By MICHAEL SHAIN
One young woman who was looking for love with the new "Bachelor" on the famed dating series was also fooling around with a crew member from the show, according to reports.
The latest scandal to spring from "The Bachelor" became public late last week when ABC began airing a brief, on-air promo about the philandering contestant.
"She's been having an sexual affair with somebody else in the Bachelor House," one of the other women is heard to say on the clip.
That confirmed what at least one fan Web site has been saying for several weeks -- that a male member of the show's production crew and one of the contestants had been romantically involved while "The Bachelor" was shooting last fall.
The site claims it has inside information about the affair.
If true -- and officials from the show are refusing all comment -- it would be an embarrassing situation for the series that likes to hype upcoming episodes as "the most shocking ever."
Reality shows are usually very strict about cast and crew fraternizing off camera.
Last fall, Mark Burnett, the producer behind "Survivor" and other reality hits, claimed that his crew members are warned that merely talking to a contestant is grounds for immediate firing.
The most famous incident of an behind-the-scenes romance was during the first season of MTV's "The Real World," when the show's director Bill "Corky" Richmond became involved with cast member Becky Blasband.
The director was removed from the show after news of the affair got out and a strict ban imposed on social contact with the housemates.
"The Bachelor" this season stars a hunky commercial airline pilot from Dallas, Jake Pavelka.
Pavellka was a rejected suitor on the last edition of the series -- passed over by the bachelorette, Jillian, at least in part because, even though he was a nice guy, he appeared kind of dull and colorless.
Fans have been speculating for weeks that the show -- with its very familiar format of rose ceremonies and tearful limo confessions -- was getting stale after 14 seasons. (The new season starts next week.)
But the show has been lucky in recent years and kept its ratings up with some novel twists -- including one Bachelor who changed his mind a month after proposing to one girl on the air. In a follow-up show, he announced that he was really in love with the runner up and dumped the girl he'd first chosen on national TV.
No word on which bachelorette was caught fooling around this season -- or what, if anything happened, to the crew member.
The episode where the hanky-packy is revealed is set to air in late January, according to reports.