Bachelor in Paradiseis about to kick off its fifth season -- much to Chris Harrison’s surprise.
“There definitely was a time I thought that the show might not come back. I mean any show, as we just learned in recent history, you are one catastrophic event away from being gone,” he told ET’s Lauren Zima as filming began on Paradise season five. “I always understood that about this business, and were all tenuous at best, we’re all replaceable, and that television, that this business, it's a crazy crazy business.”
Bachelor Nation watched as Paradise became embroiled in one of the year’s biggest sex scandals, months before the multitude of exposes detailing sexual misconduct across the industry.
In Paradise’s case, it was a producer who reported sexual misconduct between two contestants, Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, on day one of filming season four. Warner Bros. quickly halted production while they investigated the alleged encounter. Nine days later, the studio announced that they hadn’t found any evidence of misconduct, and season four was back in action. Harrison, who has hosted The Bachelor and its many spinoffs since 2002, couldn’t be “more grateful.”
“It’s never lost on me that something like last summer could be bigger than it was,” he confessed. “Luckily, we have some great people at the helm and we dove in, myself included, got our hands dirty and fixed it and solved the problem and everybody came back. It goes, I think, a long way in showing how everyone trust and love us that they come back and they believe this can work.”
“I mean as soon as we got back last summer, I was like, ‘OK, what's the dynamic going to be?’ And everybody got right back to it, and I’m like, ‘We’re fine,’” he added.
Olympios and Jackson didn’t return to film the rest of the season, but it did produce one lasting relationship, between Raven Gates and Adam Gottschalk. Harrison is hoping for even more connections in season five -- but not above the safety of the cast and crew.
“First and foremost... is making sure everybody is safe, feels comfortable, and has a good time, but the right kind of good time, where everybody is in on it and in on the joke and knows what’s happening,” Harrison said. “But Bachelor in Paradise is always about fun, because it’s not The Bachelor and Bachelorette, you all sign back up for this, it's like summer camp. It’s all the people you know and love -- and some you don’t know or love them as much -- but it's about having a good time.”
As for what advice Harrison had for contestants after their time on the show, it’s unsurprisingly to watch it on social media.
“If I could take something out of this world it would be social media,” he shared, a note that has particular poignancy after Garrett Yrigoyen’s Instagram scandal, though Harrison insisted it had nothing to do with it. “Just thinking about my kids and what they are growing up with, and look even the crap I deal with and I’m a 46-year-old man… I got thick skin and I've been in this business for a long time.”
“One pitfall I talk to all our Bachelor and Bachelorettes [about] is -- I just had the same discussion with Becca [Kufrin] -- don’t let this world change who you just were. Still be that sweet girl from Minneapolis,” he continued. “Let it enhance your life, if you can sell some things, people are going to give you money, why not? But just be careful, because it is a slippery slope, it is a very slippery slope, and I've seen a lot of our former contestants fall into it and you get this kind of weird life and it’s not your life anymore.”
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Bachelor in Paradise premieres Tuesday, Aug. 7. See more in the video below, and join ET's Bachelor Nation Facebook group here.
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