Why Former 'Bachelor' Nick Viall Is Leaning Into His Past With the Franchise
By Lauren Zima
Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for Evine
After appearing on the Bachelor franchise's three main shows (The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and The Bachelor), Nick Viall doesn't see himself returning to the world.
"If there's ever a fun cameo that's creative to help support [Bachelor in Paradise], I'm all for it," he tells ET. "But as a cast member, I've proven that at least for me -- while the show does work for love -- it doesn't work for me, unfortunately!"
While his time appearing on Bachelor series might be done, he's now leaning into his role as an observer and commentator, hilariously recapping The Bachelorette each week with friends and fellow Bachelorette/BIP alumni Jared Haibon and Dean Unglert.
Viall, who has studied improv comedy in Los Angeles at theaters like Upright Citizens Brigade and The Groundlings, works on the videos with his best friend, Kyle McCullough. "He had this idea of recapping it this way a couple of years ago and we kind of laughed at it, but on Arie's season we did it at the finale just for fun ...and it ended up going viral."
"We love the show and respect the process," Viall says. "At the same time, it's ridiculous! It's fun to keep it light and highlight some of the ridiculous parts."
The 37-year-old reality star has been leaning into his acting career post-Bachelor, with guest roles on shows like Speechless and General Hospital. His initial venture after the show was a men's grooming line called The Polished Gent, but the Milwaukee native explains he sold his share in the company after a disagreement over its vision. Just over a year after his finale aired, he's reflective about his time on reality television, and these recaps are about a certain level of awareness.
"We tease the situation more than the people for the most part," he says. "I've always been an analytical person ... In this world it's important to remember where you came from. Friends and family -- those are the people whose opinions count."
Viall, like everyone who appears on the show, was met with a certain amount of criticism over his time on TV, especially after he and fiance Vanessa Grimaldi split about five months after his proposal to her aired. "It was just not the right fit," Viall, who is currently single, says.
"I really, honestly look forward to the day I meet someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with," he says. "I think more than any point in my life, I'm really eager to meet that person...it's my challenge. Going on the show can make dating outside of it a little more challenging, and as you get older you get more perspective on what you like and don't like, and sometimes the negative aspect can be that you get too picky. ...I hope it's as soon as tomorrow, but at the same time I'm not going to force it. I'd rather wait and find the right person."
Haibon recently got together with Ashley Iaconetti after years of friendship and flirtation, and Viall jokes his friends are "super obnoxious" now. "I'm jealous," he says. "And annoyed, and happy for them all at the same time. ... They're very in love and very happy and obviously have with each other what I'd love to find. So I'm very jealous, and I'm happy for them!"
After three seasons of reality TV, Viall's advice to future contestants is to simply be real. "More and more now you see people come on who think they're supposed to play a role," he says. "The people who have the most success don't think about the cameras and just let themselves be a part of the insane process. ... You really care about someone, and you realize it's a messed up situation. You have to be OK with things you'd never be OK with in the outside world. It's a terrible, hard process to go through."
Arie Luyendyk Jr. has slammed the show in recent interviews, claiming he was pushed by producers when breaking up with current BacheloretteBecca Kufrin. Viall empathizes with Luyendyk's situation, but says blaming producers isn't fair.
"Certainly [I've been] the villain," he says. "I wasn't happy with the edit. I didn't sit there and blame producers; there were aspects that were true. There's context, but I think more often than not people end up looking better than they otherwise would. ... Sometimes people pick their nose and it's not shown. Imagine if they decided to show every time someone picked their nose!"
So, did the process change him? "In my core I don't think I'm a different person," he says. "I have a very different life now ... but I'm still the same person, the good stuff and the bad stuff."
Viall says he's seen contestants from Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette comment on the recaps, but "no one's really complained. ... We're all friends, we have fun doing it. We're just cracking jokes. ... I, personally, like when the show doesn't take itself too seriously, and they've done a better job in that ... it's a comedy just as it is a love story."