Engaging Television?

May/June 2002

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Engaging Television?

ABC/Bob D'Amico

Shortly after he agreed to participate in a reality TV show designed to find him a wife, Alex Michel felt his feet getting cold. “I watched a few dating shows to see what they were like,” he says. “I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, what did I get myself into?’”

Well, for starters, he got into a lot of limousines, a mud bath in Palm Springs, a gondola in Las Vegas and a yacht off the Santa Barbara coast—always accompanied by “amazing” female companions.

The Bachelor, whose six weekly one-hour episodes aired in March and April, followed Michel, MBA ’98, as he looked for a bride from among 25 women selected by producers of the ABC program. During six weeks of taping in January and February, Michel wined and dined, was whisked to exotic locales and hung out in the Bachelor pad, a sumptuous oceanfront home. Along the way, as he gradually narrowed his choices, cameras recorded the conversations and clinches, the drama and melodrama. And while Michel could not disclose the show’s outcome, he told Stanford in early April “it has a happy ending.”

Michel joked that he agreed to be on the show after hearing that a Harvard guy was in line for the job. “I thought, ‘What an outrage!’ Stanford deserves equal time.’” (Michel got his undergraduate degree at Harvard.)

Most critics skewered The Bachelor, but the bachelor himself gave the experience high ratings. “I’m really happy I did it,” says Michel, a San Francisco businessman.

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