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Fans nosy about what Harrison’s doing at his ‘Pad’

BACHELOR PAD - 'Episode 301' - Hosted by Chris Harris('The Bachelor' 'The Bachelorette') 'Bachelor Pad' returns MONDAY JULY 23 (8:00-10:01

BACHELOR PAD - "Episode 301" - Hosted by Chris Harrison ("The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette"), "Bachelor Pad" returns MONDAY, JULY 23 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) with a new season, joining together some of the most memorable and controversial characters from the "Bachelor" franchise. Five "Super Fans" found through an open casting call, will spice it up in the mansion and compete for love and money against veteran bachelors and bachelorettes. The group heads to the mansion to live, scheme and connive as they compete for $250,000 - and possibly another chance at love. In the first group challenge, "Falling for Love," the men and women couple up and try to keep each other from falling out of quickly tilting hearts hoisted high up off the ground. The winning couple is safe from elimination, but the couple that falls first will each carry a vote against them into the rose ceremony. (ABC/MATT BROWN) CHRIS HARRISON

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Updated: August 30, 2012 6:15AM

It’s one thing to host a dating show called “Bachelor Pad.” It’s quite another when your own love life is under scrutiny.

The host with the most on ABC is nothing if not upfront. Chris Harrison asks what’s in the tabloids this week: “I would love to find out about my life,” he teases during a phone interview from the “Bachelor Pad” set.

There have been so many tabloid rumors about Emily Maynard from “The Bachelorette” and Harrison, who recently was divorced from his wife of 18 years.

“I read one magazine that said we hate each other and don’t talk and the other one says we are madly in love,” he says. “It’s somewhere in that spectrum for sure.”

He’d rather talk about “Bachelor Pad” (7 p.m. Mondays, WLS-Channel 7), which this season has fans of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” mingling with lovelorn reality TV stars. “I think our show is almost not as much about ‘Bachelor Pad’ as it is kind of an homage to the fans. I feel like we owe it to the fans. It’s been 10 years, and they have followed us and blessed us more than any other show in the history of television.

“No other show really has a way to pay back their fans like we do and involve our fans.”

On this season, already taped, “we’ll definitely have love triangles, love octagons and all kinds of shapes and sizes. It was bizarre.”

1 With all the dating shows on TV, what’s unusual about “Bachelor Pad?”

It really is a modern-day soap opera. We thought this was a way to expand the show and bring in some of the fans and see what that dynamic is like. Our fans, I think, are unlike any other in TV. I can say that who you love to hate and who you love may drastically change by the time everyone leaves “Bachelor Pad.”

2 How intense are the love connections this year?

I’d be like, “OK, so how are they doing?” “Oh no! They broke up a long time ago.” I was like, “Well, all I did was go get a sandwich.” There is a lot of moving around. Some of it was strategic. Some of it was just plain stupidity.

3 When you heard who was going to be on this season’s “Bachelor Pad,” what were your first reactions? Who did you think was going to find love vs. turn into a train wreck?

For some reason Ed [Swiderski, the Chicagoan who won Jillian Harris on “The Bachelorette” and then lost her] comes to mind. I thought train wreck. Just because his life has been a bit of a train wreck and when he came in he was like, “I don’t have a plan. I’ll see what happens. I was like, “Oh man, he’s going to be eaten alive.” But I was also very intrigued about Michael Stagliano and what it would be like to have someone popular come back. He has his work cut out for him. The third aspect was the fans. I wondered what it would be like for these uber fans to walk in. The guys knew more about the show than I did, which is scary. It was real interesting to watch them walk in wide-eyed and say, “Oh my God, I watched you on your season and I love you.” Or they would say, “You’re a villain.”

4 So you’re guest hosting “Live” with Kelly Ripa on Monday and Tuesday. Would you ever consider that as a full-time gig?

Of course. Who wouldn’t? It’s one of the greatest hosting jobs that has come open in my lifetime. I mean, you look at probably the three top jobs that have come open in my life: Johnny Carson leaving “The Tonight Show,” Bob Barker [on “The Price Is Right”] and Regis’ job. It’s a phenomenal vehicle, and those opportunities and those types of show don’t come around very often. This is my fourth or fifth time hosting the show and it’s a blast. It’s fun to just step into that vehicle and drive it. It’s like someone gives me the keys for a Ferrari for a little bit.

5 Are you upset that you didn’t get an Emmy nomination for your hosting gigs?

Ten years of Emmy snubs. It’s unfortunate. I really wished the show had been nominated. The Emmys are very political. You really have to make a concerted effort and a big push. At “The Bachelor,” we’ve never really done that. I wish we would because I think the show very much deserves it. It doesn’t really help your show, it doesn’t really help your career that much like the Oscars do. It’s definitely an ego thing and we all have egos. It would still be an honor to be nominated. … As for the show, we’ve been doing just fine. We have been extremely successful for 24 seasons. … And I’m voting for Betty White if that matters.

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