We all know love is priceless, but finding love has its own business model — and a profitable one at that. Bachelor and Bachelorette creator Mike Fleiss is arguably the Donald Trump of reality television. While he’s now best known for creating and producing the rose-petal strewn love journey franchises, Mike’s first foray into reality TV was the lackluster Who Wants to Marry a MIllionaire?
Apparently, the answer to that question was “ew, gross, zero people,” as the show premiered on Fox to “fabulous ratings but terrible publicity, after it was discovered that bachelor Rick Rockwell wasn’t such a great catch,” according to one assessment by Business Week. Mike’s production company, Next Entertainment, then reportedly saw its revenue drop from from $1.2 million in 1999 to negative $600,000 in 2000.
Mike later admitted Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? almost killed his career. “I thought my career was over,” Mike told Business Week in 2009. He then discovered a gold mine in The Bachelor. “I knew there was tremendous energy in this concept [of The Bachelor], women competing for someone we certify as a great catch, and I could see there was tremendous audience appeal,” Mike explained.
And he was right — in 2008, for example, Next Entertainment raked in $100 million. Mike Fleiss himself is now worth a reported $80 million dollars, according to Celebrity Net Worth’s latest estimate. With Sean Lowe’s Bachelor Season 17 seeing increased ratings, and Desiree Hartsock’s Bachelorette Season 9 just about to start, we’re sure those deep pockets are about to see a major influx of cash. After all, love always wins!