'The Bachelor' host Chris Harrison reveals planned Pre-Casting of Emily


One of the coolest (for lack of a more accurate adjective) parts of being the TV Critic for RBR-TVBR is the ability to get on conference calls with the people I watch each week on TV. 

This week’s call was particularly exciting as Chris Harrison, who has never appeared on one of these calls mid-season, spoke to the press (that’s me) for almost an hour.  After hearing his responses to dozens of reporters, there are several things that struck me about Chris. 

For starters, he is incredibly articulate and polished.  Ask him anything, and he can give you a comprehensive, well thought out and serious response.  He’s incredibly smart, but down to earth.  He realizes what a unique franchise exists in The Bachelor. 

He considers past contestants his friends (Andrew Firestone, Jillian and Trista).  And while he’s a repository of information for previous bachelors / bachelorette’s, he’s discrete enough to remain tight lipped. (For example, Chris noted that Ali and Roberto are still together, still happy, but when asked if they have a date set for their wedding, he responded that it was their news to share if and when that happens). 

Chris promises a very emotional episode come Monday night, when the ladies go on a car racing group date.  While viewers may be horrified that poor Emily would be subjected to the very activity that her former fiancé participated in professionally, Chris clarifies how this situation came to be.

“This date was set up before Emily was cast…Brad didn’t know that Ricky was involved in Nascar and who Ricky is…”

Chris goes on to reveal that while the producers obviously knew what was going on, at some point they had to make a decision – do they tell Brad? Or do they warn Emily?  Like many other editing decisions on this show, they decided to let the real life drama play out.  He also urges viewers to reserve their final judgment until Tuesday morning.

With so many women left on the show with strong connections with Brad, the drama will most definitely come to a head in the weeks ahead.  Brad has already declared that he’s found love this time around. 

This made me curious – how satisfied will viewers be with Brad’s decision at the end of this?  I asked Chris this question.  Chris responded that Brad is very satisfied.  But from his response it doesn’t necessarily seem like all of the viewers will be.  He said it’s always interesting to hear the audience’s reaction to Brad’s decisions.  I guess what he’s saying is – he isn’t sure what the feedback will be, but he is very interested to find out.

I also asked Chris the Host to comment about the recent press of him being a possible candidate to take over for Regis Philbin upon his retirement from Live with Regis and Kelly.  I was wondering, given that Chris is one of the reasons behind the success of The Bachelor (even highlighted one of my favorite Chris moments – him acting cool as a cucumber when Rozlyn came back on The Women Tell All and completely tried to humiliate him), would we lose him to some other professional opportunity? 

Chris indicated that he was flattered to be considered for Regis’s position, but he loved being part of the ABC family and preferred LA’s weather to New York.  He did indicate that he loved live hosting and did look for opportunities to do this (he will be on the red carpet for the SAG awards on Sunday, and recently co-hosted the 2011 Miss America Pageant). 

So perhaps if Regis’s position was offered to him, it would be an incredible next step for him professionally.  Especially considering The Bachelor franchise can’t go on forever. 

 Stacey B