If the Bachelor franchise measured a show's worth only on the number of successful couples at the end, Winter Games would be its shining star.
Season one of BWG wrapped Thursday night on ABC. It had a short, four-episode run, and the finale was followed by a one-hour reunion special that revealed four couples who met on the show are still together today, months after production ended. That's one pair per episode!
Compare that to the most recent season of Bachelor in Paradise, which has a similar format. Of the three couples together for the show's finale, one had split by the time of the reunion. Now, we're not knocking Paradise. After all, the show has spawned two married couples, who have since both welcomed kids (Tanner Tolbert and Jade Roper, and Evan Bass and Carly Waddell.)
But interestingly, Winter Games is perhaps the franchise's least "sexy" show yet. Filmed in snowy Vermont, contestants donned parkas, not bikinis as they do in Mexico for BiP. There were actually complaints that there weren't enough hot tubs on site! So, how did the series with the least sex factor also produce the least ex factor?
ET spoke to many of the couples backstage at the World Tells All reunion taping.
Franchise favorite Ashley Iaconetti, who's happily long-distance dating Kevin Wendt of Canada after their time on BWG, said it helped that no one had preconceived notions. "[Kevin] didn't really watch the American version of The Bachelor and I didn't see The Bachelorette that he was on," she explained. "I feel like nobody went in knowing the character that TV had portrayed; they just got to know the people for, really, who they are."
Clare Crawley, who was still single after a season each of The Bachelor and BiP, got engaged during World Tells All after Canadian Benoit Beausejour-Savard proposed in a surprise, but welcome, move. The 36-year-old feels she's found the love of her life, and cited a lack of drama for BWG's couples. "This show is genuinely about bringing people together from all aspects of life," she said. "I think taking the pressure off of a lot of it and just having a lot of fun with these sports and these games and being able to laugh at each other ... it allows for relationships to develop in a genuine, sincere way."
Still, BWG wasn't without drama: there were plenty of tears during deep, reflective conversations. But overall, couples were seen arguing very little, and there was no fighting shown between members of the same sex, which has been a staple on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and BiP.
Wendt agreed with Crawley about the lack of "pressure" playing a part. For the first time, no one was expected to propose at the end of BWG. Instead, the series ended with Wendt and Iaconetti receiving golden roses as the "winning" couple. "It was no pressure," Wendt said. "We had a lot of fun ... we all just got along!"
So will BWG get a second season? The show was given a unique debut, pitted up against the Olympics on NBC during its two-week run. But all the contestants agreed they'd like to see it return. "Absolutely!" Iaconetti said. "There are so many successful stories that have come out of this. How can they not?"
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