What started as an innocent email chain among three of his buddies, turned into a full-time job. Dallas-based Reality Steve has been spoiling ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette endings since 2009.
His snarky email recaps about The Bachelor franchise were so popular among his friends that Steve decided to put his words on a blog.But in 2009, everything changed when Steve caught wind of a secret taping -- in which bachelor Jason Mesnick dumped winner Melissa Rycroft for a second chance with runner-up Molly Malaney -- he decided to inform his blog viewers.
"No one had any reason to believe what I was saying was right," he says. "Once it was right, tabloids starts quoting me and calling me 'The Bachelor spoiler guy' and stuff like that, and that's where my audience took off, traffic to my site took off."
Ever since then, anonymous sources contact him to reveal spoilers and he has successfully spoiled the ending to nine of the franchise's seasons, only getting one wrong.
How much does ABC hate you? I think publicly they hate me. I think privately they love me because they know what I do brings attention to their show. None of (the producers) will ever say my name or reference my name, but they know what's out there.
ABC has sued you twice. What did they sue you for? We settled twice. The first time around, I contacted some girls who had been eliminated from Ben Flajnik's season while they were still filming -- it was easy to find their email addresses. I contacted them personally and said, 'Hey, I'm looking to put together my spoilers and there are a couple of things that I'm missing here. Can you help me out?' They all said they were fans of the site, but they all said no, they didn't want to get in trouble. I went along with it and even offered monetary compensation for them to help me out and they all still said no.
Tortious interference is what I was sued for, which is to break a contract between two other parties. But to prove tortious interference in a court of law, you have to prove like five things and they wouldn't be able to prove any of them. I think the reason they did it in the first place was just to scare me. They have way more money than I do and I think they just thought, 'Well, let's sue them and drag this out for as long as we can and maybe he'll just give up.'
Then they sued me again in December of 2012. But that lawsuit, I still don't understand to this day because they had nothing in that lawsuit that said I had violated my contract. They just assumed that I did.
You've successfully spoiled nine seasons and gotten one wrong -- Desiree's Bachelorette season. What happened? I'll be the first to admit that I got lazy. And that's why I don't think I'll ever be wrong again because of that season. I just wasn't very thorough. The information that I had was solid in my eyes and I was like, 'Wow. This can't be wrong.' I didn't follow through with things, like I do now.
What was the backlash like? When you get to a certain point of success, people want to see you fail. And they all came out that day on Twitter and were happy to see me fail, gloating about, 'You were wrong. People are never going to read your site again.' And people like that are so ignorant. They just don't get it. If anything, being wrong helped my site.
How is this a full-time gig? The Bachelor airs from January to March. From March to May, they film The Bachelorette, so I'm working during that time because I'm spoiling it as it's going on. January to March, I'm obviously recapping the show and responding to emails and stuff like that. August The Bachelorette is airing, so I'm working during that time. When The Bachelorette ends, it's going to be (spinoff series) Bachelor in Paradise for six or seven weeks and that's going to go until mid-September. Then right when Bachelor in Paradise ends, The Bachelor starts filming September to November, so even though the show is only twice a year, January until mid-November, there's always something going on in this show with either me spoiling it or writing, so basically the last six weeks of the year is when I have nothing to do. It's my only time off.
What is your site traffic like? Monthly is between a million and a million-and-a-half unique visitors. And then page views monthly is between 8 and 10 million.
When do you predict the show will end? I don't think in 2003 when they were airing the first Bachelorette, they ever thought in a million years they would have 10 seasons of this. So they've had 10 Bachelorettes and 18 Bachelors, I mean, they'll do it as long as they want to do it. I don't think ABC will make the decision to take The Bachelor off the air. It will be the producers saying, 'We had a good run.' Not many shows can say they put on 28 seasons of television. As long as the show is on the air, I'm going to spoil it.