Nick Viall became one of the most hated men in Bachelor Nation when he revealed — shocker! — he’d had sex with Bachelorette Andi Dorfman in the coyly named Fantasy Suite. (She became briefly engaged to Josh Murray instead.)
The next season, he slept with Kaitlyn Bristowe even before that hallowed episode and still came in second. But on Bachelor in Paradise, the perpetual runner-up is adored by fans for acting as the Greek Chorus in a Mexican resort overflowing with alcohol-fueled crazy.
ABC executive Robert Mills offered insight into the network’s surprising choice to give Viall one more chance at love by making him the next Bachelor while chatting with LA Daily’s Julia Cunningham.
Why pick Viall over Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher’s dashing rejects Luke Pell and Chase McNary?
“It was a high-class problem,” Mills admitted. “They’re all great guys.”
“Well, you can say it. They’re all boring,” Cunningham quipped.
True enough, Mills said ABC didn’t want someone too similar to last season’s star, Ben Higgins.
“Ben was absolutely fantastic. He had a great season, and sometimes when you follow the same with the same, you end up with something lesser,” he explained. “You can say what you want, but certainly from a ratings perspective, when we followed Sean with Juan Pablo, which was sort of a left-turn, it worked out really well for us. A lot of people watched. I remember when we announced Juan Pablo, it was like being at a rock concert.”
Mills said the wheels really started turning when producers saw the Twitter love for Viall on BiP.
“We started seeing people say, ‘I can’t believe this, God help me, I like Nick,’ when Bachelor in Paradise started airing,” he said. “Certainly someone who had gone on Bachelorette twice, was the runner-up and then had gone on Bachelor in Paradise, that just didn’t seem like something that was even in the realm of comprehension. But there was a lot of, ‘I really like him, and I can’t believe I’m saying this.'”
Mills also acknowledged Viall as a bit of a Bachelor bad boy: “He was the first one to blow the lid off the Fantasy Suite and sort of be honest about it, and I for one, I don’t know what he’s gonna do, but I’m interested to see what are his conversations gonna be like on those exotic dates? What is he gonna say when his Fantasy Suite card comes? Is he gonna say, ‘You know, I’d like to take you back and make love, but I’m also gonna make love to two other women’?”
“I never really thought of Nick as a villain, but I think there are others that do,” he added.
Finally, Mills is confident Viall’s journey will have a happier ending on this version of the franchise.
“I think part of his charm that’s really come out on Bachelor in Paradise is he’s so great with the girls, and not as a romantic interest to all of them but almost as a big brother or good male friend,” he said. “And you see he’s not really cut out for Bachelorette, where sometimes it’s like if you’re not a bro, you’re not necessarily gonna fit in.”
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