Jillian Harris is the Bachelorette 5, but Molly Malaney was asked first

Jillian Harris, who was eliminated from The Bachelor 13 by Jason Mesnick just before the finale, will star in The Bachelorette 5, which will debut May 18. That relatively unsurprising news was revealed on the second After the Final Rose special.

More interestingly, runner up-turned-winner Molly Malaney was actually approached to star in the show last December, before producers knew that Jason still had feelings for her and was going to dump Melissa, which they say they learned after the holidays.

After the fifth-season finale taped, executive producer Mike Fleiss said he “was in the process of trying to talk Molly into being the Bachelorette,” he told People. “She was finally starting to come around and saying she wanted to do it, and she had spoken to her family. I thought she would be a fantastic Bachelorette, so likeable and beautiful and telegenic.”

Fleiss used that as evidence to insist that allegations the show’s conclusion was staged or fixed are “patently untrue. It was [Jason’s] choice in New Zealand who he proposed to.”

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