I was invited on an all expense paid trip by Disney to attend the Red Carpet Black Panther World Premiere. During that time, I also had the opportunity to preview The Bachelor Winter Games and enjoy an interview with Chris Harrison.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there couldn’t be a more perfect time for match making and the endless pursuit for love. You’ve all heard of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and even Bachelor in Paradise. Now with the Winter Olympics comes The Bachelor Winter Games. Things are about to get really heated in the ultimate competition for love. The Bachelor Winter Games series premiere airs on The ABC Television Network starting on Tuesday, February 13th at 8pm EST with Episode 101 and continues on Thursday, February 15th at 8pm EST with Episode 102. A double dose of bachelors and bachelorettes from around the world with an appearance by Alumni Trista and Ryan Sutter, along with a performance by Country Singer/Songwriter Ruthie Collins. Check out my interview with Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor Winter Games!
The Bachelor Winter Games
“Episode 101” 2/13 at 8pm EST – Baby, it’s cold outside when 25 bachelors and bachelorettes from around the world meet in the streets of Manchester, Vermont, for a grand celebration of unity and love on the premiere of the new highly anticipated four-episode series. Chris Harrison hosts with ESPN SportsCenter anchor and sports journalist Hannah Storm and KABC-TV sports anchor and correspondent Ashley Brewer there to help report on all the exciting action. Bachelor royalty Trista and Ryan Sutter make a special appearance, serving as grand marshals to kick off the festivities. Following a featured performance by up-and-coming country music sensation Ruthie Collins, the singles move into their Bachelor villa at The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain in Wilmington, Vermont, and the games of love begin.
Back at the Bachelor villa, Chris Harrison reveals that the winter challenges will begin with a biathlon the next morning. Only the male and female winners will be awarded a date card and the opportunity to ask a potential love interest on a romantic escapade. With suitors searching for love from international versions of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” franchises, chemistry quickly heats up across borders, with an American man sharing a passionate kiss with a woman from New Zealand before the first night is over. The immediate connections among the group make the next day’s inaugural challenge as intense as ever. With Hannah Storm and Ashley Brewer there to help cover the day’s activities, a particularly entertaining biathlon takes place, ending with two lucky winners skiing off with a date card and a decision to make. One winner makes a difficult choice, leading to a full-on meltdown from a Bachelor Nation fan favorite. While one couple heads to Wilmington, Vermont, for a night out on the town, another departs for a charming date where sparks fly as fireworks light up the sky. Later, at the first dramatic cocktail party, Chris Harrison delivers a bolt from the blue – five people will have to say goodbye at the end of the night, leaving alliances to be made and romance to be had if anyone wants a chance to stay in the game.
“Episode 102” 2/15 at 8pm EST – In the next episode romantic connections are well underway as the participants arrive at an ice rink for their second winter games challenge – speed skating. Chris Harrison and Hannah Storm are at the anchor desk with Ashley Brewer on the sidelines to recap the qualifying rounds where some stumble, some speed and some trudge to the finish line. After a surprising twist, two unexpected skaters win a coveted date card. One winner and his lady of choice go on an adventurous tubing date where concerns are brought up that lead to a relationship-defining conversation. Another couple takes a picturesque horse-drawn carriage ride and establishes a deep bond in a wood-burning hot tub. One bachelor ends a short-lived courtship for another lady; but everyone knows that in Bachelor world when one door closes, another is always ready to be opened, especially when Jordan from New Zealand finally shows up to the villa. At the rose ceremony, the remaining participants have no idea what to expect until Chris Harrison makes an important announcement that sends some people scrambling in order to avoid being sent home.
So who can you expect to see on The Bachelor Winter Games?
The contestants are a mix of those that have been on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette in the USA and across the world. There are 5 women and 7 men from the USA along with 9 women and 5 men from the International shows.
USA Women: Ashley I., 29, “The Bachelor” Season 19, Clare, 36, “The Bachelor” Season 18, Lesley, 30, “The Bachelor” Season 17, Bibiana, 30, “The Bachelor, Season 22, Lauren G., 27, “The Bachelor, Season 22
USA Men: Ben, 29, “The Bachelor” Season 20, Dean, 26, “The Bachelorette” Season 13, Eric, 29, “The Bachelorette” Season 13, Jamey, 33, “The Bachelorette” Season 13, Josiah, 29, “The Bachelorette” Season 13, Luke, 33, “The Bachelorette” Season 12, Michael, 37, “The Bachelorette” Season 9
International Women: 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
International Men: 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
Interview with Chris Harrison
How did they come up with the concept of The Bachelor Winter Games?
“When we started Bachelor Winter Games, we had no clue about what we getting ourselves into and what we were gonna do. We had this concept and it was very loose and it was fun for us because we’ve been doing the Bachelor and Bachelorette for 16 years, which I love and it’s my baby, but if you’ve seen the show, we’ve been doing it for a while, we got it down, we know what we’re doing. There are subtle changes and small little changes depending on who it is and what, but it’s The Bachelor and Bachelorette. With Winter Games, there was nothing, there was no concept. There was no idea. It was all us, so it was fun for us after 16 years to completely come up with a brand new show.
“Here’s what we’re gonna start with. Let’s make this Global Celebration of Love. OK, let’s define that and figure out what that means. And so what we figured out was, The Bachelor is a phenomenon here obviously in the United States and it’s one of the biggest franchises in the history of TV, and it has been for almost 2 decades. But it’s actually huge around the world and I’m not sure you guys know that, but a lot of people don’t know that from all corners of the world from Japan, China, Finland, Sweden, from Russia, the UK, and Australia and New Zealand and Canada.
We have all these franchises around the world. We thought how do we kind of open the door to that? And how do you kind of take advantage of this huge phenomenon, not just in the States but around the world so we thought, let’s bring out our stars a la Bachelor’s Paradise. But let’s get stars from around the world. We kind of 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.”
Thousands upon thousands of people apply for a chance to join the Bachelor Nation! Fortunately for those looking for love, casting is now open 365 days a year. All applications are kept on file, and the show has at times pulled up applicants from years prior when they find a fit. Considering they’ve come across so many people, I wondered if there are any contestants that Chris wishes he could play match maker with because they would be great for each other.
“I’ve played Matchmaker to people but I never thought you should meet this person from Season One or Season Two. I’ve never crossed shows. They do that on their own. I don’t know if you know about Bachelor Nation, Bachelor Family but they cross-pollinate a lot. They go on these trips and shows and that’s kind of where Bachelor in Paradise came from, the summer show because the show is Bachelors and Bachelorettes would go on these reunions on their own.
We thought, that’s fantastic. Let’s put that on television. So we created Bachelor in Paradise and that’s what it was, the best of the best coming together. And it’s not always even fan favorites. A lot of it are personal favorites of ours that someone who got overlooked, someone who we thought was really special that didn’t get the recognition and they were just following one person they didn’t clique with and so they never got that shot. And so we thought, let’s bring them back and give them another shot. It’s fun to cast those shows because you’re kind of creating couples and playing matchmaker as you’re heading into it.”
We watched a sneak preview of the first episode. It seems like they’ve found a breakout star for the show in Yuki from Japan. She knows only like a handful of words in English and Chris is in love with her – and so am I. Chris told us that he had a very dramatic and sincere talk with Yuki, in Japanese! So how did she make it through the show with her limited English vocabulary?
“Yuki is going to be the biggest Star in America ever. I’m partly 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 and I believe that the story is correct. There’s a loose interpretation. She wasn’t brought back for the next one because she was too big of a star. And now we know why because when she was on, we have this bank of monitors in our control room and we all were just mesmerized by this girl and every time she was on TV. We really are the most jaded people in the world and if we’re sitting there just obsessed and we’re like screw everybody else. Get Ben and Dean off camera. I just want to see Yuki talk for days. And so she was just fascinating. She was incredibly sweet and yes, we had a translator.
My guess I would say, over under, it was probably 15 to 20 words that she legitimately knew in English and then we had a Japanese translator who helped us and helped Yuki because I would go in and say whatever it is that I needed to say. then somebody had to tell her what I just said because, there were rules to what we were doing. When you do a Biathalon, you need to know what that is but there is a point. I had a very dramatic, sincere talk with Yuki in Japanese. It was the greatest achievement of my career. I don’t think I sucked completely. For a kid from Texas, I think I did OK. She seemed to understand but you really don’t know cause a lot of times she’s just nice and she shakes her head.”
#TheBachelor and Bachelorette always gonna be my baby. It’s changed my life on many levels so that’ll always be my favorite but this was really fun and I haven’t had this much fun in a long time via @chrisbharrison #TheBachelorWinterGames Click To Tweet
A lot of emotion goes into these shows. So how does Chris handle these different people with different personalities and different issues?
“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. I treat them with love, respect, and dignity until you cross me and then I’ll end you. They’re like my children. I tell my children this in all sincerity, 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.”
Chris is the ultimate Bachelor, but will we ever see him on the other side of the show?
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. In all seriousness, obviously people ask that a lot. I believe in the show and I believe in love and I had a wonderful marriage for many years and I have two great kids and I have this finite amount of time with them before they’re off to college and I produced this show for so long to be all of a sudden a contestant on it, I guess we’d call it, would be really weird. It doesn’t make sense to me because I produce and when I’m hosting, I’m even producing and to be sitting on a date and thinking I know everyone in the room because I’ve worked with these people and raised them 15, 20 years and then on top of that, I’m worried about the lighting, and if we’re getting good content and where the scene’s going, and how do we end it. And I’m like, this is not a good way to find love.”
How does one keep themselves in control as the host of the show? It’s in the nature of most people to want to fix things. Chris has learned to just let things be for the sake of the contestants.
“It’s human nature to want to fix a situation. If you and I or the 3 of us are talking and there is something emotional going on or something difficult or awkward or whatever, our human instinct is to step in to fix that and speak. It’s hard and I think one of my gifts as a host and as I’ve learned over the years, one of the hardest things I do is not speak, and not jump in.And that’s a hard thing to do especially on television because everyone has this need to fill dead space because dead space is awkward but sometimes, it’s really needed and because that person wants to speak or they want to emote some emotional whatever it is, and you need to allow that to happen and if you fix it, then they can just bury it or move on. It’s hard, the toughest things for me, those horribly awkward situations or somebody’s really breaking down, is not to fix it. And that’s an odd talent that many of us don’t have because it’s awkward, it’s tough. It’s even tougher on the host or whoever is doing the interviewing, as it is on the person breaking down.”
Chris stays in touch with contestants from past shows, and is pretty good friends with several of them. He keeps in touch with some and is always running into others.
“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 who 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. We’re kind of a traveling band of Gypsies in this family that’s kind of stuck together, which is pretty special. It’s neat. I have some really good friends because of this show.”
What happens if the cameras miss something happening? Have they ever recreated a moment? I mean, it seems awkward to ask two people to kiss again, or repeat a conversation, but we don’t want to miss anything good, right?
We really don’t do that. We never like recreate a moment. The only thing we’ll ever recreate is, say it’s night one and the limo, because the logistics or 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. Then we will do a retake and back it up a little bit. Let’s do it again. Stuff like that, if 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.
Some final words from Chris about The Bachelor Winter Games…
“Look the whole thing was a social experiment for us because we know what we’re gonna get when we do Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor Paradise because we know these people and they’re hand picked and we know. The tough thing for us is we’re picking stars around the world but our producers don’t know them. We did as much research as we could, we talked to producers from around the world but culturally it’s very different. Say Bachelor China and even Japan, if there’s a kiss, it’s huge. And that’s it. And most don’t kiss ever.
So it runs the gamut. We had to take that into hand and what we did was I put that on the cast. 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 was relationships from around the world, and friendships, I know that will be together forever.
It was kind of this proud thing where we’re like, this works. It was cool to show and 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 helluva time. And I’m like we can overcome differences and just have a great time, and kiss. I think what I’m saying is my platform is more fantasy suites. That’s what the world needs, more fantasy suites.
We love what we do and hopefully, that comes across when I talk. I’m passionate about it and unfortunately, I’m the face and the voice of this show but there’s hundreds if not thousands of people behind me that I love and adore and they are my family. It’s not lost on us what we do, and we’ve been doing for 16 years thanks to you guys. Thanks to Bachelor Nation and everyone. I’ll go to bed nervous. I will sleep terribly tonight and I’ll wake up and the ratings come out at 8:30 Pacific Time and I’ll be dying to know if everyone watched. Even after 16 years, it’s nerve racking but we love it, so thank you.”
I hope you enjoyed my interview with Chris Harrison! Which Bachelor Nation show is your favorite?
Join fans of Bachelor Nation from all around the world on social networks talking about their favorite moments using #TheBachelorWinterGames and #ABCTVEvent