The popular reality TV show, “The Bachelor,” is a television dating show on ABC. And its popularity is evident through its spinoff shows: “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor Pad,” “Bachelor in Paradise,” “The Bachelor Winter Games,” and “The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart.” 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about “The Bachelor.” 

“The Bachelor”: The Basics

Since 2002, this U.S.-based reality TV show has captivated fans of drama and suspense. “The Bachelor” centers around a single bachelor and potential partners. The show’s goal is for the bachelor to find the love of his life and marry her. Most seasons have as many as 25 romantic interests for the bachelor, although there have been exceptions. 

Related: Guide to “The Bachelor” in 2021: Season 25

“The Bachelor” starts off with a group of love interests who the bachelor meets, goes on dates with, and is expected to choose one to marry at the end of the season. After events, dates, and interactions with the women on the show, the bachelor gives a rose to those he wants to remain. 

Occasionally, there are some exceptions to the elimination rule. Particularly, although the bachelor has a number of roses to give each episode, he can choose to give less or more depending on his feelings. Moreover, he might not decide to propose after giving the final rose and instead pursue a relationship. Sometimes, a potential love interest who might not have received a rose can return and plead her case. 

Show Format

The contestants have three types of activities to make an impression on the bachelor: group dates, one-on-one dates, and two-on-one dates. Those who don’t get a rose are eliminated. 

When multiple contestants participate in an activity like a competition, they participate in a group date. After a competition, winners can be rewarded with additional time with the bachelor.  Once the group date is over, the bachelor usually gives a rose to a woman who has made a good impression. 

Another option is a one-on-one date. The bachelor and a woman of his choosing go on a solo date to get to know each other. Toward the end of the season, one-on-one dates have a rose at stake. Girls who don’t receive a rose are immediately eliminated. During the earlier episodes, the bachelor hosts a cocktail party at the end of an episode and gives the woman a first-impression rose. Toward the end of the season, the girls must pack a bag for a one-on-one date in case they don’t receive a rose and are eliminated. 

The last option, the two-on-one date, involves two women on a date with the bachelor. The stakes are high with this style of date, as only one of the women will receive a rose at the end of the date. Whoever doesn’t receive a rose is sent home immediately. 

At the end of every episode comes the rose ceremony. Those who haven’t yet accepted a rose stand at the end of the room. The bachelor, holding a tray of roses, calls each woman by name and asks, “Will you accept this rose?” After all the roses have been accepted, the host tells the women who didn’t receive a rose to say goodbye. 

During the final episodes, the bachelor meets the families of the four women remaining. After meeting the families, one woman is eliminated. The three remaining women and the bachelor go to a new location for one-on-one dates. When each date is finished, the bachelor gives the woman a key unlocking the fantasy suite. With no cameras present, the bachelor and a woman can spend a night together. Once this portion of the season is complete, another woman is eliminated. 

When there are two women left, they have an episode called, “The Women Tell All.” During this episode, all the women who’ve been eliminated talk about their experience. This talk show allows the women to give their thoughts and unique insights into the season.

After this episode, the two remaining women get to meet the bachelor’s family. Here, the bachelor gets to see how his love interests interact with his family and get to know them more deeply. At the end of the episode, the bachelor gives one of the women the final rose. Typically, he proposes with the final rose; however, there have been instances in which the bachelor chooses to date the woman instead. 

Immediately following this episode comes the “After the Final Rose” episode. In this final episode, the bachelor, finalist, and runner-up talk about the experience. “After the Final Rose” is an exciting episode, as we get more insight into how the girls and bachelor are feeling and sometimes find out the next season’s bachelor or even bachelorette. 

Host, Previous Bachelors, and Other Show Personalities

With 25 seasons, “The Bachelor” has had a diverse cast of characters. Here’s everything you need to know about the hosts, previous bachelors, and other key personalities on the show. 

Readers beware. Spoilers ahead. 

Hosts include:

  • Chris Harrison: For almost two decades, Harrison was the host for “The Bachelor” franchise. However, in 2021, he stepped aside from his role after defending a contestant’s racist behavior
  • Emmanuel Acho: Acho is a former NFL linebacker who hosted season 25’s “After the Rose” special following Chris Harrison’s departure from the show. 

Previous bachelors include:

  • Sean Lowe: Lowe was a contestant on the eighth season of “The Bachelorette.” The fan-favorite returned for the 17th season of “The Bachelor.” Unlike previous seasons, Lowe had 26 women to choose from and ended up proposing to Catherine Giudici. They’re still married and have three children together.
  • Ben Higgins: As a contestant for the 11th season of “The Bachelorette,” Higgins returned for the 20th season of “The Bachelor.” By the end of season 20, he had proposed to Lauren Bushnell.  
  • Nick Viall: Finishing runner-up for the 10th season of “The Bachelorette,” Viall was the bachelor for the 21st season of “The Bachelor.” 
  • Arie Luyendyk Jr: A contestant on the eighth season of “The Bachelorette,” Arie returned to Bachelor nation for the 22nd season of “The Bachelor.” He was announced as the next bachelor on “Good Morning America” in September 2017. Following the “After the Final Rose” special, Arie and Lauren Burnham (runner-up) got engaged. Today, they are married with children. 
  • ​Colton Underwood: Colton Underwood, who was on the 14th season of “The Bachelorette” as a contestant, was the bachelor for the 23rd season. At the end of the season, Underwood chose to pursue a relationship with Cassie Randolph.
  • Peter Weber: A contestant of the 15th season of“The Bachelorette,” Weber returned to “The Bachelor” franchise for the 24th season. He proposed to Hannah Ann Sluss at the end of the season; however, the engagement only lasted about a month.  
  • Matt James: James was announced on “Good Morning America” as the 25th bachelor in June 2020. Although he didn’t propose after the season, he chose to date Rachael Kirkconnell. As soon as photos of Kirkconnell at an Antebellum-themed party came to light, their relationship ended. Surprisingly, in May 2021, the Wall Street Journal confirmed they were back together.

Where to Stream

“The Bachelor” can be streamed on several platforms. Platforms include Discovery Plus, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Vudu, and YouTube. Keep in mind that if you want to live stream “The Bachelor,” you’ll need a network to watch it. You can also wait until the day after the episode airs to catch up on Hulu. 

“The Bachelor”: A Breakdown of Each Season

With 263 episodes, 25 seasons, and almost two decades of drama, the dating show has charmed millions. In fact, the season finale of Season 25 had 6.07 million total viewers. Read on to get the highlights of each season and find out where the couples are now. 

Season One

Premiering on March 25, 2002, season one of “The Bachelor” started it all. The first season featured a 31-year-old management consultant, Alex Michel. The production of the initial season only lasted six weeks and resulted in Amanda Marsh receiving the rose. However, Michel didn’t propose to Marsh. 

Season Two

Season two of “The Bachelor” aired on Sept. 25, 2002. Aaron Buerge, a 28-year-old vice president of a family-owned bank chain, was the bachelor for this season. At the end of the season, Buerge proposed to Helene Eksterowicz; however, the relationship only lasted a few weeks. 

Season Three

On March 24, 2003, season three aired. Andrew Firestone, a then 28-year-old sales manager for Firestone Family Estates, was the season’s bachelor. Jen Schefft received the final rose, yet the relationship lasted only several months.

Season Four

Bob Guiney, who was rejected by Trista Rehn on season one of “The Bachelorette,” was the bachelor of the fourth season of “The Bachelor.” Airing on Sept. 24, 2003, the season didn’t result in a marriage proposal. Instead, the then 32-year-old business owner gave the rose to Estella Gardinier. Although Guiney didn’t propose to Gardinier, he did give her a promise ring. However, shortly after the show aired, they broke up. 

Season Five

On April 7, 2004, Jesse Palmer’s season premiered. Palmer, a 25-year-old college football player, gave the rose to Jessica Bowlin. The two dated after the dating show, but that didn’t last.

Season Six

Premiering on Sept. 22, 2004, the sixth season of “The Bachelor” featured Byron Velvick. Unlike other seasons, the show had two bachelors. During the first episode, contestants voted for which man they wanted to stay as the bachelor. They chose Velvick, a 39-year-old bass fisherman, who decided to propose to Mary Delgado. After five years together, the pair broke things off. 

Season Seven

Charlie O’Connell, an actor, was the seventh bachelor for the series. O’Connell’s season aired on March 28, 2005. The 30-year-old gave the rose to Sarah Brice. Having decided to pursue a relationship after the show, the pair stayed together until 2010. 

Season Eight

“The Bachelor: Paris,” aired on Jan. 9, 2006. Travis Lane Stork, a medical doctor, was the bachelor for the show’s eighth season. Stork gave the final rose to Sarah Stone and decided to pursue a relationship. Not long after the show aired, the couple parted ways.

Season Nine

“The Bachelor: Rome,” aired on Oct. 2, 2006. Featuring Prince Lorenzo Borghese, the show’s only non-North American to be the bachelor, the season also included 25 American women and two Italian women. At the time, Prince Lorenzo Borghese was a 34-year-old cosmetics entrepreneur. Choosing to give the rose to Jennifer Wilson, the pair dated until January 2007. 

Season 10

Season 10 of “The Bachelor” aired on April 2, 2007.  Better known as “The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman,” the show featured U.S. Navy officer, Andrew Baldwin. Baldwin, who is a sportsman and physician, was a fan favorite. Unlike previous seasons, Baldwin’s season was the first to present a “first impression rose” on night one. 

Giving the rose to Tessa Horst, Baldwin also chose to propose. However, they broke off the engagement a month after the show aired, deciding to date instead. By September 2007, the two broke things off completely. 

Season 11

Featuring 34-year-old Brad Womack, a winemaker from Texas, the season aired on Sept. 24, 2007. During this season, Womack courted 25 women. The season re-aired as a shorter version — “The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons – Ever!”At the final rose ceremony, Womack became the first bachelor not to choose any of the contestants. 

Season 12

“The Bachelor: London Calling” featured Matt Grant. The 27-year-old British bachelor’s season premiered on March 17, 2008. The second non-American and first British bachelor, Grant courted 25 women from the U.S. Choosing to propose to Shayne Lamas, the two eventually cut things off. 

Season 13

Premiering on Jan. 5, 2009, the 13th season featured 32-year-old Jason Mesnick. Mesnick, a single parent, was the runner-up for season four of “The Bachelorette.” Proposing to Melissa Rycroft, the two eventually called off the relationship. Mesnick then chose to pursue Molly Malaney, the runner-up. Jason and Molly were married on March 8, 2010, and welcomed their first-born daughter in March 2013. 

Season 14

“The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love” premiered on Jan. 4, 2010. Jake Pavelka, a 31-year-old pilot, courted 25 women. Previously on the fifth season of “The Bachelorette,” Pavelka found love with Vienna Girardi. Although Girardi received the final rose, the couple broke up in June 2010. 

Season 15

Airing on Jan. 3, 2011, this season of “The Bachelor”featured Brad Womack. Womack, who was the bachelor in season 11, got another chance at love with 30 women. Womack proposed to Emily Maynard. While their season was airing, they broke up, but got back together after the finale. Then, in May 2011, they broke up for the final time. 

Season 16

Premiering on Jan. 2, 2012, this season focused on Ben Flajnik. Flajnik, a winemaker and owner of Envlove wines, was 28 at the time. Although he was rejected by Ashley Herbert on “The Bachelorette,” he got another chance at love in his own season. At the end of the season, Ben Flajnik proposed to Courtney Robertson. However, they ended up calling off the engagement. 

Season 17

Sean Lowe, a former Kansas State football player, was the featured bachelor for the 17th season. Airing on Jan. 7, 2013, the season ended with Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici engaged. On Jan. 26, 2014, the two married. Today, they have three children. 

Season 18

Season 18 aired on Jan. 6, 2014. Juan Pablo Galavis, the first Hispanic bachelor, was a former Venezuelan soccer player. Giving the final rose to Nikki Ferrell, Galavis decided not to propose at the end of the series. Later that year, the two decided to part ways. 

Season 19

Featuring Chris Soules, a farmer from Arlington, Iowa, the 19th season premiered on Jan. 5, 2015. In the final episode, Soules chose to propose to Whitney Bischoff. After six months together, the couple broke up. 

Season 20

Ben Higgins, a software salesman, was the featured bachelor for season 20. Premiering on Jan. 4, 2016, the season resulted with Higgins proposing to Lauren Bushnell. After their engagement, the two were featured in their own spin-off “Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?”However, they ended their relationship in May 2017. 

Season 21

Airing on Jan. 2, 2017, this season featured Nick Viall. The 36-year-old software sales executive proposed to Vanessa Grimaldi. Nonetheless, in August of that same year, they ended their engagement. 

Season 22

Arie Luyendyk Jr., the bachelor of season 22, is a race car driver. The then 36-year-old proposed to Becca Kufrin. Kufrin and Luyendyk pursued a relationship. However, this didn’t pan out, as Luyendyk had residual feelings for the runner-up, Lauren Burnham. Today, Lauren and Arie have a daughter together. 

Season 23

Colton Underwood, a former NFL player, was the 23rd bachelor. Underwood’s season aired on Jan. 7, 2019. The then 26-year-old was rejected by Becca Kufrin on “The Bachelorette” but got another shot at love. Although he pursued a relationship with Cassie Randolph, the relationship didn’t last. 

Season 24

Featuring 28-year-old Peter Weber, a pilot who Hannah Brown rejected on “The Bachelorette,” Weber fell for another Hannah. Pilot Pete’s season aired on Jan. 6, 2020, and resulted in him proposing to Hannah Ann Sluss. However, the two eventually split. 

Season 25

Season 25 of “The Bachelor” premiered on Jan. 4, 2021. Matt James, an entrepreneur and real estate broker, was supposed to be a contestant in “The Bachelorette’s” 16th season. Deciding to pursue a relationship with Rachael Kirkconnell, the relationship has been tumultuous. After breaking up due to Rachael attending an Antebellum-themed party in the past, they decided to get back together. 

“The Bachelor” FAQs

Whether you’re an avid fan of “The Bachelor” or wondering why everyone talks about who received a rose Tuesday morning, we’ll answer any unanswered questions you might have about the reality series. So, keep reading to get the facts on some common questions. 

What Time Does “The Bachelor” Come On?

The Bachelor airs at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on ABC. Episodes usually run about 85 minutes and air on Monday evenings. 

When Do New Seasons of “The Bachelor” Usually Start?

While the earlier seasons aired in different months, seasons 13 through 25 aired in January. Season 26 of “The Bachelor” is rumored to premiere in January 2022 but could be delayed. 

Who Were the Latest Winners of “The Bachelor?”

Rachel Kirkconnell, a 24-year-old graphic designer from Cumming, Georgia, won the most recent season of “The Bachelor.” Although Matt James, who was the bachelor in the most recent season, and Kirkconnell broke up after the show, they are back together

Who Won “The Bachelor” With Colton Underwood?

Cassie Randolph, a California native, was not ready to get engaged to Colton Underwood at the end of the season. By March 2020, both announced via Instagram they were no longer together. 

Can You Watch “The Bachelor” Live Without Cable?

Yes, “The Bachelor” can be streamed on multiple platforms. However, since “The Bachelor” airs on ABC, you’ll need a network to watch it. Livestream “The Bachelor” on YouTube TV, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, or AT&T TV Now. 

Get All the Latest Updates on “The Bachelor” From BuddyTV

Interested in keeping the love alive? Get updates on Season 26 of “The Bachelor” and upcoming news about “The Bachelor” nation with BuddyTV.

Heather Reinblatt

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV