Meet your new Bachelor: Ben Higgins!
As E! News was the first to report, the 27-year-old software salesman and third-runner up of Kaitlyn Bristowe's season is the top pick to be the franchise's 20th Bachelor. (ABC has yet to officially announce the news.)
But his road to Bachelor-dom wasn't a smooth one as the process to find the next Bachelor or Bachelorette is way more involved than most viewers would anticipate.
We hounded down franchise super-producer Alycia Rossiter, the woman behind your obsession with all three shows, about how they actually pick the next Bachelor and Bachelorette each season.
"We always look for fan favorites," she said, calling it the "'Who do you want?' phase" of their process, where she actually polls fans for their opinions--including us! "And so if you're looking for fan-favorites, it's really finding out who the world wants and who are potential women who are coming on the show to meet the love of their life."
Aside from being popular amongst fans, the chosen one must also be authentic. "We also look for is this person really ready to find the love of their life and get married?" she explained. "We really want to find someone who honestly wants to get married and start their adult life in a partnership. There's so many factors. The audience has to love them, but if you love them and I think they're just in it for a rollercoaster ride that's no good for us."
But how does the show decide, like they did with Britt and Kaitlyn, to have two leads? "I've always been into two," Rossiter said. "The only thing is it has to warrant that. I don't think you want a gimmick. I think that only works if we're really undecided and if our cast pool of 25 women is really split. If they're not split and there's a ground-swell toward a Bachelor, that's who we're going to name."
When you have a Bachelor as nice as Ben H, or Chris Soules before him, it might seem like a good idea to cast, well, crazier-than-usual contestants (Kelsey Poe anyone?) to ensure drama. But Rossiter rebuffed that theory, telling us, "When you get the right Bachelor they are so phenomenally appealing that they bring out desire in all of us. So you don't have to cast crazies. They are such a prize that we all work hard for them."
And having a long history with the franchise doesn't actually hurt someone's chances, with Rossiter saying the show would consider having a Bachelor in Paradise contestant as a future Bachelor or Bachelorette. Her one example? Jared Haibon.
"Jared's a great guy, he's so handsome," she gushed. "He was one of those ones that he evolved into the heartthrob. Some guys walk into our casting and they already know they're a heartthrob. Jared grew and I still don't think he feels comfortable being a heartthrob. And that's his appeal."
What could hurt a candidate's chances though is their professional career, like Chris "Cupcake" Strandburg, who is a dentist. "I love Cupcake, but I mean [he] has a really serious job," Rossiter explained. "It takes a lot of time off from your serious job."
Do you think Ben H is the right choice to be the next Bachelor? Sound off in the comments!