‘The Bachelor’ Finale Wasn’t Staged, Says Creator

Addressing the biggest TV-related controversy of the week, the creator of ABC’s The Bachelor says that this season’s outrageous finale wasn’t staged, and that Bachelor Jason Mesnick dumped Melissa Rycroft and went back to Molly Malaney all of his own accord.

Mike Fleiss tells People that the shocking After the Rose special in which Mesnick broke off his engagement and reunited to his runner-up was ” a remarkable twist.”

Fleiss says accusations that the switcheroo was planned from the beginning in a bid for media attention are “patently untrue.”

“It was [Jason’s] choice in New Zealand who he proposed to,” Fleiss elaborates, noting that things changed after the finale’s rose ceremony: “[Mesnick] was not in love with Melissa anymore and he was in love with Molly and he needed to make a change.”

Fleiss says that he learned a week after Mesnick’s proposal that Mesnick and Rycroft were not getting along. He adds that, at that time, he was trying to convince runner-up Molly to be the new Bachelorette. (The job went to third place girl Jillian Harris.)

“My first thought was, ‘Oh, too bad,'” Fleiss recalls. “My next thought was, ‘Wow, that’s almost too good!’ At that point, the decision was made to bring all three parties into the studio to film After the Final Rose, the most shocking After the Final Rose in Bachelor history. It was never anyone’s plan.”

“We couldn’t not show that,” Fleiss says. Of course not. This is reality television, after all.

Readers, have your say in our poll: Was Jason Mesnick’s flip-flop staged, or was it a genuine change of heart?