2:58pm PT by Jackie Strause
'The Bachelor' to Make Star's Virginity a Storyline, Says Chris Harrison
Bachelor host Chris Harrison is shedding some light on how ABC plans to handle its star being a virgin on the next season of the reality dating series.
The new star of the franchise is Colton Underwood. The 26-year-old former NFL player appeared on this summer's Bachelor in Paradise and before that, he placed fourth on Becca Kufrin's recent season of The Bachelorette. Prior to his elimination, Underwood revealed to Kufrin — and millions of viewers — that he was a virgin, and his personal choice became a talking point both on- and off-camera.
"That's going to be one of the storylines," Harrison confirmed when speaking to Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on Tuesday's Live With Kelly and Ryan. "How does he deal with it? How do the women deal with this? It's kind of a great social issue to conquer and tackle this season."
Underwood broke down in tears during the reunion taping for The Bachelorette over the criticism he received from his castmates and the backlash he saw online from viewers. When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter after that Men Tell All taping, he said he hoped ABC would "showcase" the personal choice he has made if he were to become The Bachelor.
"The show is known for being romantic and for being intimate and I think the stigma around virginity is that you're not romantic or sexual," Underwood said. "So that's an interesting topic that, if ABC was ready, it would be something to showcase."
Sean Lowe, who starred as the Bachelor in 2013, was a born-again virgin and remains the only Bachelor star to be married to his winner today. Lowe and his finalist, wife Catherine Giudici, have two children together. The producers, however, shied away from making Lowe's personal decision a major storyline when the season aired.
Perhaps times have changed for the ABC franchise. When asked if Underwood will remain a virgin by the season's end, Harrison quipped to Seacrest, "Not if I do my job right."
The Bachelor begins filming in the fall and returns to ABC in January. Underwood will also appear on the Bachelor in Paradise post-finale reunion show, which airs Tuesday. He is the second star to make the jump from Paradise to Bachelor.
Watch Harrison's appearance above.