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'Bachelor' scandal (male producer + female contestant) sounds familiar...

Bachelor host Chris Harrison has confirmed that a male producer on the show started a relationship with a female contestant as she began filming her “journey” with Jake Pavelka. Harrison — who’ll address the “scandal” in his weekly post-show blog on EW.com tonight (it unfolds on next week’s episode) — told the radio show Valentine in the Morning that both the producer and the contestant were asked to leave the ABC dating show, usmagazine reports. “This was the rare time that before I had to go talk to the girl, Jake and then the women, I had lawyers, psychologists, producers, executives saying, ‘Okay, these are the words you can say,’” Harrison said of the uncomfortable situation. “It was intense. It was a wild night.” Harrison didn’t know if the couple was still together.

I have two thoughts:

First and foremost, this sounds like the plot of the 2004 ABC Family original movie I Want to Marry Ryan Banks (pictured below Pavelka). That’s the one in which Jason Priestley plays Ryan, a bad boy actor who tries to change his image by looking for love on a Bachelor-style show that allows America to vote on the match. Ryan’s best friend/manager Todd (Bradley Cooper) knows it will be best for Ryan if he ends up with the sane contestant, Charlie (Emma Caulfield), so he spends extra time with her trying to make her feel comfortable so she’ll stay on the show — and they fall in love. Ryan finds out about it and secretly turns it into part of the show. I find it interesting that Bachelor EP Mike Fleiss didn’t wait for Jake to figure this one out on his own when he normally keeps his Bachelors and Bachelorettes in the dark on contestants’ love lives. But that man is smart. He saw “good TV” (and headlines) and went for it.

Secondly, I’m not sure I consider this a scandal. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, of course. But the fact is, this woman probably got to spend way more time with the producer than she did with Jake since he’s also courting 24 other women. Just because she showed up for Jake doesn’t mean she’s going to feel a “connection” with him. It’s a matter of whether she acknowledged the lack of chemistry or tried to fake it to stay on TV, and whether the producer came forward or got caught. “It was a little bit of both,” Harrison teased.

What do you think? Scandal or no scandal?

Reminder: Look for Harrison’s blog, along with Kristen Baldwin’s full episode recap, after 1 a.m. ET.

More Bachelor:
Chris Harrison’s 10 Favorite Bachelor/Bachelorette moments!
Chris Harrison on how much of The Bachelor is faked and other burning questions

Photo credit: ABC

Originally posted January 4 2010 — 5:41 PM EST

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