Do Shows Like “The Bachelor” Actually Work?

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After the end of the last season of “The Bachelor”, host Chris Harrison said, “Obviously, the show works.” In a way, he was right. People put in close proximity for multiple months while going on all expense paid romantic vacations will develop strong feelings for one another. But after the show ends, contestants find that “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” rarely work out as advertised.

The sad truth is that most couples break up within six months of their finale airing. Four couples broke up before their finale and one bachelor (Brad Womack) didn’t even pick a finalist. Sixty three percent of all couples on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” break up within a year. Of those couples who lasted longer than six months, five broke up after a year and two more after multiple years. All told, these dating shows have a 4% success rate.

Now, I’m not counting couples that have gotten together within the last year. Statistically, they aren’t out of the woods. Even if I did count those couples as staying together for the long haul (rather than the months they have been together), “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” would still lead to a break up still lead to a break up 80% of the time. That is not good for a show that “obviously works.”

Let’s look at this from a different and more discouraging angle. Let’s say you want to find love on “The Bachelor.” Let’s guess that 10,000 women apply to be on the show. Your chance to get on the show would be 0.0025%. Once on the show, you would have a 4% chance of being the person who receives the final rose. Add on top of that the 4% chance of finding a life-long love and your personal odds are abysmally low. You would have a better change of winning the Powerball twice in a row than finding love on “The Bachelor.”

That said, the show has led to marriage and a family for five couples. Can it work? Sure. Does it always? Not by a long shot.