6:54pm PT by Jackie Strause, Christina Schoellkopf
ABC Casts Nick Viall as Next 'Bachelor'
Nick Viall is getting his fourth shot at love on the Bachelor franchise.
ABC has announced that Nick, who was the runner-up on two seasons of The Bachelorette and is currently appearing on Bachelor in Paradise, will be the next Bachelor. The announcement came on Tuesday's After Paradise, the aftershow for the summer spinoff series.
"I'm definitely ready for it — I'm really excited," Nick, 35, told co-hosts Michelle Collins and Sean Lowe about his appointment as leading man for the 21st cycle. "I couldn't be more excited about the possibility of it working out."
Nick placed second on Andi Dorfman's season of The Bachelorette in 2014. One year later, he returned to the franchise, only to have his heart broken again on national television as runner-up with Kaitlyn Bristowe.
Though Bachelor viewers, who are collectively referred to as Bachelor Nation, have watched Nick lose out on two fiancees, he also is remembered for his behavior on Andi's After the Final Rose. During the live post-finale special, he revealed that the pair had sex during the private fantasy suite dates. Andi, who chronicled the slut-shaming she experienced as a result in her book, ended up choosing Josh Murray. (The pair ultimately split.)
Nick and Josh are both currently on Bachelor in Paradise, where they once again fought over the same girl, with Josh winning out.
"I've made my mistakes," Nick admitted to Collins on After Paradise. "I've had an interesting process through this journey, and it hasn't worked so far. Hopefully, things will end up on a more positive note."
The After Paradise hosts acknowledged Nick's turnaround from bad boy to fan favorite, with Collins referring to the Bachelor as his "redemption" season. The software salesman and model is currently dating Jen Saviano on Bachelor in Paradise, and Collins called his Bachelor announcement a spoiler alert for how their relationship will play out.
"You'll have to watch to see how it ends," said Nick with a smirk, about his Bachelor in Paradise run, which ends on the Sept. 6 finale. He then revealed the qualities he's looking for as the Bachelor: "Someone who is confident and knows their own self-worth. And somebody who makes me a better person and challenges me and isn't afraid to give as much as I like to."
Nick's appointment as leading man comes as a surprise, as the franchise typically selects a fan favorite from the previous season of The Bachelorette. Before the last-minute switch, Luke Pell, who placed fourth during Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher's most recent season, had been the frontrunner pick since his elimination, according to show sources.
Collins, who co-hosts the weekly hourlong aftershow with former Bachelor Lowe, teased the announcement ahead of the episode on social media and told viewers during the show, "You're going to die!" about the pick.
— Michelle Collins (@michcoll) August 30, 2016
Franchise creator Mike Fleiss, who had initially promised that he would make the announcement on his Twitter account, spent the night teasing who the Bachelor wouldn't be, naming both Luke and JoJo's runner-up, Robby Hayes.
Tuesday's After Paradise also revealed that a fan-favorite couple from Bachelor in Paradise has split. After leaving the show together on Tuesday's episode, Caila Quinn and Jared Haibon appeared on the aftershow to give an update on their relationship.
"We just couldn't really get past Paradise," said Caila, referring to castmember Ashley Iaconetti getting between them. "Friends call him often and he answers and things were brought up that we couldn't really let go of. It made it hard to move forward."
Though Caila met Jared's parents, they ended the relationship after six weeks due to "other forces." When Jared appeared, he confirmed that he and Ashley are still friends, and when Ashley surprised the pair on-air, she told Collins that she doesn't feel responsible for Caila and Jared's split.
The decision to announce the Bachelor on After Paradise could boost show ratings. Since its first season, which was hosted by Chris Harrison, After Paradise has seen a drop. In the three weeks it's aired, the same-day ratings have been 0.6, 0.5 and 0.7, respectively, in the 18-49 demo.
ABC's choice of Nick as the next Bachelor continues the long-running franchise's diversity woes. On all 20 seasons of The Bachelor, there has been only one diverse star, American-born Venezuelan Juan Pablo Galavis.
ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey was again pressed about the lack of diversity on the franchise at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, where she explained that the challenge is to get more diverse candidates on the show from the start. For the past several seasons, the new Bachelor or Bachelorette has been a popular castmember from the previous cycle. For JoJo's season, there were 21 white and six nonwhite contestants and her final eight were all white.
"I would very much like to see some changes,” admitted Dungey. "It’s worked very well for us because the audiences feel really engaged [in choosing] that candidate. What we’d like to do is broaden that. We need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning. That is something we really want to put some effort and energy towards."
Season 21 of The Bachelor will air in January on ABC. Bachelor in Paradise will air Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT, with After Paradise following Tuesday's finale at 9 p.m.
Watch Nick's announcement on After Paradise here.