Season 24 of The Bachelor has only just begun, yet debates about the next Bachelorette have already started — but not just among viewers, among the production team as well. Host Chris Harrison recently told Heavy that the debate among the producers about who should headline the next season “starts night one.” He also says that some years it’s more of a fight than a debate.
Here’s what we know about The Bachelorette casting process.
The Producers Like to See How Bachelor Nation Reacts
“I can honestly tell you, that debate starts night one and it is a debate,” says Harrison. “I think people have this misnomer that we all get in a room at a certain date with ABC and we say, ‘OK, Peter’s the bachelor.’ It’s not like that. We probably started talking about Peter night one of the Bachelorette and these producers and I were all debating could this guy be good? What do we think?
“And we have to see how his story arcs and how he acts and how it goes. If he ends up with Hannah, obviously, that’s a dealbreaker [laughs]. We see who doesn’t end up with Peter, who doesn’t end up with Hannah, and then the debate rages on and we see how Bachelor Nation reacts and how [media members] react and write stories about them, so it really is something that ebbs and flows.”
Harrison also says that sometimes frontrunners to be the next bachelor or bachelorette don’t make themselves known early on in filming.
“People that are frontrunners fall by the wayside, and then people that we had no thought about all of a sudden emerge and come from nowhere, so it’s kind of a — not a fun game, but it really is a game,” says Harrison. “It’s like a fantasy draft. We all have our favorites. I have my favorite that I’m going to fight for and Mike Fleiss, the creator, has his favorite. And we will fight. There will be screaming matches of who we think will be the best bachelor or bachelorette.”
But at the end of the day, Harrison says the big wigs like the president of ABC, the president of Warner Horizon, and show creator Mike Fleiss are the ones who make the final decision.
“But we all put our two cents in and we fight for it.”
Has Harrison Ever Lost Out on His Favorite?
“Yes. I will not tell you who, but I have had some that I wanted desperately [and didn’t get],” says Harrison. “By the way, sometimes I was right — I think they would have been better. Sometimes I was dead wrong and we’ve had crazy, record-setting seasons, so I’m like, ‘OK, I’ll just keep my mouth shut.’ There are times when I remind people I was right and then other times I forget to tell people I said anything at all [laughs].”
But later in the interview, Harrison does admit that one of the big ones he lost out on was which bachelor would come out of Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette. Harrison wanted Jason Tartick, but he didn’t get his way.
“Jason is one of the guys I thought would be a great bachelor. I was fighting for Jason, but Colton won out,” says Harrison, adding, “I don’t think I was wrong, I still think Jason was a great candidate, a great everyday guy, Buffalo — not really the heartland, per se, but kind of the heart of America. I think he would have been a great season. But how much would that have messed up everybody’s lives — Colton, Kaitlyn, Jason? So it turned out the way it should. But I will admit publicly that early on, I was in Jason’s corner. I thought he was that everyday guy that would have been a great bachelor.”
So What Do They Look For In a Bachelor or Bachelorette?
Harrison tells us that they take a lot of things into consideration, especially those who are going to give them the best season of TV.
“We’re worried about who’s the best person, who’s the most sincere, who’s really ready for this and who’s going to resonate with our audience?” says Harrison, “Who’s gonna give us a great show? Who’s got a great story to tell?”
He says with this in mind, they all knew Peter Weber would be a home run. Everyone honed in on him from the very beginning.
“We all just got behind Peter from the beginning. We all just knew it was a slam dunk. We couldn’t miss with him and I can tell you because the season is over that it’s better than we ever expected and he’s better than we ever expected,” says Harrison.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.