Chris Harrison, 'Bachelor' EP on If New Spinoff Will Change Musicians' Reputation on the Show (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
Musicians have a bit of a reputation in theBachelor franchise -- but Listen to Your Heart might change all that.
ABC announced on Wednesday that it had picked up a new Bachelor spinoff, Listen to Your Heart, which will see 20 single men and women sing songs and explore relationships while living together and going on Bachelor-style dates that focus on music.
Once the couples commit to each other, they will be tested through musical challenges, including live performances judged by top names in the music business. The performances will be evaluated based on whether they reveal the couple’s love and devotion to one another. Those who score the highest marks will continue until only one couple is left standing.
As executive producer Martin Hilton told ET at ABC's Television Critics Association winter press tour on Wednesday, they're "finalizing our cast" for the show, which is set to start filming shortly. The majority of contestants will be fresh faces, however, some Bachelor Nation alums may appear.
"Jed [Wyatt] is the obvious [choice]," Bachelor host Chris Harrison joked to ET. He shrugged off Wes Hayden from Jillian Harris' season of The Bachelorette as a possible contender, but expressed interest in James Taylor, from JoJo Fletcher's Bachelorette season.
Taylor is certainly the most likable of the three Bachelorette musicians, with Wyatt proposing to Bachelorette Hannah Brown while still having a girlfriend back home. Hayden made it all the way to the final four while also having a significant other.
"We aim to change that," Harrison said of musicians' reputations of not being there for the "right reasons." "Maybe or maybe not. Maybe it proves that musicians are cheaters."
"That is definitely a concern I have," Hilton echoed of musicians' track record in the franchise. "Who knows? It might lead to more drama."
"We're going to explore this, but what I know, myself also being a musician, is that when you are singing with somebody or making music with somebody, there is a connection that is undeniable that you feel and that's another way of really looking at the nature of relationships and the nature of falling in love, and what that kind of unspoken bond can be," he shared. "So, I'm pretty excited about this show. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
"The musicians that we had on [in the past] may not be the representative type that we want," Hilton noted. "And there's a lot of good musicians out there, and it's time to sort of give them a platform."
As for whether contestants from Listen to Your Heart will be worked into other Bachelor spinoff shows like Bachelor in Paradise, Hilton said "absolutely." "If they emerge on the show and people like them, then we'd consider them part of the Bachelor franchise, and they can recur and pop up wherever we need them to -- as long as they want to, of course."
"If it's a compelling enough character and a great story, maybe they end up being the Bachelor or Bachelorette," Harrison suggested. "Or maybe they end up on Paradise."
The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart is set to premiere Monday, April 13, but has yet to announce a host. "Possibly -- we'll see," Harrison said of whether he'll add that spinoff to his plate. "I'm obviously working hand in hand with [the producers] because all these executive producers are all on the road with me [filming other Bachelor shows]. I've known about [this spinoff] for six to eight months."
"I'm excited about it," he shared. "It's a genius concept. It is A Star Is Born meets Bachelor in Paradise."