Chris Harrison Reflects on Bachelor in Paradise Sex Scandal, Says He Thought the Show Was Over
In June 2017, a sexual encounter between two contestants — both of whom were drinking heavily that day — briefly shut down the Bachelor/ette summer spin-off
In June 2017, a sexual encounter between contestants Corinne Olympios, 26, and DeMario Jackson , 31 — both of whom were drinking heavily that day — briefly shut down the Bachelor/ette summer spin-off, which places franchise alums in an elaborate game of romantic musical chairs in Mexico.
Warner Bros. subsequently launched an internal investigation into “allegations of misconduct,” later determining nothing improper had occurred. Production resumed without Olympios and Jackson. (For more on the scandal and its aftermath, here’s everything you need to know.)
Reflecting on the scandal ahead of the season 5 premiere next week, Harrison, 47, said he thought it meant the end of Paradise for good.
“There definitely was a time I thought that the show might not come back,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “I mean any show, as we just learned in recent history, you are one catastrophic event away from being gone. 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.”
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Now, he “couldn’t be more grateful” that the beloved spinoff is going strong.
“It’s never lost on me that something like last summer could be bigger than it was,” he said. “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.
After the incident, production implemented changes, including enforcing a “two drink per hour maximum” for contestants. Harrison told ET that the safety of the cast and crew comes first.
“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,” he 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.”
Bachelor in Paradise season 5 premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.