On Tuesday night, ABC announced that Nick Viall is the new Bachelor, and fans were shocked! While Nick became a fan favorite on this season of Bachelor in Paradise
(in fact, much of our ET staff had been championing
for him to be the Bachelor), we didn’t expect our ‘Nick for Bachelor’ dreams to come true!
ABC broke what has long been protocol and decided not to go with a finalist from the most recent season of The Bachelorette
-- even though producers were in talks
with both Luke Pell and Chase McNary from JoJo Fletcher’s season.
So, how did it all go down? A source tells ET the Nick decision was a “last-minute switch-up.”
“Producers had Luke in mind and he was all set to be the Bachelor,” our source says. “In recent years, producers have made their top two favorites both sign contracts to lock them in for the gig, and then will pull one contract when they make up their minds as to who they want. Caila [Quinn] signed a contract to be the Bachelorette … Becca Tilley also signed on for it after Chris Soules’ season, but ABC ended up going with Kaitlyn [Bristowe].”
Viall’s story is one of redemption; he was known as a bit of a villain after both Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s Bachelorette seasons, but BIP has been a turnaround. “ABC saw how much positive attention Nick was getting during Paradise, and thought he’d be great,” our source says.
A source close to Viall echoes that same timeline. “It all happened really quick,” the source says. “It wasn’t even a thought on the table that Nick would be the next Bachelor. He had no idea they were considering him … ABC called Nick very last minute – just a couple of days before the announcement – and made him an offer. Luke was all set to be the Bachelor. He had signed a contract and was getting ready to leave.”
The 35-year-old had been dating Jen Saviano on BIP, but obviously, things didn’t work out. On After Paradise Tuesday night, Viall talked about his Bachelor Nation journey. "I had an interesting journey throughout the process," he said. "It hasn't worked out so far. ... Hopefully, this time around, maybe things will end up on a more positive note.”
Both Pell and Chase McNary responded to the Viall announcement on Instagram. "Sometimes in life we are faced with unexpected changes," Pell said.
"I'm happy to be back home in Nashville and so excited about what the future holds."
"Unfortunately, I don't get to be the Bachelor," McNary wrote
. "But my arms and heart are wide open, and I trust the right woman will come into my life at just the right time!"
And Viall's Bachelor narrative is already becoming clear:
We’re also hearing that the contestants who will be vying for the new Bachelor’s heart had already been chosen, but it’s unclear if any casting changes will be made now that Viall is the Bachelor. Filming should start in mid-September.
But, we still have to see how BIP ends, and what goes down with Nick and Jen. Catch up on this week’s Bachelor in Paradise with our recap video below!