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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No one really knows what happens after the cameras go off. I am sick of hearing people bash Jason when they have no idea what its like to do this stuff. Listen to all the relationships that fail from this show. Everyone of them say it changes after the cameras go away, the exotic destinations are gone and its real ife. If it changed it changed. Move on from that. I am a sigle parent and have dated since my divoce and its hard but it is something you go through. Kids are tough, especially from divorced families. Why doesnt everyone leave it alone and let them see if it works. Reality tv is just tv, let them expierence reality now.

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DeAnna was a plant by ABC. Come on! They built it all up to make you think she was going to factor in to Jason's decision, and she was on there for 2 minutes. Something that "big" happens and there is no mention of her at all on the after the rose show? Give me a break!

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I think we need to blame DeAnna. After all, SHE is the one who told him to go for the stable one, not the one who excited him the most. DeAnna should have stayed out of it!

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Jason has no idea what he wants. He told Jillian that he was letting her go because he wanted more than just a best friend. Then last night, he said Molly has become his best friend. Then said he followed his heart when he chose Melissa and again when he dumped Melissa for Molly. Doesn't sound like someone that knows what he wants to me. Jason also made the comment last night that he did what was best for him and Ty but I think he was only thinking of himself and so was Molly. They didn't care who they hurt during this process as long as they did things the way they wanted. From what I seen, Ty warmed to Melissa very easily and seemed to become a little attached to her. He didn't seem the same with Molly. Maybe Jason was blind to that fact. Good luck Melissa, Jason did you a favor and you can do soooo much better!!!

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This whole thing just makes me mad. He said he was following his heart when he picked Melissa and said he was deeply in love with her. Then he says again, that he's following his heart by dumping Melissa and reuniting with Molly. Obviously, his heart doesn't know what it wants. Then Molly said she was afraid Jason was going to get hurt again but it didn't phase her that he just hurt Melissa. And for Jason and Molly to kiss and practically make out within minutes of dumping Melissa was just tacky. Molly and Jason deserve each other. Melissa can do sooooo much better than that. I can't wait to see him cry some more when things don't work out between him and Molly.

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Give me a break. The guy doesn't even know who he is!!!!! He had time to think properly. You don't propose to someone and then think the grass is better on the other side. Give me a break. He's a complete fool. How can he even make a relationship work if he doesn't even know himself?

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This was the most grotesque show I've seen, I can't stand to watch Jillian turn into a dirtbag too so I won't be watching again! Yecchhhh to this garbage!!!!

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If it sounds like BULLSHIT****IT MUST BE BULLSHIT!!!

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]