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Brad Womack is probably the least popular "Bachelor" in the history of the ABC matchmaking series. The reason? He walked away at the finale, leaving both of his ladies without a final rose. Now ET talks to host Chris Harrison to find out just why "The Bachelor" brought back Brad instead of going with "The Bachelorette''s popular Chris L..
ETonline: What can you say about the decision to cast Brad Womack, who seems to be an unpopular "Bachelor." Is it about redemption? The ratings for the season premiere were down.
Chris Harrison: Here is "The Bachelor" formula for those who are just tuning in. We have never, except for Trista Rehn, started with gangbuster numbers. We never do. It always starts slow and then we build every half hour throughout the entire season. I guarantee you that Brad will be the same way. I garner interest from Twitter, Facebook, radio interviews and people talking on the street. Definitely, the presence is strong and, I think, he is going to do great.
ETonline: A lot of us were really crazy about Chris L. and Craig R. from Ali Fedotowsky's season. Were those guys not in consideration? Did they not want to do it?
Chris Harrison: Those guys were all considered. That is one thing people have to understand. During Ali's season, we started thinking, "Who would be a good 'Bachelor' from this group?" And our casting department had been looking at people you don't know. We haven't used someone you don't know in a while, but we still have five to 10 guys that we start sifting through. But at the same time, during Ali's season, we were talking about Brad already. We got to the end with Chris L., who we thought at the time would be a good "Bachelor." But it turns out his interest wasn't that high. He wasn't sure he wanted to do that again with his life. I spent some time with him in Raleigh, NC, to kind of gauge his interest and I came back and called the ABC guys and said, "This isn't our guy."
It takes a certain kind of guy to be our "Bachelor." It doesn't make Chris L. a bad guy. Compared to Brad … with Brad, anything that happens will be great. With Chris L., there is only one thing the viewers would have wanted and expected. That is this guy who lost his mom is going to, in a sense, replace her, fall in love, rainbows. That is the only way it could have gone. You would have had 10 weeks of boring television and then you would have had a proposal. Whereas, Brad gives you so much more of a dynamic season. There are so many twists and turns.
But Craig R. would have been great, Ty would have been great, Ali had a bunch of great guys.
ETonline: What can you tease about this season? I know he finds somebody.
Chris Harrison: This season is unlike any "Bachelor" season we have had before. We have never brought back a "Bachelor" before. He is an interesting character with his demons and the issues he is dealing with. Another thing, I think, is the women. We have never had women of this maturity, the history, and the stories they are bringing. Whether it is Emily with her tragic story, or some of the women who have kids. We were able to cast women who a much younger "Bachelor" just couldn't handle. Obviously, Brad being 38, he can handle much more.
What we do is we have this huge array of men and women -- this pool of "Bachelors" and "Bachelorettes" -- to pull from. When we realize that Brad is our "Bachelor," then you can skew his bachelorettes to a much higher degree. It is okay to have moms and divorcées.
ETonline: Ali had some glamorous locales for her dates. Will we be seeing that from Brad?
Chris Harrison: In a few weeks, we will be taking off to Costa Rica, then over to Anguilla in the Caribbean. We end up in New York and then it is off to South Africa for the finale.
ETonline: Would it have been a concern if Brad hadn't found love this time and walked away again?
Chris Harrison: Selfishly, not as a friend, but as a producer, no. The great thing about Brad and why he was a good choice no matter what happened, it was going to be great TV. If he didn't choose anybody and goes down in flames, come on! That would have been epic. The other side is, if he finds somebody that is going to be a good story. Either way, for us, as producers, he was going to be great.
ETonline: The last two seasons have had a lot of drama. Are we going to have any drama this year?
Chris Harrison: You have no idea. He has no idea. He is not at the house seeing the cattiness that is going on.
ETonline: Are we going to be happy at the end?
Chris Harrison: Yes. I guarantee if you are a "Bachelor" fan -- and even if you are not -- you will love this season. It is phenomenal. One of our best.
"The Bachelor" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.