I was shocked that ABC pulled Luke Pell at the last minute from leading the 2017 Bachelor season in favor of perpetual runner-up Nick Viall. And I am shocked to hear the reasons that producers decided to drop Luke. Honestly, I thought Luke may be a little too boring to carry an entire season, but I did not question his sincerity.
Host and producer Chris Harrison spoke to ET’s Nancy O’Dell the morning after the Bachelor in Paradise finale to discuss the situation.
“Luke was definitely the frontrunner,” Harrison says.
“It’s not an indictment on Luke that he’s not the Bachelor. That doesn’t make him a bad guy. We can just only have one person and, at the end of the day, it’s very important for us to have someone who is sincere. Who is sincerely going to go through this and, I hate to be cliche, for the right reasons try to find love?”
A source told ET “all Luke asked about and seemed to care about when planning his role as the Bachelor was his country music career.”
Shocking considering Luke seemed to be the least self absorbed on the show and never really mentioned his country music career.
Although Harrison does not blatantly accuse Luke of being fame hungry he did say,
“If we did make that last-minute decision to go with Nick, there’s a reason … at the end of the day, sincerity is huge to us. … Who’s ready to find love and go on this journey and who might have ulterior motives and might want to go in a different business direction with all this?”
As a side note, I have to laugh a little at this comment considering Nick is not exactly trying to avoid the limelight.
Harrison claims that “Nick became the frontrunner a little later in the game probably than normal,” he adds. “Casting was probably leaning towards Luke … [but] we have a wide range [of possible contestants], and we don’t narrow it down until we head closer to production.”
It was also an interesting choice since Nick was not dumped by his love interest Jen Saviano. In fact he dumped her on the finale.
Although numerous people weigh in on the process of choosing the Bachelor, the final decision is ultimately the job of the Executive Producer Mike Fleiss.
“It goes through [creator] Mike Fleiss, the president of ABC,” Harrison says. “There’s a long range of chefs that taste the dish.”
I suspect Nick won the lead because he is polarizing not because he is truly looking for lasting love. At the end of the day Nick and Luke may both be fame hungry but Luke would not be as polarizing or exciting to watch.
Production on the new season of The Bachelor begins in a few weeks.