There’s bad blood brewing between Chris Harrison, longtime host of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and Lifetime’s new scripted hit UnReal.
Co-created by former Bachelor producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, UnReal chronicles the behind-the-scenes drama, tensions and on-screen/off-screen manipulations of a fictional, Bachelor-style reality dating show Everlasting. Critically acclaimed, the show’s storylines aren’t for the faint of heart – in one of its most shocking moments, an Everlasting contestant commits suicide.
Let’s just say, Harrison isn’t a fan.
“Really, the main difference that I’ve seen is that people watch The Bachelor,” he told Variety. “[UnReal is] complete fiction.”
The 44-year-old TV personality believes the respective ratings for UnReal and The Bachelor franchise tell the tale.
“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,” he said. “I mean, absolutely nobody is watching that show. Why? It is terrible. It is really terrible.”
UnReal, which has been renewed for a second season, debuted on June 1 to 815,000 total viewers, while The Bachelorette finale on Monday attracted 8.1 million viewers.
Though Harrison has issues with the Lifetime show, he does appreciate parodies of The Bachelor franchise on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show, and even Yahoo’s parody, Burning Love.
“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,” Harrison explained. “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.”
“I respected [Burning Love] because they used their skills to do that,” he added. “But UnReal is just a really bad attempt, and they got what they deserved, and that is no one is watching the show.”
Constance Zimmer, star of UnReal spoke to ETonline just as the season was getting underway about whether the process of filming the show has changed her perception of shows such as The Bachelor of The Bachelorette.
“Whether you watched reality television or not before watching our show, I think that it’s going to draw people back to reality television because you’re going to want to watch as a viewer and see if you can spot the manipulation and the editing,” Zimmer said. “Being far more aware of it now, you might watch the show differently. I don’t think it’ll make them not watch them, that’s for sure.”
The Bachelorette's Kaitlyn Bristowe and Shawn Booth, newly engaged, spoke to ET following the finale about their future.