‘The Bachelor’ revisits its past in retrospective series

ABC summer show condenses past rounds of series

Chris Harrison hosts “The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever!,” premiering Monday on ABC.

At a time when broadcast television is challenged for fresh programming, “The Bachelor” is a gift that keeps on giving.

Though the coronavirus pandemic postponed production of the next season of “The Bachelorette,” the ABC franchise yielded the previously taped “The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart” — and now, it’s mining its past for something new. Premiering Monday, June 8, “The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever!” finds host and producer Chris Harrison encapsulating an entire season of the reality dating show in each three-hour episode. Doing his new segments from home, he adds present-day perspective to what happened back then.

“We’ve talked about getting back to our old seasons and somehow showcasing them,” the ever-genial Harrison says. “Especially after 18 years, a lot of the people in our audience either weren’t born yet or just weren’t old enough to watch the show back then … but we thought, ‘OK. How do we present this?’

“We’re going to do it in kind of a modern way,” reasons Harrison, “more of a flashback with one season in one night, and we’re also going to reach back and reconnect with some of the people. This has been a long time coming, but as soon as the quarantine hit, we thought this would be a great time to do it.”

Condensing a whole season of “The Bachelor” into one broadcast isn’t easy, Harrison notes: “To cram 10 weeks of a show into less than three hours (allowing for commercials) is a massive undertaking. And don’t think of it as linear storytelling; it’s more like categorized segments where we hit the big highlights.”

With the many colorful participants who have come through “The Bachelor” — some of whom went on to spinoffs including “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” — Harrison allows that choosing which seasons to revisit “is like picking my favorite child.

“Some are easier than others, but these are the Mount Rushmores of our seasons that people still really love and talk about. There’s Sean Lowe, and Trista (Rehn Sutter), who was the first ‘Bachelorette,’ and Jason Mesnick’s season that was so dramatic. These were just pivotal, because of the characters who came out of them.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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