‘The Bachelor’ Host Chris Harrison Admits Colton Underwood Was Picked As ABC’s Leading Man For ‘The Best TV’

Craig SjodinABC

The Bachelor is all about finding love — and TV ratings. In a surprising new interview with People, longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison defended producers’ decision to choose Colton Underwood as the next lead of the ABC dating show, while admitting he knows people are angry about the pick. The franchise has received some backlash for casting Underwood in the coveted role over Bachelorette runner-ups Blake Horstmann and Jason Tartick.

Harrison admitted that no matter who was chosen for The Bachelor role, producers would have caught “some heat.” The ABC host went on to admit that while there would have been nothing wrong with casting Horstmann or Tartick, the show is about entertainment and producers feel Underwood will give “the best TV.”

“If we had picked Jason, if we had picked Blake, it doesn’t matter — you’re going to catch some heat. And Colton caught heat and so did we. Colton, you have to understand gives us what we felt was the best TV. And that’s what we’re doing; we’re trying to entertain, we’re trying to tell a story.”

In another disclaimer, Harrison admitted that Underwood’s season could be a total mess, saying that while he hopes it will be successful, “it could be a complete and utter disaster, which case, it’ll still be phenomenal TV.”

Colton Underwood competed on Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette before heading to Bachelor in Paradise, where he had a tumultuous relationship with Tia Booth. On The Bachelorette, Underwood made headlines for revealing that he is still a virgin at age 26. The former NFL player has said he let sports get in the way of his love life and that he is still waiting for the right “heart.” Now, some fans of The Bachelor wonder how Underwood will dance around the show’s overnight fantasy suites, or, even more awkward, if he’ll use them.

Ever the champion for love, Chris Harrison told People he hopes Underwood’s season has a happy ending, complete with some Neil Lane bling.

“I hope he gets down on one knee, but you don’t know. The show’s not predicated on the fact that it always works,” The Bachelor host admitted. “And so it’s going to be interesting that he has to figure this out and on top of that …he’s a virgin. … So there’s that to unpack as well — the social impact of that and how he’s hidden it. He was kind of ashamed of it for a while.”

Harrison acknowledged that he knows fans are “mad” about Colton’s casting and that Jason and Blake fans have a right to be upset.

“They just have to remember why they’re upset and that Colton’s a good guy, too. He’s gonna be a great Bachelor.”

In a series of tweets, Bachelor spoiler king Reality Steve pointed out that Chris Harrison’s interview about Colton Underwood’s season is a first in his 16 years of hosting the ABC franchise.

“Chris Harrison has never EVER given an interview like that heading into a season,” Reality Steve wrote. “He’s never hinted at any negativity heading into a season. Now he’s saying ‘it could be a complete and utter disaster, which case, it’ll still be ‘phenomenal TV.’ Basically, expect anything.”

Colton Underwood’s season of The Bachelor is expected to start filming later this month and premiere early next year on ABC.