Chris Harrison: We made 'The Bachelor Winter Games' up as we went along, but it'll be the best TV this year!
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/02/2018
Chris Harrison is talking up a big game when it comes to the success of the franchise's upcoming spinoff, The Bachelor Winter Games -- both in the love department and the show's potential to entertain.
"The whole show overall, I could not have been happier the way it turned out," Chris said during a media call with reporters on Thursday, according toThe Hollywood Reporter.
"I've seen the first couple of episodes. It may be some of the best television we've ever produced -- which scares me because now, instead of a one-off, we might be doing this every winter now."
That's a big statement coming from the man who has hosted The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise since the franchise debuted 16 years ago.
To those who don't plan on tuning intoThe Bachelor Winter Games, Chris said, "You will probably miss out on the best television of the year."
Producers reportedly began hammering out the details for the brief four-episode series when they were nearing the end of filming Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s The Bachelor season, which is currently airing on ABC.
The thought process was: "We've created this franchise and it's huge in America, but it's actually huge around the world. How do we expose everybody to the Bachelor universe?" Chris explained, adding that the casting process and coming up with a new format took "a lot of work."
Cameras started rolling in Manchester, Vermont less than three weeks after Arie's The Bachelor edition officially wrapped last year.
"It's kind of like an athlete: We play every game hard; we play every game the same. We were producing and working our butts off with Arie, but at the same time, some of our crew was peeling off and going to Vermont," Chris told reporters of the logistics, according to The Reporter.
"Towards the end of Bachelorette every year, we start peeling people off so we can seamlessly go from The Bachelorette and move into Mexico [where Paradise films]. When the [contestant] numbers get down at the end, you don't need as many people on-hand, so we start sending people [to] the next production."
The Bachelor Winter Games cast will feature 14 international bachelors and bachelorettes from such countries as Switzerland, Japan and Australia as well as 12 of America's Bachelor Nation favorites.
The series premieres Monday, February 13 on ABC and will air across two weeks, running simultaneously with the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.
Chris reportedly said that producers tried to be as creative as possible when inventing a show like the Winter Games spinoff. He said it was like "reinventing the wheel."
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"[We figured], let's throw it against the wall and see if it sticks -- and I can attest to the fact that at times, it felt like we were making things up as we were going," he said, according to The Reporter.
"For Bachelor Winter Games, we went into it thinking things were going to go one way, and then they took a different turn. You have to be able to adjust and be ready to go on the fly."
Chris told reporters that the process just started with a name, and that was it, according toEntertainment Tonight.
"It was really just us, as producers, on the road trying to figure out what the show looked like, [and] how close was it going to be to Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Paradise and all the different incarnations of the show that we've done," Chris said.
But Chris disclosed the spinoff will have a very different feel from Bachelor in Paradise, and it won't be a copycat of Bachelor Pad either.
"Paradise is maybe about redemption, everybody having second chances -- whereas Bachelor Winter Games is about lifting the lid and kind of blowing the top off this thing and bringing everybody to the table... [for] a second shot at love, but it's not just our people, it's everybody," Chris explained, according to ET.
"One thing we have learned [from Bachelor Pad], and we did quickly all agree upon, is this show cannot be about competition. It's never about competition. That was the fatal flaw with Bachelor Pad. Bachelor Winter Games has to be about relationships."
And relationships apparently happened -- Chris revealed to reporters that The Bachelor Winter Games was very successful in matching singles up.
"You'll see more than one couple come out of this," Chris noted, before ET says he confirmed that rumored coupleDean Unglert and Lesley Murphy did actually make a love connection in Vermont. "I wanted to see if we could cross borders -- we did that."
The longtime host of the franchise added, "We thought [Winter Games] had the potential [for successful relationships like Paradise], but the difference is the time frame. Our hope was that we would at least have a relationship. We dialed our expectations back just a little bit... but I think we exceeded our expectations."
Love or hate The Bachelor Winter Games when it debuts next month, fans don't have to worry, because Chris assured press on the media call that Bachelor in Paradise "isn't going anywhere."
"I just think [Winter Games] feels so different than everything we've ever done," he reasoned.