Most viewers knew this week's The Bachelorette would reveal contestant Justin had a girlfriend. But host Chris Harrison says the real drama was not who the two-timer was cheating, but how Ali would react to it. Even the harshest critics who assail the show's authenticity have to admit, as Harrison puts it, that they "couldn't have signed, sealed and delivered more evidence." Plus: Harrison shares details on next week's reunion between The Bachelor's newly split couple Jake and Vienna.
TVGuide.com: What were you thinking as you broke the news of Justin's secret girlfriend to Ali?
Chris Harrison: Ali always had her reservations about Justin, so I knew she wasn't going to be heartbroken. I wasn't expecting a huge meltdown, but I was expecting her to be angry.
TVGuide.com: Did she immediately go find Justin?
Harrison: As soon as she was ready we decided we were just going to play it out. There were a couple cameras around and we got up and went. It's kind of what people demand now because they can tell if something has been totally choreographed and set up. It was really interesting to see Ali's tact and strategy. It was really funny, I watched the guys' faces as much as I watched Justin's, and their jaws had just dropped.
TVGuide.com: Did they have any clue?
Harrison: We took the phones out of the room as we always do, but forgot about the ones in the bathroom right by the toilet. He would go in there, and one of the guys heard him talking in there, and he came out and said it was his mom so the guys didn't make a whole lot out of it. He was really sneaky about it and went so far as to call the front desk and have the calls taken off so we couldn't find the numbers.
TVGuide.com: It's incredible how much proof you had.
Harrison: The most satisfying thing for me was that for our harshest critic and the person who just doesn't believe anything [about the show] ... We couldn't have signed sealed and delivered more evidence to everybody of how pathetic it was. The voicemails were the icing on the cake. He was such a bad liar — he was talking to Ali and he was stuttering and stammering. It was funny to watch him swimming in his own head to try and come up with some kind of an answer that would placate Ali. ... I was sad it happened at all, but the fact that he thought he was so much smarter than everybody on the show and thought he was getting one over on Ali and for us, in turn, to be playing him the way we did was very justifying.
TVGuide.com: Will he be at the men-tell-all taping?
Harrison: I'm just guessing that with a person like that, there's no way he'd say no. He'll want the press, and I assume he'll think he can spin it and fix it. ... Maybe he feels like this is helping [his career] and really wants to go down in flames, which is fine by me.
TVGuide.com: Will the show take new measures to prevent this from happening again?
Harrison: We do background checks, psychological profiling, blood tests — to a certain extent you have to believe. If someone says I don't have a girlfriend, at some point you have to trust they're a decent human being. [But] that's part of life and part of the show. Ali had plenty of warning signs. The guys told her [on] Night One, "Get rid of this bozo." And she didn't.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of Tai explaining to Ali why he got divorced?
Harrison: I think he showed a little too much of his old-fashioned side at first, but he saved it. ... Ali is so strong and she really wants a man who's going to allow her to be a strong woman. Even when he said things that probably would've crossed Ali a bit, she loved him for it. Their relationship really took off this week.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of the group date?
Harrison: They got their asses kicked. The next day they couldn't move, they were so sore. I was like, what happened and they said, "These big, angry, naked Turkish guys just killed us." Worst group date ever.
TVGuide.com: What can you say about the meeting between Jake and Vienna?
Harrison: You're going to see [the next episode] in its entirety, and then we'll have a separate update that I shot with Jake and Vienna at their house. I sit down and talk to Jake just a little bit alone and then I bring out Vienna and we have our discussion. I've been told we cut the first part with Jake short so we can show the Jake and Vienna stuff unedited in its entirety — we didn't clean it up. It got heated and contentious, but the report about violence is just not true. I wouldn't stand for any violence on our set ... If he had touched Vienna or even come close to touching Vienna, I would have knocked him on his ass and there would be a line of 50 other people that would've knocked him on his ass.
TVGuide.com: Will we learn why they ended the relationship?
Harrison: You'll see why they broke up, but are all the questions answered? No. Like in most breakups there's her version of the truth and his version of the truth, but at least you hear it all. It is all out on the table, I bring up all the rumors, and we go at it.