Bachelor has its highest ratings in five years

The Bachelor 13‘s double-dumping three-hour finale was the highest-rated episode in five years, and it was the highest-rated show on TV for all three hours.

An average of 15.5 million viewers watched the family-meeting, sheep-petting two-hour finale, while 17.5 million tuned in for the reunion, on which Jason dumped Melissa. The finale “provided ABC with its strongest night of the season in key demos, with the conclusion of season 13 delivering the franchise’s best numbers in more than five years,” Variety reports, saying it’s the best finale ratings among 18- to 49-year-olds “since May 2004, while its overall audience is the show’s largest since November 2003.”

Meanwhile, in his attempt to rehabilitate his image, Jason now says he was forced to break up with Melissa on camera. “There were things I needed to tell her in person and I was not allowed to see her. That was part of the deal. I signed up for it in my contract. Your relationship is — good and bad — in front of everybody. If I could have, I would have seen Melissa the night before. It killed me. It kills me now,” he told People. “I didn’t say something right away because I wanted to figure out what was going in inside of me. There was part of me that wanted things to work out with Melissa so bad. But the whole other piece was I had these crazy feelings for Molly. Melissa and I just have different ways of communicating. We’re not right for each other.”

Ultimately, Jason just did what nearly every other Bachelor has done, except a lot earlier, and on camera, never mind that he decided to made the wrong choice. And while that may have been a dick move, I kind of think it’s good that someone finally did it on television, if only because it helps shatter the illusion that it’s really possible to find romance on a TV show for the three people who still think that.

Elsewhere, Chris Harrison appeared on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show this morning and again said that the ending wasn’t scripted in any way; the only thing that happened was the producers decided to tape the After the Final Rose Special once they heard Melissa and Jason weren’t doing well post-New Year’s. Chris Harrison was particularly mad at Us Weekly; without referring to Reality Steve, he said “these yahoos make up stuff online … it doesn’t matter,” but said that Us Weekly was “unbelievably irresponsible and the lack of journalistic integrity in that is astounding to me,” and that the piece was “unbelievably vindictive and irresponsible” with its “the lies and fabrications,” and added, “I was pretty upset” and “I fully expect a retraction and apology.”

This is Us Weekly he’s talking about, so he’ll probably have to wait, you know, forever for that.

Big ‘Bachelor’ ratings for ABC [Variety]
Jason: ‘I’m Not Proud of What I Had to Do’ [People]