‘Bachelor’ Host Chris Harrison Slams Lifetime’s ‘UnREAL’: ‘It’s Really Terrible’

Chris Harrison Unreal
Courtesy of ABC

Monday’s “Bachelorette” finale closed with Kaitlyn Bristowe’s happy ending, but host Chris Harrison doesn’t see a fairytale in Lifetime’s “UnReal,” the scripted series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at a reality TV show modeled after “The Bachelor” franchise.

“Really, the main difference that I’ve seen is that people watch ‘The Bachelor,'” Harrison told Variety when asked what he thinks about “UnReal” at “The Bachelorette: Men Tell All” taping earlier this month. “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.”

Lifetime renewed “UnReal” for Season 2 in early July, after a series-high 0.35 rating in adults 18-49, and the series premiering to 815,000 viewers overall. Last night, “The Bachelorette’s” Season 11 finale averaged a season-high 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.1 million viewers overall.

While talking to Variety, Harrison acknowledged that he does admire some parodies such as those on “Saturday Night Live” or “The Tonight Show” because they validate the “Bachelor” franchise’s cultural impact.

“You only do that when you are part of the vernacular. Because if not, you can’t make a joke. It’s a sign of respect,” he said. “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.”

Harrison also enjoyed the parody series “Burning Love,” exec produced by Ben Stiller. “I respected that because they used their skills to do that. But ‘UnReal’ is just a really bad attempt, and they got what they deserved, and that is no one is watching the show.”

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  1. Sam says:

    Kaitlyn was the worst Bachelorette I have ever seen. She loved her self so much she would not have room to love anyone else. What happened to the real show when Tristen was on. This last episode of the Bachelorette with Kaitlyn was it for me, it was a joke a stupid joke. She was too immature to be on the show number 1 and number 2 this show has become a silly game where people go on just for the notoriety. I won’t watch this again. I Tristen really wanted to find someone she was serious. This Kaitlyn had to try out every guy and she just was not good for the show. I will not watch it again and neither will my friends.

  2. Susan says:

    Ha he’s just peeved that Unreal barely gave their host a second glance and he wasn’t part of the intricate workings on the show. Did they get that right also?

  3. Katherine says:

    LOVE UnReal – it’s appointment television for myself, my husband (who hates most television) and our young adult children. Smartly written and actually riveting…..Chris should actually love it, since I watched the Bachelorette for the first time (in disbelief and awe that UnReal gets it so right) after watching UnReal.

  4. Kathleen says:

    UnReal is riveting and each episode gets better. Wonderful sharp writing, great acting, and a good look at what goes on behind the scenes.

  5. French Woman says:


    a comment from Europe (France exactly)
    This show is amazing. A lot of people watch it here. People are about to make subtitles in french to share it even more in the french speaking part of europe so. Keep your jealousy dude ;)

  6. Jess says:

    Totally watching the show! You are crazy, Chris Harrison. It’s a brilliant show!

  7. Uh Chris EVERYONE is watching and one of your former producers is the director of the show…. so yeah we know it’s real…. just like your show is completely fake. Why else have only 1 of the marriages out of the dozens you created survived???? I also watched The Bachelorette for the first time this season (YAWN) and UnREAL is WAAAY better.

  8. Suburban mom says:

    I live in suburbia….love Unreal. Do you really think we women out here in American believe the crap you sell? Really, it’s nonsense TV that is fun to watch for a laugh. Does it inspire? Does it show women with integrity helping the planet, becoming role models, or are they inspirational in a way that is moving? No. Please. Unreal is absolutely great! It’s hard to explain how touched/and how much I as a woman relate to Unreal.
    I could never relate to the women on your show. Don’t try to kid yourself that women relate or find your show worthy just because of the ratings. How about this? We sit around and laugh about it and then wake up the next day and all is forgotten. I cannot even tell you the names of the people that have been on in past episodes. All their 15 minutes are gone.
    Suburban mom.

  9. Joy1013 says:

    I agree with the comments on here. Love the show! Reality Steve said the executive producer of unreal was the producer for bachelor for 9 YEARS so he definitely knows what goes on behind the scenes of your fake reality show chris! This season was the worst in my opinion. The bachelorette producers are who bullied kaitlyn by showing her with nick, but other contestants did the same thing on past and they didn’t air it. They didn’t have to air it. They wanted to create drama and they can care less about the contestants and only about what gets them the best story and views. Everything is so fake! Even Shawn at the after the rose show told Chris that they didn’t show a lot of what was said between him and nick and instead of focusing on the “drama” between them they should be focusing on the love story. So true! There is so much we don’t see and they manipulate contestants and only show what they want people to see. Kaitlyn said she didn’t want to be bullied but then bullies people right back who say bad things and posts it on her twitter so people can say bad things to that person too. How is that much different? People will post rude thungs to get on her page since she posts up their comments. I would turn a cheek and block them. There is no need to do what she is doing. She is 30 yrs old and we don’t know anything about her. It doesn’t even say on her bio what she does for a job to make money. Just said she used to teach dance but where? Did she get paid? I feel she just was therefor fame like almost every other contestant and more so her because she doesn’t have a job. She already started a website before the show was even over. She dissed reality Steve and said it’s lame that he watches the bachelorette and tells lies, uet she can talk trash about nick or anyone who says anything negative toward her. I’m not talking about the horrible death threats. I’m talking about someone saying she sucks on twitter and her posting that up and saying a rude comment back. That post was from a 15 yr old girl! Real classy. I was a fan of her but not anymore and it has nothing to do with the nick situation. It has everything to do with how she contradicts herself about bullying and how she never was be livable in any way as wanting to find love. It would be a surprise if they lasted. They all milk it for tv appearances and all the ways they can get fame and money and then break up. I hope they do last but it’s the way the show goes. It’s fake and not a way to find true love. Only sean, jason, and trish? The first bachelorette were believable for wanting love and they found it. Desiree was also a good season. I prefer unreal over bachelor and bachelorette any day! Sorry chris. The comments below all agree that people like the show and your being childish

  10. nancy says:

    LOVE Unreal..Harrison is just pissed at how accurately it depicts the behind the scenes reality of the Bachelor franchise. He wants to maintain the myth of course.

  11. Butros B. Golly says:

    It’s unfortunate Mr. Harrison worded his thoughts as he did. He shows his absolute ignorance in such a short read. As they say, “better have people you think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Of the 8.1 million viewers that overall watch the Bachelor franchise, you do know that realistically, likely not even .1 of them believe your show is a for real search for love. UnREAL is a smartly written show, and quite entertaining. I believe they must hit a bit too close to home for your tastes, hence your ridiculous reaction.

  12. earl anderson says:

    Sorry to break it to you Chris, but when SNL or the Tonight show makes fun of you, its not “validation”. They’re laughing AT you. Even those of us that like the show, are laughing AT you. You have the most meaningless job in show business. The limo driver on your show is more valuable. That doofus that plays your part on UnReal? That is a Madam Tussaurds quality likeness of you.

  13. What a big baby. Harrison can’t stand the way UnREAL is making him look, so he has to insult it. He sounds like a ten-year-old kid bragging because the picture he drew is so much better than the one his two-year-old brother drew, when all the adults in the room understand he’s jealous that his little brother is getting so much attention. “MY picture is SO much better than his! Nobody will look at that picture because it’s so bad!”

    People ARE watching UnREAL, Harrison, and they DO like it. A lot.

    “You can go shave your back now.”.

  14. Comparing “The Bachelor” ratings to “UnReal” is pretty irrelevant since UnReal JUST started it’s first season and “The Bachelor” has been around for 30 seasons. Also, “The Bachelor” is on Network television while “UnReal” is on cable. They are 2 completely different entities. Chris Harrison is grasping at straws here and it is making him look like a fool. To say that the show is “terrible” is also saying that every reviewer that has praised the show is “terrible”. Hey, Chris why don’t you leave the TV show reviews to the experts? Stick to what you are good at which is being an ABC puppet.

  15. Christine Pahlmann says:

    UnReal is a great show. Uneasy, yes, but it’s great when a show makes you feel things…as unease.
    And it makes you think…think about how much of it actually reflects reality…at least this goes for anybody with a brain…
    Judging on Mr. Harrison’s reaction…well…he is either not fitted with a brain, or this show nails it too well…and I am not talking about the sex scenes here…

  16. 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,

  17. Jim says:

    Im not sure if he understands, that the pilot did over 8 million viewers on line. Being a scripted show and not a BS reality show that depends on old school media, the binge watch numbers are through the roof.

  18. Rere says:

    Wow. His reaction makes me believe maybe Unreal is a true betrayal of the behind the scenes unethical behavior in filming the Bachelor.

  19. Lucifer says:

    I can see not liking reality shows and realizing they’re fake, there have been numerous documentaries on the subject including ones by VH1 and MTV. However, it’s hypocritical of so many people thinking a scripted drama is “exposing” anything when it’s 100% scripted. How can you claim a reality show is scripted (more like improv) while claiming a scripted show is real and telling truths? And then people try and say that movies and tv shows can embellish truths because the public knows the difference. Idiots all around with this one.

    • Jess says:

      LOL. you obviously don’t understand the use of irony in writing. No one here is an idiot, with one exception.

  20. mcflyer54 says:

    Does anyone honestly believe that “The Bachelor” episodes aren’t edited to create artificial drama, personalities and story lines. Come on Chris the success rate of the resulting couples is terrible and the show is little more than a game show for wannabe models and actors.

  21. tammy says:

    Chris should be the next bachelor. He’s a million times more attractive (especially personality-wise!) than anyone they bring on that show!! :):) Just saying.

  22. Kiki says:

    Anyone associated with The Bachelor franchise claiming it’s better than ANYTHING is a complete joke. Don’t get me started on the horrific show and damaging stereotypes it proliferates.

  23. Michael Anthony says:

    He sounds like some scared little boy, like someone else is moving in on his territory.

    In previous interviews he comes across as someone who wants, no needs, more respect. Sorry Chris, you’dhave more respect if you tipped your hat off to the show. Your show has no respect and an awful track record for “true love”. Maybe SNL will parody you again and show you having a temper tantrum over Unreal. Oh,vabd it has about 40% of your audience. Do the math, if u can.

  24. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black

  25. Great writing. Especially in the first shows. UnREAL is a really good parody and it’s getting good “word of mouth.” Paley Center for Media LA/BH is having a special night this Thursday.

  26. Mike says:

    I’m guessing he doesn’t like UnReal because it exposes how much of a sham his show is.

  27. F U Chris Harrison says:

    The Bachelor is terrible and UnREAL is an exciting and new twist to reality TV!!!

  28. Jim says:

    “It is terrible. It is really terrible,” is an apt description of the Bachelor. Chris, your “program” is a complete joke and deserves the worst ridicule imaginable. I think that you may have spent a little too much time on this show and you’re losing touch with actual “reality.”

  29. Lisa says:

    I love UnReal, can’t stand Bachelor franchise.

  30. Kurt says:

    The host of “The Bachelor” calling out a show for its low quality is beyond hilarious. It’s like Sarah Palin calling someone stupid.

    • Jon Palmer says:

      That was the best analogy yet. Thanks for making me laugh today. Especially, since I just saw that moron Palin on CNN saying that people should “speak American” and that if (when hell freezes over) Trump becomes President she could be his Energy Secretary.

  31. S. A. Matheson says:

    Come on, Chris Harrison, a LOT of people are watching Unreal (see the numbers) and the comparison to Bachelor or BIP are pretty right on if you listen to what the contestants have been saying in interviews. Unreal isn’t the first show to reference the inauthentic way the show is edited. Nice try though.

  32. Interesting says:

    For someone who claims that “no one is watching”, he sure is heated and seems worried about this show’s continued existence. Maybe because it’s hitting a bit too close to home, eh, Chris?

  33. Eric Von Zipper says:

    This Harrison guy is a walking contradiction. He says he values parodies like those on SNL but, for some inexplicable reason, does not feel that UnReal is fitting that criteria. Hello, earth paging Mr. Harrison’s ego – “Your show is a complete manipulation derived from the editing bay.”

    • sammyglick says:

      LOL — yea, Mr. Harrison seems to think that if you’re parodied by SNL, it’s a sign you’ve become part of Pop Culture, but if a scripted series tries to do the same thing, they’re nobodies worth mentioning.

      He’s a well-paid idiot.

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