Let’ the games begin! #TheBachelorWinterGames that is! Things are going to get HOT, but winter tears are coming as 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, “The Bachelor Winter Games,” beginning TUESDAY, February 13th (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.
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 of 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.
Find out what will happen on Tuesday, Feb 13 at 8|7c on ABC!
In the next episode that airs THURSDAY, FEB. 15 (8:00–10:00 p.m. EST), romantic connections are well underway as the participants arrive at an ice rink for their second winter games challenge – speed skating.
Just a few weeks ago we had the chance to sit down with Chris Harrison to find out the inside scoop on The Bachelor Winter Games. Prior to our interview, we got a sneak peek at the first episode (minus the rose ceremony)…and let me tell you, I’m HOOKED! I can’t wait to see who finds love, who cries, who fumbles. This first episode will make you laugh!
The first question I had to ask Chris was about Bachelorette, Yuki. She doesn’t speak ANY ENGLISH…okay so she knows maybe 10 words. I needed to know if they had a translator for her…because how can you find love if you can communicate? I guess body language?
Chris said, “So Yuki is going to be the biggest Star in America ever.” We all laughed, because when we saw her in the first episode, we all loved her and wanted to know more about her. “The great thing about Yuki and I’m just excited for everybody to get to know her and enjoy what we enjoy. 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 awhile, 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. You know 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. And it was invigorating and creative and 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 obviously 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. Just, I just wanna 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.”
The original thought for the show was to make a Global Celebration of Love. But what did that mean? They had an idea, but it took some time to figure out what it meant. Chris said, “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.” I honestly didn’t know that different countries had their own version of The Bachelor. The Bachelor opened up all these franchises around the world…so they decided to bring the stars from all over to the one show…in a “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. And let’s do a Buy Up one where they have guns, paintball guns which I’m like, I’m not gonna put a gun in Clare’s hands. That’s just not smart.”
Chris Harrison has been the host of The Bachelor for 22 season (the first Bachelor was back in 2002). So we wondered which he preferred…The Bachelor or the Winter Games? He felt bad for saying it out loud…but admitted that “Bachelor Winter Games may be some of my favorite television we have ever produced. It’s that good. And I don’t know if anyone’s gonna see it. It’s on against the Olympics. It’s on against some tough competition. It’s only a 2 week run. But it’s one of those things, I would love to have good ratings. I’m not even necessarily caring at this point because it’s so damn good, it’s so good. And you guy saw a little bit, a taste of it but it’s phenomenal how well it turned out and it was exciting. It was fun for us to be just really producing on the fly, coming up with great ideas and you see this stuff work and the concept worked. And so it was phenomenal and so I’m excited. Hey look the Bachelor 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.”
“I love what I do, I love TV, I love creating it.” ~ Chris Harrison
“I’m a student of the game and I look back at people that I really respected whether it was Sportscasters like Al Michaels or Bob Costas back in the day and even Game Show guys like Bob Barker and I always, and Regis Philbin who obviously was a genius and I always liken myself to people that were just kind of themselves on TV. And I think if you’ll get to know me, you’ll know that I guess 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. And I treat them with love, respect, dignity until you cross me and then I’ll end you. They’re like my children. And I tell my children this in all sincerity, it’s like 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.” said Chris.
During the shows, Chris notices a lot of what is going on. He looks around the room and takes it all in. “I would have loved to have been in a room and watched you guys watch the show (Chris is referring to us when we watched the first episode) because I always sit in our Control Room, and again, I’m sitting with people that have done everything and have seen it all on TV. And when I look around the room during say, a proposal or a break up or Yuki, whatever it is, and I see everybody just silent and staring at the screen. And I’m like the concept works, it’s like this is good TV. We’re creating great TV and that’s how you know and if everybody’s kind of chatting and not really paying attention to what’s going on, it’s not interesting. 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. So it’s hard so 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 keeps in touch with a lot of the former bachelors and bachelorettes. “Whether intended or not, I run into a lot of them, like I was at a Concert last Monday and ran into Christine Schulman and just ran into Graham Bond who’s a DJ here in town. But a lot of them are my friends whether even back in the day, it’s Tristan and Ryan are dear friends of mine, and Andrew Firestone is one of my closest friends. Bob Ginny, and even now Ben Higgins and I talk all the time, Kate and Jo Jo. Yeah, one of the weirdest things about this job is I’ve had 16 years of these people that 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. And so yeah, 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.”
Okay ladies…I’m sad to report, Chris Harrison is a bachelor, but you will never see his as The Bachelor. He jokingly said, “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.” Many people have asked him over the years, but he is the host. He believes in the show and he believes in love…but in the end he feels it would be strange for him as the host to take on the role of The Bachelor.
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Disclosure: I am a Disney Blogger. This was an all-expense paid trip. All opinions are 100% my own.