Casting director finds the femmes to fit the field

'The Bachelor' at 10

Each season “The Bachelorcasting director Lacey Pemberton fields thousands of inquiries from enthusiastic single women angling to find true love with the reality show’s leading man.

“At the end of the show we put a card up asking people to submit themselves or nominate somebody,” says Pemberton, whose enormous task is to whittle that pool of thousands down to 25 contestants. “At this point we already have the bachelor in place, and we’ll look at all of the submissions — their photos and tapes, if they’ve submitted that — and we’ll call them about the next step.”

What Pemberton looks for in a potential candidate is a “special spark,” a certain quality that sets her apart from the other would-be fiancees, one of whom will snag a rose and a ring in the season’s always highly anticipated finale.

“There has to be something interesting about the girl that makes me want to watch her, a certain energy,” says Pemberton of the audition process, which lasts about seven months (casting for “The Bachelorette” lasts about five). “I do many long interviews on the phone and in person to see if they might be a natural match for the chosen bachelor.

“You never know what kind of chemistry is going to be there. It’s like going on a blind date. It all looks great paper, but you have no idea what’s going to happen, which is what makes the show so much fun.”

The Bachelor” exec producer Martin Hilton, who gives the final stamp of approval on all women selected, reveals that many times the women he thinks are going to be perfect wind up “withering” when it comes time for their on-camera interview.

“Going into it we have an image in our heads of what type of person we want to cast,” says Hilton, “but what we wind up liking can be the complete opposite of that original image. We look for people who are able to be themselves, sometimes in spite of themselves. You may love someone but if they’re not able to communicate who they are while the cameras are rolling, it’s never going to work.”

The “sincerity” of the collective cast is what makes “Bachelor” such a grand success, says Hilton.

“These women have to affect both the bachelor and the audience watching them,” he points out. “Each woman chosen must have a certain authenticity and a willingness to fall in love.”

‘The Bachelor’ at 10
‘Bachelor’ brought roses to Warners | Harrison comfy as mentor, matchmaker | Casting director finds the femmes to fit the field | Auds engaged to romance-friendly franchise

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix has drops the first trailer for “The Politician,” and “Killing Eve” adds two to its cast for season 3.  CASTING Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani, both alums of “The Crown,” are set to join the cast of “Killing Eve” for its third season. British writer Suzanne Heathcote, whose past credits include [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Disneyland

    Disney Shares Slip Amid Reported Whistleblower Allegations of Inflated Revenue

    Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst for Disney’s revenue operations unit, says she has filed a series of whistleblower tips with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that the entertainment conglomerate repeatedly and systematically overstated its revenue for years, according to a MarketWatch report, by as much as $6 billion in a single [...]

  • Bob Bakish Joe Ianniello

    ViacomCBS Sets Board Members; Bob Bakish, Joe Ianniello New Deals Disclosed

    ViacomCBS has unveiled the 13 members of its board of directors and details of new employment contracts for president-CEO Bob Bakish and CBS chairman-CEO Joe Ianniello. The disclosure came Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, six days after Viacom and CBS at long last set an all-stock merger agreement valued at [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content