9:22am PT by Jackie Strause
'The Bachelor Winter Games': Familiar Faces Lead International Cast
The Bachelor is going international with its upcoming Winter Olympics-timed spinoff, Winter Games.
Fourteen international bachelors and bachelorettes and 12 stars from the U.S. franchise will be competing for love in winter-themed challenges when the spinoff kicks off Tuesday, Feb. 13. "Is love the universal language?" asked ABC in the press release announcing the cast and premiere date on Monday morning.
In total, 26 eligible singles will compete when they trade in the sunny backdrop of the Bachelor mansion for Vermont winter resort The Hermitage Club.
Rounding out the American singles are familiar faces like former Bachelor Ben Higgins, Luke Pell (from JoJo Fletcher's Bachelorette season), Ashley Iaconetti (from Chris Soules' Bachelor season) and Eric Bigger (from Rachel Lindsay's recent Bachelorette cycle).
The international stars hail from Bachelor outpost franchises in Switzerland, Japan, Australia, China, Canada, Sweden, Finland and the U.K.
The four-episode series will be hosted by Chris Harrison and promises its usual dose of "tears, drama, romance and laughter."
The stars will participate in challenges from winter biathlon to ice dancing, with date cards being given to the winners of each challenge. Romantic dates will be tested with language barriers and cultural differences, including some "amusing" issues with intimacy. Viewers can expect guest appearances from original Bachelorette Trista and husband Ryan Sutter, current Bachelor Arie Luyendyk, Jr. and former Bachelorettes Lindsay and Fletcher; along with U.S. champion figure skaters Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner and Olympic skating legend Nancy Kerrigan.
Winter Games adds a winter spinoff to the veteran ABC franchise, as Bachelor in Paradise airs in the summer. Though the recent fourth season of Paradise was bogged down by controversy over a sexual misconduct investigation, the ratings were a success.
Reality chief Rob Mills explained to The Hollywood Reporter that the idea for Winter Games came about by asking: What would a winter version of Paradise look like?
"At the end of the day, it’s going to be about finding love again," said Mills, senior vp alternative series. "It will have some of the [former spinoff series] Bachelor Pad DNA, in that there is going to be a competition element. And the other thing we're excited about is having contestants form the international formats of The Bachelor. So you have somebody from Bachelor Japan, Bachelor Australia, Bachelor Canada and Bachelor U.K."
His biggest goal, however, is to produce some worldwide Bachelor success stories: "We’re really excited to see if we can have some international romances as well as the competition in U.S. vs. the world."
After its premiere, Winter Games will continue to air on Feb. 15, Feb. 20 and will show the finale on Feb. 22. All episodes air at 8 p.m. on ABC. The Bachelor is currently airing Mondays at 8 p.m.
See the current full cast in the list and gallery below; additional stars are expected to be announced.
Ben, 29, “The Bachelor” Season 20 – USA
Dean, 26, “The Bachelorette” Season 13 (Rachel Lindsay) – USA
Eric, 29, “The Bachelorette” Season 13 (Rachel Lindsay) – USA
Jamey, 33, “The Bachelorette” Season 13 (Rachel Lindsay) – USA
Josiah, 29, “The Bachelorette” Season 13 (Rachel Lindsay) – USA
Luke, 33, “The Bachelorette” Season 12 (JoJo Fletcher) – USA
Michael, 37, “The Bachelorette” Season 9 (Desiree Hartsock Siegfried) – USA
Ashley I., 29, “The Bachelor” Season 19 (Chris Soules) – USA
Clare, 36, “The Bachelor” Season 18 (Juan Pablo Galavis) – USA
Lesley, 30, “The Bachelor” Season 17 (Sean Lowe) – USA
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