Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette ended with one of the shortest engagements in franchise history. Not long after she accepted a proposal from singer/songwriter Jed Wyatt, who had admitted on camera that he went on the show to boost his music career, news broke that Wyatt had also gone on the show with the apparent intention of returning to a girlfriend at home once he'd finished filming. ET spoke with Rob Mills, ABC Entertainment's Senior Vice President, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming, about how the drama went down behind the scenes.
ET: Were you shocked by the news of Jed's previous going on the show while still in another relationship?
RM: (Sighs) No. ... It's not like this has never happened in recorded history, especially [with] somebody who is very good looking. … Now, we didn't see it coming. I would've thought at a certain point Jed would've said, ‘I need to get myself out of this situation.’ It could've been very easy for him. … Maybe he thought, ‘If I win, it's better for my career.’ I don't know, but they seemed to be genuinely a happy couple. That part was shocking.
When did production find out about Jed's ex and the truth about his plans in going on The Bachelorette, and how was it handled? Who told Hannah?
It was pretty much right before [the story] broke. … Then producers who were really close to her had to let Hannah know, and then it was springing into action. ‘Okay I think we need to get them together, because obviously they're going to need to talk about this. So let's get them together.’ You saw [the footage,] where they were together as quickly as possible.
Is there a reason why the actual breakup wasn't filmed? Hannah said it happened over the phone.
I think Hannah already made up her mind … when we did film; she took her ring off. And at that point, it was impossible to capture 24/7 what was going on with their relationship. I think she spoke to him over the phone and felt that he deserved that. … We sort of got everything we needed when they had that conversation … At that point, it was sort of done. … I think what she said on Tuesday night was a version of what she told him over the phone.
Hannah and Tyler are going to have a drink. Why not just have Hannah be completely single in the end, and have her fierce love be for herself? Did the Tyler drink feel necessary?
Tyler's a great guy. She's also somebody who doesn't want to ever not take an opportunity. And I think that she said, you know we're both single and let's see where it goes. There's a lot of really good feelings there. It's funny with the other seasons that kind of ended like this, with Jason Mesnick and Arie Luyendk, Jr., they both [saw what it was like] in the real world with other people who are the runners up, like Tyler. It's worked out pretty well; they're both married with kids! Who knows what will happen here? ... Hannah is not afraid to be single. I think that they'll go for their drink and we'll see what happens and maybe both of them have moved on and that's it, or, they'll see the spark is still there.
The order was interesting; on the live finale we all knew Tyler, the runner-up, was coming out after Jed Wyatt instead of before. So, did Tyler know in advance that Hannah was going to ask him to continue their relationship?
I think every [possible] scenario is brought to his attention. Like, look she might say that she's been thinking a lot about you ... I think certainly he was probably prepared for anything.
Speaking of being prepared for anything; Chris Harrison said the proposal was “cringeworthy,” and it included Jed Wyatt singing. What was going through production’s mind as you guys watched that happen in real life … and all his singing throughout the season, actually?
I'm going to be completely honest. We were all watching it like, ‘Oh, it's so nice to have one of these singer-songwriters that's not full of s***.’ We thought it was very genuine. We were very excited. I'm always thinking for the proposal of a montage of a great classic rock song or soft rock song; [something we have to] clear. No, this was great -- Jed's got this song and everything!