This January, The Bachelor returns to ABC with Jason Mesnick sitting in the driver’s seat.  Fans have not soon forgotten Mesnick’s heartache when DeAnna Pappas rejected his proposal on the season finale of The Bachelorette this year.  Mesnick is a single dad and it marks the first time that the show has cast a single parent as a Bachelor or BacheloretteThe Bachelorette is also experiencing a major first: for the first time, the show has launched a nationwide search for the woman who will star on their next season.  This week, Chris Harrison spoke to BuddyTV in an exclusive interview about both shows, who he stays in touch with, and what other exciting things he has going on!

Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview.

I know ABC is casting for The Bachelorette right now and I’m wondering what qualities does the show look for when they’re going to cast somebody?

Well, the cool thing is we’ve never cast, like an open casting call, for our Bachelorette before. This is the first time we’ve ever done it. We’ve always used a girl from a previous show so we’re very excited about finally having that national search for a phenomenal woman. It’ll be interesting to see. There’s not type. We don’t look for a rich girl, a mom, any type. We’ve done really everything as far as The Bachelor is concerned. We’ve had famous people, not famous, we’re doing it with Jason now, the single dad. Really now, there isn’t a type.

Is there something exciting about using someone for The Bachelorette who hasn’t been through the process before and this is totally brand new for her?

I think so. I mean selfishly, as the host, I kinda like it when we bring people back because usually they are friends of mine like Trista and even now with Jason. I’ve known these people for months so I’m really rooting for them. There is that excitement level when there’s someone completely new and just really wants to find love and every experience they have on the show is new to them so they’re always really excited. Jason’s been through this before so he kinda knows what’s behind the curtain, so to speak, and so it’s kinda hard to keep him on his toes.

How many different cities will ABC go to, looking to cast The Bachelorette?

As far as specific casting calls, I don’t know. I definitely want people to know that all across the country, I get stopped all the time, whether it’s at Starbucks, airports, whatever… and everybody always says, “Oh I have a friend, I have somebody that would be great. When are you gonna do an older Bachelor? When are you gonna do a single mom?” Now, all those women who have stopped me, this is your shot. Go to the website, log on, you can nominate yourself, nominated a friend of yours, a sister, whatever and now’s your shot to finally get that person on as The Bachelorette.

You talked about having personal relationships with the previous contestants. I was wondering if you are going to go to the wedding of DeAnna and Jesse.

Oh, I will definitely be at their wedding, for sure.

And do you keep up with the contestants and find out how they’re doing, like DeAnna and Jesse or Trista and Ryan?

Yeah. I talk to DeAnna and Jesse all the time. We probably talk once or twice a week if not on the phone, we shoot each other emails. I just talked to them the other day because Jesse took DeAnna snowboarding and she sprained her wrist. They went out for the first ski of the season and it took her out. She kinda got hurt but they’re doing great.

When you’re filming the show, do you form personal attachments to people? Do you get upset when someone you like is eliminated or feel bad for them?

Oh, of course, yeah. I mean, I’m only human and that’s one of the things that… I know it’s a tv show for people but for us, they are real and they’re really going through this. Their real lives are affected and I definitely form attachments. Even when Jason… it was terrible to see Jason get out of the limo and get on one knee in the Bahamas and fully expecting to be engaged and then just having his heart ripped open. That was tough. That was really tough. For me, it’s really hard when they get out of the limo and I know what’s about to happen but I can’t say anything because normally I would be like, “Do not get out of the limo! Just drive off!”

Speaking of Jason, how excited is he to be the next Bachelor?

Very! He’s doing a great job. Not giving too much away, he has met and exceeded all of our expectations. It’s a really different show. It’s a show that we’ve never done before, having a single dad… first of all, we’ve never had the Bachelor or Bachelorette be a single parent before. We’ve had some contestants that have had kids but never like, the one. He’s handling it really well but everybody approached the show differently, even the girls that are on the show. They’re not just there for the typical fun and excitement. They know he has a son so the show has a very different feel and it’s really good.

Besides The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, do you personally have any other projects going on that you’re excited about and working on?

Yeah, well you know, I host my daily show on TV Guide Network, Hollywood 411. I co-host with Madison Michelle every day. It gives me a little more liberty to be myself and be the tv host that I always enoy. I get to interview celebrities. Abby Brammell from The Unit was in today. Spike Lee was in last week. I get to interview great people and I love doing that. I’m about to host the red carpet pre-show for the AMAs on ABC coming up on the 23rd.

– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Gina Scarpa

Staff Writer, BuddyTV