and they just go on their way. It was right when the show started airing; he wants to make this switch to the girl he just broke up with. So what do you do? You can't just show him proposing to Melissa and then have People magazine reporting that he's dating Molly. We had to put something together. I don't know if it turned out right or wrong. That will be debated for a long time."

Beginning to unravel: When Fleiss learned Jason and Melissa were not getting along, and that he had never stopped thinking about Molly, “My first thought was, ‘Oh, too bad,’” he says. “My next thought was, ‘Wow, that’s almost too good!’ I knew that was a remarkable twist. At that point, the decision was made to bring all three parties into the studio to film After the Final Rose, the most shocking After the Final Rose in Bachelor history."

The light bulb moment: “At that point, a decision was made to bring the parties in to film After the Final Rose, the most shocking After the Final Rose in Bachelor history,” Fleiss says. “But it was never anyone’s plan.”

Chris Harrison Pic

The incomparable Bachelor mastermind, Chris Harrison.

Melissa Rycroft totally knew what was up: "Melissa was not blindsided," Chris says. "She didn't think everything was great and show up that day to talk about the wedding date and then realize she was going to be dumped. She was pissed and angry, but she wasn't blindsided. Not that it makes it any better for anybody, and I totally understand why people are still mad, but she wasn't the complete unsuspecting little lamb that you might think she is."

Molly Malaney totally did not know what was up: "There are the ridiculous stories in the media about how set up this was, how Jason and Molly had been seeing each other. When those came out, I talked to him again, and I said, 'Tell me, was there anything? Text messages? Phone calls?' I know they hadn't seen each other, but was there anything? And he told me, 'No, not until we got on stage.' That really was the first time she knew that he wanted her back," Harrison reflects.

In the ensuing six weeks, Molly and Jason are going strong: "I can't believe how well they're doing," Chris said. "They're doing amazingly well. I talked to [Jason Mesnick] again this morning to see how they were holding up, and obviously he realizes that he's probably one of the most hated men in America, but that too will blow over. They're going to make a go of it. They're doing good."

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Everyone needs to get over it. They tuned in to see reality and that is just what they got. Jason and Melissa just didn't work and Jason had the guts to step up and make the hard decision. Molly was the right choice for him from the beginning but I can understand why that may have been hard to see with all that goes on surrounding the show......most of which we do not see. That said I wish Jillian, Melissa, Molly and Jason all the best in the future. After all, no other Bachelor series has ended with the final 4 participants all in good places.

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Does anybody know what love really is? it is not chemistry, but it is a decision and a commitment. It should be built on a Rock not on shifting sands. I think bachelor or bachelorette should be given ample time to deliberate who they will pick so it will not end up hurting more people than he/she should. Melissa, I salute you. You are a great person. May you be blessed with true love partner. Think of it as a blessing for you found out early enough that Jason it not worth your love.

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What a great actor....if you watch really close after Jason goes out on the balconey sobbing, he looks briefly towards the cameras to see if they are still taping. What a camera whore! I wont be watching this show any longer.....they fed lines to them on the Past II episode.....Molly needs to take acting lessons as she is too mono speaking while repeating the words fed to her.....Jason is a narcissistic.....he and molly deserve each other. Then again, any man who would do this to a woman, whether told to do so or not, has no integrity in my book! Melissa these people don't deserve another second of your time. I would avoid these 'useers' at all cost. You are too classy for the likes of them!

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I am willing to bet Melissa turned into a nut bucket and Jason is kind enough not to let eveyone know her trashy crazy or sad life.(In respect to someone who has a lot of secrets including why her family disowned her) Think about it. Jason cannot be with a ding dong and even more because of his little son Ty.

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Everyone is saying,"Poor Melissa, she was so sweet". That is what she wanted, EMPATHY FROM EVERYONE. She is definitely getting it. She did not have to come on the After the Rose show and Jason could have told the public what he did alone. She showed up, knowing what was going on for the pity from women (and some men) everywhere. I thought Jason showed integrity, he made a mistake. I don't think he should have proposed if he was that conflicted, but that was the conclusion everyone was wanting, a marriage proposal, a handsome guy, a pretty girl. That perfect romance. Everyone who has ever loved knows that stary-eyed love can only get you so far. Then reality takes over. A loveless relationship is no way to live and I think Jason did the right thing. If you are one of those people who thinks Jason was so bad, than you need to open your eyes to reality and come live in the real world.

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First time show watcher. This entire show is nothing more than another kind of soap opera.The majority of relationships do not wind up in endless and expensive short term dating prior to a ring.Most relationships just don't work that way. Jason needs to grow up. He presents a spoiled affluent guy to me that has the backing of his entire family who does not want to see their poor boy hurt. As for Melissa, well babe, move on. Someday you won't be the dumpee.

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Jason may not have spoken to Molly, but he speaks to all the producers all the time, and they can easily relay messages to her like "Jason made a mistake and wants you back, will u take him back if we film it?"

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What I think is ironic is that Jason kept saying "Molly is my best friend!" I wonder where he got that concept? Jillian maybe? I mean, seriously, Jillian kept telling him he should be with his best friend (her) and Jason kept telling her that a best friend isn't what he wants.
Bottom line, Jason has no idea who is he or what he wants. Even his family sounded tired of his past relationships. I'm glad this season is over, and I won't be surprised when Jason shows up on the Bachelorette and tells Jillian he should have stuck with her, his bestest best friend.

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This show is fake garbage...I am glad I was never that into it and won't be giving it a second more of my time. It needs to go now...its a terrible concept anyway...28 girls all dating and making out (and whatever else goes on in that fantasy suite)with one guy and vice versa...this is not the way to find a real loving relationship...its a way to find dirtbags and gold diggers who want money and 15 minutes of fame. Wow, Chris Harrison is a true pimp!
Only 1 couple really made it out of all the time its been on and that was a lucky fluke I'm sure.

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Jason is a freakin buffoon and a DRAMA QUEEN!...and Molly is an immature self-indulged little girl playing at being a grown-up! Great they deserve each other! Melissa is definately better off without all the DRAMA Jason brings to the table. Throughout the entire season Jason was more worried about Ty and rightfully so, however when he was playing tongue hockey with Molly last night, he didn't seem too worried about his son then. They will NEVER convince me that nothing happened in the tent. I know he tried to convince the world that they just talked, however ummmmmm and ahhhhhh must be new words of conversation in the English language. WHAT A PILE OF HORSE CRAP!!! To Melissa- You are a BEAUTIFUL, SWEET young lady (something that Molly could only aspire to be) who WILL find Prince Charming someday. Don't be too hurt about the events that transpired. Believe me girlfriend you are way way too good for that pucky! To Molly and Jason- KARMA is a BEEOTCH!

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]
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