Go ahead and have affairs with the production crew or each other. Just leave Chris Harrison alone. He's mine.

By Gina Carbone

ABC has finally learned what’s important about “The Bachelor.” Not love. Not a ring. Not a wedding, Lord knows, or they’d be up Wes Hayden creek without a paddle.

Nah. They just need drama. Some gasps. A few tears. Preferably a balcony upon which to shed those tears while screaming in agony to the sky.

“The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love” (tee hee) with pilot Jake Pavelka starts Monday, Jan. 4 and ABC is trotting out some salacious new video on the official Web site.

The latest video starts typically enough, with Voice-Over Lady promising that “When it comes to winning his heart, the sky’s the limit.”

“I’m falling in love with him,” one of the bachelorette clones is heard saying.

(Is it just me, or are they all THE EXACT SAME GIRL every season?)

… And then Voice-Over Lady’s tone becomes more naughty:

“But it wouldn’t be ‘The Bachelor’ if it didn’t start with one shocking scandal.”

This is said over a montage of tears and gasps.

Then another clone voice says, “She’s been having this sexual affair with somebody else in ‘The Bachelor’ house,” while the camera shows women rolling around together followed by Jake throwing a rose into the fire.

Now I doubt we’ll really get any girl-on-girl action. Unless ABC has been given a corporate mandate to get more male viewers. (They are promoting a blondes vs. brunettes football game, so maybe that’s exactly the deal.)

I was alerted to the “shocking scandal”/”sexual affair” video by BuddyTV, which then linked to Fans of Reality TV, which is doing all kinds of spoiler sleuthing.

Way back on Dec. 14, a commenter called eowenc wrote, “I just received a call from someone who works for me who is a huge TB fan but unspoiled. He reports that Howard Stern on his show today talked about having viewed a few episodes of Jake’s season and there is a large amount of Drama and Howard thinks the show will be great. He reported to his audience that one of the 15 a few episodes into the show is caught having an affair with one of the production crew.”

Heaven knows I’m not going to listen to Howard Stern for more clues, but if this is true … it’s very interesting.

And this sort of bright-eyed, hand-rubbing “reeaalllly?” drama is exactly why I watch “The Bachelor.”

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