Chris Harrison UnREAL

UnREAL Is 'Terrible,' Bachelor Host Chris Harrison Incorrectly Claims

Who snuck sour grapes into Chris Harrison‘s lunchbox? In a new interview, the Bachelor host tears into UnREAL — Lifetime’s fictional behind-the-scenes look at a reality dating show — with some choice words for the drama.

“The main difference that I’ve seen is that people watch The Bachelor,” Harrison tells our sister publication Variety. “It’s complete fiction. As much as they would love to jump on our coattails — they were begging for us to talk about it and for people to write about it — at the end of the day, no one is watching. I mean, absolutely nobody is watching that show. Why? It is terrible. It is really terrible.”

To Harrison’s credit, The Bachelor averaged 8 million viewers last season, and The Bachelorette this season averaged south of 7 million weekly viewers, up 4 percent from its previous cycle. Airing at 10 o’clock, UnREAL draws a tenth of that — averaging 700,000 viewers and peaking at 815K (with its series launch).

That said, the Lifetime drama was co-created by former Bachelor producer Sarah Shapiro, who might know a thing or two about what goes on behind closed doors. As for the show being “terrible,” its critical acclaim and early Season 2 renewal say otherwise.

“You only do that when you are part of the vernacular,” Harrison adds, comparing UnREAL to Bachelor spoofs on Saturday Night Live. “If not, you can’t make a joke. It’s a sign of respect. The way that UnREAL took it, it wasn’t a sign of respect. They were trying to take it another direction, but it doesn’t work that way.”

Time to pick a side, TVLine readers: Are you Team UnREAL or Team Bachelor? Vote below, then drop a comment with your rationale.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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70 Comments
  1. Abe Froman says:

    Funny, that’s the word I use to describe The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

  2. Sam says:

    I’ve admittedly only seen two episodes of UnReal, but it seems totally legit. I have no trouble believing that’s how reality television actually works. I’m not a Bachelor watcher, but I’ve seen quite a bit of Project Runway/Top Chef/Drag Race etc. and interviews with the contestants tend to be in the same vein as what UnReal is saying.

  3. Al says:

    Dude needs to relax and get a life. For god sake his show is far from quality.

    • Sam says:

      Yeah, for someone who has given his life to mid-level reality TV fakery, he’s convinced his horse is really high.

  4. CJ says:

    Thank you for this perfect, perfect headline. UnREAL is so great.

    • Claire says:

      Hahaha. No unbiased reporting here!

    • Mike M says:

      But it was an AWFUL headline. Andy called him a “host”. That’s TOTALLY the wrong four letter word lol.

      I scoffed at at least three reviews saying UnREAL was great / the best new show of 2015. At week three I gave in and watch the pilot. I hate being so wrong, but who cares when it comes with such a great reward.

      The Bachelor… ha, more like the Bullsh…er Mr Harrison.

  5. Diane says:

    I’m watching and love it! Watched 5 minutes of the bachelor, once.

  6. wrstlgirl says:

    What a jerk. Worse yet a jerk with an unsubstantiated ego, lol.

  7. Simon says:

    I’ve always disliked this guy. It’s sad he’s famous and has producers credits because of this drivel. You Sir are no Jeff Probst!!! I get it that’s he’s loving being paid lots of cash for “hosting” this garbage but the fact that it puts him in a league of TV hosts and producers is degrading.
    Maybe I’m just biased because I loathe this TV show sooooo much and cannot even watch it outta irony or to hate watch.

    • Alex says:

      Don’t worry he hasn’t even been nominated for an Emmy. The best host on ABC is Tom Bergeron and he is far from that

  8. Amanda says:

    Mr. Harrison seems overly defensive. I watch UnReal which is awesome. (I must be a nobody.) I’ve never watched the Bachelor franchise & don’t plan on it.

  9. TVFan says:

    Sounds like the gentleman doth protest too much.

  10. Robby says:

    Harrison, you have nothing to crow about. Remember TVG? That ‘survivor’ promo? Leapfrog?

  11. Kate says:

    Pop someone is being exposed and doesn’t like that so he starts to talk numbers. He needs to know that the difference is that out of the 8 millions probably half of the people watch The Bachelor because it’s a freaking comedy to watch. Also The Bachelor is aired in a bigger network. Can he please give me the stats of all the couples? How many married or are sill together? #TeamUnREAL

    • cadetpink says:

      I had actually caught my 93 yr old grandfather ‘watching’ the show (bachelor/ette) I forget which, but he only was watching it b/c he forgot to change the channel from the news- I imagine a lot of their ‘ratings’ are from people who don’t even realize they’re sleeping through a show…

      • Mike M says:

        Yep, and it’s deliberate, the Nielsen boxes are wired to only register viewers that have been soundly asleep for at least ten minutes lol

  12. wrstlgirl says:

    The results of that poll are cracking me up, hahahaha!!!!!

  13. Scott says:

    I find UnReal really entertaining

  14. Gilded Lady says:

    Terribly awesome.

    Fixed it for him.

  15. Joey says:

    I don’t watch either, but I’ve actually heard good things about UnREAL. Funny that he’s talking about ratings because let’s see…one is on a major network, ABC, and another is on Lifetime.

    Wow, it’s so hard to imagine a show on ABC, as horrible as it is, getting higher ratings. /sarcasm

  16. Wordsmith says:

    I can see why he might be a bit peeved – his counterpart on the fake show comes across as a bit of a vapid robot.

  17. Kiki says:

    The Bachelor franchise is a blight on humanity. I used just to feel sorry for the people on it. Now I feel worse for the people who watch it.

    • Mary says:

      Never understood how people can waste their time watching The Bachelor Franchise or the Kardashians for that matter. Oh Well no accounting for taste. Life must be really boring.

  18. 2Blessed says:

    I like UnReal so :/

  19. Paulina says:

    Thanks for reminding me that I need to watch this show — UnREAL, that is. From the descriptions, it sounds spot-on when it comes to how these ‘reality’ shows do a number on the minds and emotions of the participants.

    Chris Harrison is way too kitchen-sink in his attempts to dismiss. It’s awful, and done disrespectfully, and nobody watches it anyway, etc. That’s not the reaction of someone who feels confident.

    • cadetpink says:

      best to watch at this point, in binge form- its so good and if I weren’t with it from the start (which was AMAZING to get the first 4 episodes to binge watch- they knew what they were doing by giving that kind of head start) but you won’t regret the time investment!!

  20. VJ says:

    Well, I don’t know if nobody watches the show. I’m pretty sure I’m watching and enjoying it so far. As far as Bachelor or Bachelorette go: I’ve only ever catched a glimpse of the German version when I could not find my remote control fast enough and it seemed a pretty terrible show concept by itself. And I don’t know if it is anything like “real” reality tv, but I think it says a lot that I can believe it…

  21. I LOVE LOVE LOVE UnREAL. I understand it is probably exaggerated but not as much as Chris Harrison would like us to believe. I have never and will never watch the Bachelor or Bachelorette but do not miss an episode of UnREAL

  22. rowan77 says:

    It sounds like he’s butt-hurt because it’s poking fun and making hay out of his show. Shapiro worked on The Bachelor and while there is a TON of artistic license on UnReal, it is all for the storytelling. Maybe he’s in a snit because the host of “Everlasting” is an unimportant hack who has no say and he thinks it’s a statement about him.

    I worked in primetime reality television as a producer – for ABC – before switching to scripted and I love watching UnReal. It’s well written and fun to watch. Chris Harrison needs to calm down and stop badmouthing the show. He’s being very petty.

    • Ram510 says:

      In your opinion do you think the shows stories and situations are close to the truth or way off base?

      • Mike M says:

        The story lines are undoubtedly stretched to give maximum dramatic impact, but in reality (pun intended) it simply doesn’t matter, because whether the UnREAL played to the intense over the top scenario results like a suicide or some lesser impact like someone going off and balling their eyes out, the fact is the contestants are being manipulated day in and day out, knowingly and / or unknowingly, at the whims of a production team and network out purely for ratings and advertiser dollars. The contestants knowingly trade that off for the fame, and hope they don’t get blindsided too badly and come away from the show with some kind of image they can turn into money / work etc.

        The Bachelor: Twenty-five chickens in a cage with one rooster… and a half dozen foxes.

      • rowan77 says:

        I think some things are BASED on the truth (Shapiro has admitted to losing her sh!t when she worked on the Bachelor), some things are far flung from the truth and there for dramatic purposes and some things are probably word-for-word. I do know that none of the producers or crew can have anything to do with who the “suitor” chooses. It’s technically a game show, so it cannot be rigged without the government coming down on them. So while the Everlasting has the producers telling the suitor who to chose, that would get you fired. Also, there are no bonuses to manipulating a moment. Instead they take hundreds of hours and have story producers work with the editors to find a narrative – often times cutting in a way to change what actually happened into something. We see a little of that on this show, but not much. To raise the stakes. The girls don’t stay in nice ensuite guest rooms, they are dormatoried with up to six girls in three bunkbeds in each room. They clothes are all their own, as is the make-up and no one on set helps them get ready unless it’s a special event. There’s more, but you get the gist. You have to change things for dramatic purposes and I think the show does a great job with marrying the realistic with the fantastic.

  23. Znachki says:

    Apparently the Unreal portrayal of the host is hitting too close to home?

  24. Tyler says:

    The best part is this are those poll results though.

  25. Lerbert says:

    Not surprised by his feelings about the show since UnREAL (which is excellent) portrays the production of Everlasting (The Bachelor) as about equivalent to the eighth circle of hell. It is surprising that he voices this to Variety. What’s that going to achieve?

  26. Dennis says:

    Wow what a dooshbag. Shiri you are wonderful and loved don’t listen to this dirtbag!

  27. Grace says:

    Team UnReal. So so so Team UnReal. If it hadn’t hit close to home, why would he be upset?

  28. I’ve watched far more UnReal than I have The Bachelor

  29. Ginger Snap says:

    I love unReal. I think The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are stupid and Chris Harrison should get a real job.

  30. cadetpink says:

    I LOVED UnReal, thought it was EXTREMELY well done, from both sides, seeing the production manipulating everything behind the scenes (exaggerated atmitedly but I believe is rooted in some truth) and also the way that these shows use psychology against their participants. I also really liked the tension between Rachel and her ex moreso than the ‘suitor’ but thats me…Something else I really did like was that this show wasn’t afraid to go ‘dark’, it touched on A LOT of social underpinnings that are relevant as hell today WAAAY moreso than the contrived DONE TO DEATH Bachelor/Bachelorette series as I think they ran their courses years ago…

    Looking forward to more of the show- wish they weren’t using the same ‘suitor’ but whatever- I’m sure it will be as engaging as the first season and the ONLY regret was Quinns in that I wish that Britney got to stay around a bit longer (we never got to see the uber-amped-up-ceremonies, which I wish we got a bit more of- but only so much can be put into an hour….)

  31. Holli says:

    Didn’t Chris Harrison date a former Bachelor contestant after divorcing his wife of 18 years? Where there’s smoke …

  32. MR says:

    I beg to differ Chris, this is my new favorite show. I have never seen the Bachelor and don’t plan to. It’s garbage and a joke. I watch on demand so I am sure others watch at their convenience so I’m sure those numbers are wrong.

  33. mooshki says:

    I think the main reason UnREAL doesn’t have great ratings yet is because it’s such a different direction for Lifetime. It’s really smart of them to make it so easily accessible for binge-watching; I hope word-of-mouth will bring on lots more viewers by season 2.

  34. For a show on lifetime, the ratings are actually pretty good and i’m sure chris understands and is fully aware that it is a critical as well as ratings hit (for lifetime) so the fact that he is so BITTER and DEFENSIVE proves that the show is probably correct in most of the aspersions it has cast on the bachelor franchise as being a fraud and a show more concerned with drumming up drama and ratings than actually finding true love. don’t be so bitter and obvious chris. my wife niyla styers eyes were opened wide once she realized how these reality love hows twisted and thickened the drama to fill up air time and stretch out over weeks and weeks,

  35. For a show on lifetime, the ratings are actually pretty good and i’m sure chris understands and is fully aware that it is a critical as well as ratings hit (for lifetime) so the fact that he is so BITTER and DEFENSIVE proves that the show is probably correct in most of the aspersions it has cast on the bachelor franchise as being a fraud and a show more concerned with drumming up drama and ratings than actually finding true love. don’t be so bitter and obvious chris. my wife niyla styers eyes were opened wide once she realized how these reality love shows twisted and thickened the drama to fill up air time and stretch out over weeks and weeks, and while she loves getting filled up by thick meaty Drama, she also now sees the bachelor franchise for what it really is

  36. maggie says:

    Respect is not a word that anyone has for The Bachelor. People watch The Bachelor to laugh at the people on the show. It’s a ridiculous show, and people wait for the trainwrecks to happen.

  37. dan says:

    And, he just did UnReal a huge favor, giving the show tons of publicity. He would have been smarter saying nothing.

  38. Liz says:

    Lol, I don’t think their goal was to “show respect” to the Bachelor!
    And anyway, I love Shiri Appleby since her performance as Liz in Roswell, so…

  39. Lexi says:

    Hey Harrison thanks for the free advertising!!!

  40. EM says:

    I’m guessing the last Unreal which showed the fake hot air balloon and body double horse back riders were too much for him. For him to say “absolutely nobody is watching” is a joke. He’s obviously seen it to make comments about it. Bet he watches Unreal every week! Thanks for a good laugh this morning Andy.

  41. Delirious says:

    I don’t watch either show, but I can say, that Harrison dude sure sounds like an idiot… Especially because, you know, it’s not like it seems he’s using the other show to get some free press (may they need it or not), or anything.

  42. LKE says:

    Chris Harrison is wrong! UnREAL is fantastic. Its absolute fiction & everything a juicy summer soap should be.

  43. B says:

    I keep meaning to watch UnReal but somehow the fact that Chris Harrison is complaining about it makes it something I need to catch up on

  44. Tony Lang says:

    They really touched a nerve with this guy, haven’t they? Of Course it’s ALL fiction with NO truth whatsoever, just like Rainier Wolfcastle is a completely fictional cartoon character who just happens to resemble, act and sound like a certain former bodybuilder. As for nobody watching, I checked it out online for the first time this Saturday, and by Sunday I was all caught up. It’s THAT good. Next Season I’m there from the start.

  45. Ram510 says:

    I honestly believe that there’s a level of truth with the stories and situations that happen on UnReal. Probably not every second of the show but a lot of it.
    Perhaps he doesn’t like the way the show portrays him, cause he comes off as a souless sleezy that only cares about himself/image and will sleep with anything that moves

  46. lucy says:

    I know someone who has been on a reality show as a contestant and according to her they really do a lot of things to stress you out and make you seem a bit crazy for good tv

  47. sunflower says:

    Just finished watching Unreal, LOVE it! great drama and intriguing! I have never watched Bachelor/ette either.

  48. Jeri says:

    I watch Unreal but have no desire to watch any of the dating shows. You hear way too much about them even though you have no interest, they are everywhere. UnReal is must see entertaining and does not pretend to be anything but entertainment.

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