Any Bachelor fans out there?
We had a chance to meet with host Chris Harrison to talk about the brand new Bachelor Winter Games that premieres on Tuesday, February 13th! Imagine 14 Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants from around the world going head to head in winter-themed challenges in a 4 episode series, complete with all the drama, romance, tears and laughter you’d expect from the series!
The Cast of The Bachelor Winter Games?
Ben, 29, “The Bachelor” Season 20 – USA
Dean, 26, “The Bachelorette” Season 13 (Rachel Lindsay)
Eric, 29, “The Bachelorette” Season 13 (Rachel)
Jamey, 33, “The Bachelorette” Season 13 (Rachel )
Josiah, 29, “The Bachelorette” Season 13 (Rachel )
Luke, 33, “The Bachelorette” Season 12 (JoJo Fletcher)
Michael, 37, “The Bachelorette” Season 9 (Desiree Hartsock Siegfried)
Ashley I., 29, “The Bachelor” Season 19 (Chris Soules)
Bibiana, 30, “The Bachelor” Season 22 (Arie Luyendyk Jr)
Clare, 36, “The Bachelor” Season 18 (Juan Pablo Galavis)
Lesley, 30, “The Bachelor” Season 17 (Sean Lowe)
Lauren G., 26, “The Bachelor” Season 22 (Arie Luyendyk Jr)
Benoit, 31, “The Bachelorette” Season 1 – Canada
Christian, 34, “The Bachelorette” Season 1 – Switzerland and Germany
Courtney, 31, “The Bachelorette” Season 2 – Australia
Jordan, 34, “The Bachelor” Season 2 – New Zealand
Kevin, 33, “The Bachelorette” Season 1 – Canada
Ally, 24, “The Bachelor” Season 3 – New Zealand
Jenny, 34, “The Bachelor” Season 1 – Finland
Laura, 29, “The Bachelor” Season 1 – United Kingdom
Lily, 21, “The Bachelor” Season 3 – New Zealand
Nastassia, 26, “The Bachelor” Season 3 – Sweden
Rebecca, 26, “The Bachelor” Season 3 – Sweden
Tiffany, 31, “The Bachelor” Season 4 – Australia
Yuki, 21, “The Bachelor” Season 1 – Japan
Zoe, 25, “The Bachelor” Season 1 – China
Appearances this season include:
Bachelor Nation Alumni Ryan and Trista Sutter,
Arie Luyendyk Jr., Rachel Lindsay and JoJo Fletcher;
Figure Skating Champions Nancy Kerrigan, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner;
ESPN’s Hannah Storm and KABC’s Ashley Brewer;
and a Performance by Country Singer/Songwriter Ruthie Collins
Exclusive Interview with Chris Harrison
On coming up with the concept of The Bachelor Winter Games
CHRIS: With [The Bachelor] Winter Games, there was nothing, there was no concept. There was no idea. It was fun for us after 16 years to completely come up with a brand new show. Honestly, we had this idea of our goal: Let’s make this Global Celebration of Love.
The Bachelor is a phenomenon here obviously in the United States and it’s actually huge around the world. We decided it would be this pseudo Olympic Village where we’re gonna get the biggest Stars from around the world join the biggest Stars from our Show, bring them together, let them live in one house, let the mayhem ensue. And then for some reason, let’s put these people on Skis cause most of them have never skied.
What The Bachelor is like in other countries
Bachelor is filmed in several different countries around the world – Japan, China, Finland, Sweden, Russia, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Each with a different set of producers and another version of Chris Harrison.
CHRIS: Culturally it’s very different. Bachelor China and even Japan, if there’s a kiss, it’s huge. And most don’t kiss ever.
I went in there, I said look, everyone, we all come from different cultures. We all look differently. A lot of us speak differently. Let’s all get in this one boiling pot here and let’s see how it works. And so it was High School. Day One was High School. Everyone kind of ate at their separate tables. But then more and more, those tables came together and they came together. So it really turned into the global celebration of love that we wanted it to, where everyone started coming together to the point where there were relationships from around the world, and friendships.
On Co-hosting with Hannah Storm
CHRIS: If you guys don’t know Hannah, she’s a legend in Sportscasting. I was a Sportscaster so she’s someone I admired very much and looked up to when I was a Sportscaster. So it was fun for me to be able to call on somebody and say, will you please come sit next to me and do the show. Turns out she’s a huge fan of Bachelor Nation.
I met her when I was a really young man and I was starting out in Sportscasting back in the early ’90s. I was at the NFC Championship Game and I saw Hannah Storm like “Oh My God, that’s Hannah Storm.” I walked up and I introduced myself. I’m just a fan and she was so wonderful and polite and talked business with me, and gave me advice. And I never forgot that night. I told her that story the first night we sat down and had dinner. She’s lovely, an incredibly giving lovely woman.
On up and coming Sportscaster, Ashley Brewer
CHRIS: She’s the young me now which is cool to be able to reach in and find this young raw talent.
She’s a Sportscaster here in Los Angeles and she is a rising Star. Mike created a show [and thought] let’s give this girl a shot. She took it and ran with it, and this is the last she’ll probably talk to us because she’s gonna go and take over the world.
On Meeting Nancy Kerrigan
Chris admits that he was just as shocked as we were to learn that she would be appearing on the show, but apparently, she’s a fan! Did she talk about “the incident?”
CHRIS: We’re doing this skating competition with Nancy Kerrigan, who by the way has a tremendous sense of humor about everything, because we were like nobody mention anything. And she made the first joke, and I’m like “I love you.” It was really cute.
On the breakout star of The Bachelor Winter Games – Yuki
CHRIS : So Yuki is going to be the biggest Star in America ever. She is partially in love with her, obsessed with her. The great thing about Yuki and I’m just excited for everybody to get to know her and enjoy what we enjoy.
Yuki is one of our hard finds from Bachelor Japan and she was just so huge, so successful. There’s a loose interpretation that she wasn’t brought back for the next one [The Bachelor-Japan] because she was too big of a Star.
And now we know why. When she was on, we all were just mesmerized by this girl every time she was on TV. I just wanna see Yuki talk for days. She was incredibly sweet and yes, we had a Translator.
Chris Harrington Dishes on Past Bachelor Contestants
Do you keep up with the folks that have been on the Show?
CHRIS : I do. A lot of them. Whether intended or not, I run into a lot of them, like I was at a concert last Monday and ran into Kristina Schulman and just ran into Graham Bunn who’s a DJ here in town. But a lot of them are my friends whether even back in the day, it’s Trista and Ryan are dear friends of mine, and Andrew Firestone is one of my closest friends. Bob Guiney, and even now Ben Higgins and I talk all the time, Kaitlyn and JoJo.
One of the weirdest things about this job is I’ve had 16 years of these people that have come into my life and that I’ve taken care of. I’ve married some of them and watched them have babies and created these families with them and on the off-camera side, we’ve had deaths and divorces and love affairs and marriages. We’ve kind of done it all and that’s not even the Television Show. And so yeah, we’re kind of a traveling band of Gypsies in this family that’s kind of stuck together, which is pretty special. I have some really good friends because of this Show.
On Former Bachelor Contestant Clare Crawley
Or as we’ve affectionately named her, “Clare the Cryer”
CHRIS: Clare is the one that talked to Raccoons. You’re gonna have to look back at some old shows to understand what I’m talking about. It’ll make sense if you watch. And it’s not even close to the weirdest statement I can make.
On Former Bachelor Contestant Ashley
CHRIS: What you see is what you get. I’ve been around her on camera obviously now for years and off camera and I always love and respect people who just own who they are. No matter what that is. We’re all different shapes, sizes and whatever, backgrounds, and you bring, we all bring something different to the table. And as long as you own that and you are who you are, I respect that like I get it. And that’s Ashley. She’ll be talking about whatever and suddenly, she’ll start crying.
By the way, sometimes she’s laughing hysterically and it turns into crying. And she’s happy and she cries and it’s her. I always tell her I love you for who you are.
On former Bachelor Brad Womack
CHRIS: Brad’s one of my favorite people too. He’s a good friend of mine, lives in Austin, Texas. Any time I’m in Austin, not only do I see him but usually he makes me stay at his place and he may be the most generous and wonderful giver we’ve ever had on the Show. One of my biggest disappointments was not finding him love cause he’s a big Lover.
Lastly…On Former Bachelor star Ben Higgins and the Ben and Lauren Split Up
CHRIS: Ben Higgins is a very good friend of mine. He was on Bachelor Winter Games. I was really pleasantly surprised that he decided to do Bachelor Winter Games, and I was excited because I know he’s had a tough time personally with what he got with Lauren.
And this is off camera. He and I have had a lot of long talks about this. I know he’s been struggling. He loved her, adored her, he felt a failure in the breakup. He was ashamed and I know people [think] it’s a stupid TV Show, but it’s not. It was his life.
I know him as a friend and so I thought [Bachelor Winter Games] would be good for him. Kind of rip the band aid off, let him get back in the pool.
Chris let us in on a secret conversation he and Ben shared on the show.
He and I had easily one of the most devastating heartfelt talks I’ve ever had with any contestant in the history of the Show, which is saying a lot. It was a really raw moment for both of us so that’s, you’ll see that on the Show. In those moments, Man, it’s just, I’m glad I am who I am. I’m glad that those people trust me and believe in me.
As far as the Ben and Lauren split up…
CHRIS: He’ll never speak ill of Lauren. He’ll never talk about what caused the break up, what it was. And by the way, vice versa. I’ve never heard her say a cross word about Ben.
More Bachelor Secrets
Any staged or recreated “moments” on The Bachelor?
CHRIS : We really don’t do that. We never recreate a moment. The only thing we’ll ever recreate is like, um, say it’s Night One and the Limo, cause the logistics of something messes up like the Limo pulled into the wrong spot, wasn’t in the light and she gets out and she’s like completely dark and staying in the shadow. It’s just technical. But no, if someone has their first kiss. And it’s like guys, we missed that, can you make out again? No.
How do you deal with people/contestants that are “just off their rails”?
CHRIS: If you’ll get to know me, you’ll know that I’m the same guy that’s on The Bachelor. That’s how I live my life. That’s how I host Shows and that’s how I treat the people on the Show. And I treat them with love, respect, dignity until you cross me and then I’ll end you. They’re like my Children. And I tell my Children this in all sincerity, it’s like don’t confuse me for one of your friends. I’m not your friend I’m your Father.
I’m good but if you cross me, I will end you. I could take you off this Earth just as easily. And that’s it.
Plans for more a more diverse stars of the show?
CHRIS: I don’t know. Socially, obviously things are progressing fast which is wonderful and they need to continue to progress. And I think the more that you see anything in Society, the more you see it reflected on TV. The more you see it reflected in our culture so hopefully, things are gonna continue to progress and you’re gonna continue to see that shows in Movies, TV, Music, etc.
Can we ever expect to see Chris Harrison as A Bachelor?
CHRIS: I am a Bachelor, even The Bachelor. I’m so bad at it at my normal private life, I can’t imagine putting that on television. It seems like a horrible idea.
Some final words from Chris Harrison on The Bachelor Winter Games…
CHRIS: I don’t want to get political by any means, but in this day and age, it was cool to just do something positive where we had all these different Races, Religions, Cultures from all around the world. No borders, no questions asked. We all came together and had a hell of a time. I think what I’m saying is my platform is more Fantasy Suites. That’s what the world needs, more Fantasy Suites.
“Even after 16 years, it’s nerve racking but we love it. Thank you for what you guys do and I appreciate the time.”
The 4 episode series will premiere on Tuesday, February 13 and continue on Thursday, February 15; Tuesday, February 20, with its finale on Thursday, February 22. All episodes will air 8:00-10:01 p.m. EST.
Photos courtesy of ABC