Finding Love on TV: More Often Than Not, The Bachelor Is The Biggest Loser

Posted By: Alison Caverly
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IStock Photo 2687503 © arsenik

Viewers of ABC's The Bachelor have come to expect certain things. There's always a heaping spoonful of envy- and alcohol- induced drama (prime instigator this season: Vienna). You can count on rose ceremonies (how many times can we hear, "the most dramatic rose ceremony yet"?), scenic helicopter rides, mood music (this season isn't called "On the Wings of Love" for nothing), tearful confessions ("I'm just not used to sharing my boyfriend with five other girls!"), hometown visits, hot tub escapades, and 24 women "sent home, broken-hearted." One thing The Bachelor's audience hasn't been conditioned to expect: a happy ending.

This season's Bachelor, Jake Pavelka-a commercial pilot and self-proclaimed "nice guy"-has made his intentions very clear. "Finding a wife is the most important thing in the world to me," the show's painfully earnest star maintains. But as the world gears up for Monday night's season finale, in which Jake finally reveals his decision, you have to wonder: what are the odds he's actually found her?

As of yet, the show's first 13 seasons have produced a total of 12 relationships of varying durations, 6 proposals, 12 breakups ( one make-up), one case of domestic violence, and one change of heart. Total wives produced? One, thanks to Jason Mesnick's February 27 wedding to Molly Malaney.

Although Mesnick took some heat for his controversial switcheroo from original fiancée Melissa Rycroft to runner-up Malaney, he can be credited with raising the odds a Bachelor will find a wife from zero to a more encouraging 1 in 13. The odds now stand somewhere between the chances an adult will attend an auto show in a year (1 in 12.84) and the odds an applicant to Yale will be admitted (1 in 13.33). Not promising, but better than nil. Even in the best-case scenario (assuming no out-of-the-blue reunions)-if Season 7's Charlie O'Connell and Sarah Brice, the only other intact Bachelor couple, tied the knot-the odds would increase only to 1 in 6.5.

It's fair to say that, for a show whose entire premise is leading singles on a path to wedded bliss, The Bachelor's track record is far from impressive. Sister show The Bachelorette has been more successful, producing two happy couples (Season 1's Trista and Ryan are married with two kids, and wedding plans are in the works for last season's Jillian and Ed).

Even reality shows whose premises have nothing to do with finding love have had greater success facilitating lasting unions than The Bachelor. The Biggest Loser has produced two marriages in its five regular seasons; making the odds a season of the show will help one lucky guy find a wife a solid 1 in 2.5-more than five times higher than The Bachelor. CBS's Survivor also boasts two marriages (Survivor: All Stars' Rob and Amber and Survivor: China's Jaime and Erik), putting its per-season odds of producing a marriage at 1 in 9.5, also higher than The Bachelor's. Even The Surreal Life helped one man-Christopher Knight, aka, Peter Brady-find his true love, placing the show's odds at 1 in 6.

So if-statistically speaking at least-it's not likely that Jake has found his wife, what can we expect from the show's finale, and beyond? Most likely, Jake will either get down on one knee (1 in 2.17 odds) or simply choose a contestant and see where it goes (an equally likely 1 in 2.17). Assuming Jake does choose someone (as Chris Harrison assures us he will), odds are the romance will quickly fizzle. 1 in 3 past Bachelor relationships dissolved within a month of the show's airing, and a full 1 in 1.2 (83%) failed to make it past the one-year mark.

Jake can take comfort in the fact that if the show does leave him wifeless, there are still millions of single women out there, at least 1 in 5.56 of whom are on the hunt for a husband. And if he wants to give reality TV another shot, he may have better luck on the next season of Survivor.

For a visual walkthrough of Jake's odds of success, see The Bachelor: What are the Odds He's Found the One?

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