'The Bachelor' exec producer talks reality TV
The executive producer of the Bachelor/Bachelorette, Mike Fleiss takes part in a seminar at the Banff World Media Festival on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Graveland
BANFF, Alta. - In a revelation that will likely come as a shock to few TV viewers, the executive producer of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" says many reality shows are rigged.
Still, Mike Fleiss insists that his long-running programs don't fall into that category.
"I think most of the shows are fake," Fleiss said during an interview at the Banff World Media Festival. He added that the creators of "The Bachelor" "really, really kill ourselves and spend a lot of money and time to make sure that it's real."
Fleiss joked that his career almost ended after he introduced "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" in 2000.
The Fox Network reality show in which multi-millionaire Rick Rockwell asked Darva Conger to marry him once made TV Guide's list of worst TV shows of all time.
Fox later learned an ex-girlfriend accused Rockwell of hitting her, and Conger asked for an annulment.
Fleiss said despite its failings the show did eventually lead to "The Bachelor/Bachelorette" franchise which is now into its 16th season.
Fleiss said other reality shows currently on the air are loosely scripted and that situations are planted into the environment so that things seem "more shocking."
"It's not completely fake but the best moments of those shows are usually orchestrated," he said.
"If the viewer gets desensitized to these reality TV moments then yes, the stakes have to increase so that forces the producer to try and deliver something that is even higher octane."
He also places some blame on the viewers.
"They're not requiring a pure delivery of non-fiction content. They know it's somewhat fake but they're OK with it."
Fleiss acknowledges some instalments of "The Bachelor" franchise have worked better than others. He said the last season of "The Bachelor" was kind of soft and there weren't enough "memorable moments."
"I just want to care about the show. I won't do a show just to do a show. I want to make something I would be interested in."
Fleiss revealed he is currently working on two new reality series that will air on cable as opposed to the major networks.
He said one is about "nerds" and the other will be about people's obsessions.