'Bachelor' Reveal: Was Peter Weber a Safe Pick?

"Pilot Pete" from Hannah Brown's cycle of 'The Bachelorette' will star on the 2020 season.
John Fleenor/ABC
Peter Weber

When The Bachelor returns for its 24th season in 2020, Peter Weber will be in the ABC franchise's cockpit.

The Delta pilot from Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette was announced as the franchise's next leading man on Tuesday during the Bachelor in Paradise season-six finale. When he made his debut, the live studio audience went wild for the fan-favorite — who is best known for having sex four times in a windmill during Fantasy Suites week with Brown (among other endearing traits).

Weber's announcement did not come as a total surprise. As The Hollywood Reporter reported, the 28-year-old half-Cuban contestant was the frontrunner for the gig ever since fellow fan-favorite Tyler Cameron took himself out of the running by dating supermodel Gigi Hadid. While Mike Johnson, also a standout from Brown's season, was considered, the network ultimately chose Weber over what would have been the franchise's first black male lead.

During his first interview as The Bachelor with franchise host Chris Harrison, Weber said he is confident the process can work for him after finding closure over his breakup with Brown. "I have all the faith in the world this can work for me — and I know it's going to," he said. "My entire life I have truly looked forward to finding my girl and that person that I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with."

But is Weber a too-safe move for the long-running franchise? THR's show experts discuss the pros and cons, and what it means for the future of the reality dating series.

Jackie Strause: We have a somewhat age-appropriate star! Putting the obvious missed opportunity aside for a moment — Kimberly, can we at least celebrate that we will be seeing some over-25 contestants this season?

Kimberly Nordyke: I have nothing against Peter; I like Peter. However, we already had a Bachelor pilot and I fear we are going to be subjected to another season of aviation puns (who can forget how many times we heard "On the Wings of Love" during Jake Pavelka's season?). The Bachelor producers never met a cringe-worthy pun that they couldn't drive into the ground (new Bachelor drinking game idea: Drink a shot every time someone mentions the "mile high club"). Or maybe we'll just get a season full of windmill references.

Lexy Perez: At first glance, Peter is the total package. He is good-looking, has a great job and is close with his family. But he is definitely the safest choice and, dare I say it, the most boring. Throughout Hannah's season, Peter was known as the nice guy who hardly engaged in any of the drama. He, like Tyler C., was basically packaged to be a Bachelor contender with a perfect edit. He's not any different from the rest, which makes it easy to tell how this season will play out. Just like Colton's season focused on his virginity, Peter's season will focus on his windmill storyline with Hannah. It will be overhyped and get old quickly. When Colton was a virgin he was made fun of, but Peter is overly sexual, so it's great?

Strause: The sex-positive trend is something I would love to see stick around after Hannah's season. No offense to Colton — whose season was also a ratings success — but Hannah showed that this franchise is ready to talk about sex in a mature way and the reception to her season proves that the audience is finally ready. (Kaitlyn Bristowe was ahead of the times.) The entire premise of the show is leading up to multiple, camera-less overnight dates, for Pete's sake. (See Bachelor producers, we can use puns, too!) Pete actually provided for one of the funniest moments of the season (when Hannah found condoms in his car) and the biggest cheer of the season when his sexual prowess in a windmill prompted sex-shaming Luke P.'s exit from the show. I just wish he didn't still live at home. 

Kirsten Chuba: Colton and Hannah definitely deepened and expanded the show in terms of sex, religion and non-engagements. Then on Bachelor in Paradise, Demi Burnett and Kristian Haggerty broke ceilings as the first-ever LGBTQ storyline of the franchise — I thought racial diversity was going to be that final frontier. I really wonder why ABC passed on Mike, and didn’t even seem to seriously consider him, given his non-lead-like portrayal on Paradise and his comments that they hadn’t had serious talks (though he might have been saying that per ABC's orders). This seemed like a perfect opportunity to finally have a black Bachelor, and it’s confusing to me why they would choose Peter, someone who doesn’t seem to have an emotional storyline other than his parents’ fairy tale marriage. All we can hope for Mike now is that he and Demi Lovato work out.

Nordyke: I am disappointed that ABC missed another opportunity to feature the first-ever black Bachelor. Mike would have been highly watchable as the franchise's star, and it even seemed they were setting him up for the part when they showed him leaving Paradise emotional over having not made a strong connection with any of the women. They really focused in on him during that rose ceremony and made him very sympathetic to the viewers when it comes to his not finding love. I don't know if that was intentional, to throw us off, or just part of testing the waters with him as the possible star to see how viewers reacted, but it definitely pulled some heartstrings. However, he then got little-to-no airtime on the reunion show. Maybe — as Kirsten points out — he is already taken.

Strause: When I spoke to him weeks ago and before the Paradise reunion/Pete announcement was filmed at the end of August, Mike said he was flattered to be considered and praised the steps the franchise was taking towards becoming inclusive and diverse. He sounded like a man who wanted the gig, if offered. In my years of covering this franchise, we have consistently asked: What will it take to get more diverse leads? The answers from the execs and producers have always been that the person has to be a finalist and popular among Bachelor Nation, and has to be genuinely looking for love. We know that Mike checked those boxes. The biggest hit also comes with having another season of contestants that are only slightly more diverse — ABC released Pete's women early and at first glance, Rachel Lindsay's season is still far and away the most representative of America. All we can do now is wait for someone to speak out and explain what happened. 

Chuba: Besides Mike being an obvious choice, I also have to point out another missed opportunity in Derek Peth. He would’ve been a great choice, as someone who has already gotten engaged on the show; who handled the Demi-Kristian situation with so much respect and class; and who is a normal, non-influencer adult. Plus he’s in his early 30s, which would take the show out of the young contestant pool it gets stuck in. Bachelor Nation was clamoring for him to be considered after his run on Paradise and yet he was never officially in talks.

Perez: I think after Tyler C. jumped off the Bachelor train, Mike became the top contender among viewers. But I don't think it's surprising he wasn't picked. Mike was hardly shown on Paradise, which begs the question if he was really ready to be the lead of the show. As much as the audience seems to love him, it seemed like he was unfortunately forgettable and we'll never know why he truly wasn't selected. I, too, am the most surprised that Derek wasn't chosen. He was a nice guy who showed different facets to himself throughout his first tenure on Paradise and more so his second. I may be the oddball when I say Derek was my top pick for Bachelor!

The Bachelor returns Jan. 6 on ABC.