Ladies and gentleman, this is your Bachelor speaking.
It's official: Peter Weber, aka Pilot Pete, is ABC's new leading man, as the 27-year-old commercial airline pilot was unveiled as the next star of The Bachelor during Bachelor in Paradise's finale on Tuesday night.
After finishing in third on Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette, Peter was the frontrunner from the moment he sat in the exit limo...and he remained ABC's top pick throughout the casting process, even if other Bachelor Nation alums dominated more headlines, thanks to Bachelor in Paradise drama or, you know, being spotted on dates with super-famous women, you know, like Gigi Hadid.
While other men like Tyler Cameron, Mike Johnson and Derek Peth were in the mix, a source tells E! News Peter was "always" ABC and the producers' top choice, saying, "Peter has always been their guy. He's older, he as a career and he has a great backstory. He can definitely carry a show."
Still, the producers had the luxury of time, as filming doesn't start immediately after The Bachelorette season ends, so they were able to wait and see if any of the men on Bachelor in Paradise were able to pop the way Nick Viall and Colton Underwood, the past two Bachelors, had. While we were told to keep an eye on Derek, they were really waiting to see how Mike's time on the spinoff played out.
"Paradise has gotten so big. It's gotten to be such a huge franchise. It's a needle-mover. Before it wasn't such a huge deal. We didn't need to wait to see what happened on Paradise," host Chris Harrison recently told E! News. "But now, Paradise is such a huge franchise, we kinda need to see what effect that has on the audience and on some of the guys that are there."
Our source explained that even though the fan-favorite left BIP single, he didn't move the needle enough or provide enough of a compelling storyline on the beach to warrant the title of next Bachelor., much to many fans' distress. At least they can find solace in the fact that Mike, 31, seems to be coping just fine, reportedly going on several dates with pop star Demi Lovato after she expressed interest on social media during Hannah's season.
"It's been going well," an insider told us of the franchise's latest suitor-superstar pairing. "They seem to have a lot in common and are just enjoying getting to know each other."
But back to the man of the hour: Pilot Pete, who from the moment he exited the limo in his pilot uniform on night one screamed NBM: Next Bachelor Material.
Even Mike told E! News Peter would be his top pick for the job when we caught up with him at the Men Tell All taping.
"I think Peter would be a great choice for Bachelor. I mean, the guy is pretty good looking, he speaks well, he's 27 so I feel that he has some experience underneath his belt," Mike explained.
And throughout a season filled with Luke Parker-related insanity (LOL remember him?), "winner" Jed Wyatt's ultimate betrayal and truly unrivaled adoration on social media for Tyler C., Pilot Pete was a constant for the fans, a solid source of surprising sex appeal with boyish charm. And did we mention he has a real job? He's sweet, reliable and dependable, but still had the ability to push Hannah up against a wall for a seriously hot make out.
Then, of course, there's the infamous windmill, with the reveal that Peter was the man Hannah "f--ked in a windmilll...twice" becoming one of the ultimate pros on his list. But when she sweetened the deal, admitting during their charming reunion on After the Final Rose that it was actually four times....as his mom cheered on from the audience? Well, that's the stuff of legend, the stuff that creates a Bachelor.
An insider tells us that after the windmill, producers knew viewers would be interested in seeing Peter's journey continue as he had gained even more interest, making them even more confident in their initial interest in Peter as their top guy for the job.
Still, it isn't unheard of for the producers to court multiple options to be their next lead, even having more than one sign a contract and film early pieces for their season before making their ultimate decision. Nick Viall snagged the role from a blind-sided Luke Pell at the 11th hour. Before he became one of the most polarizing Bachelors ever, Arie Luyendyk Jr. was strung along before Chris Soules was ultimately picked.
Despite a habit of calling last-minute audibles, producers never truly waved off-course when it came to Peter, who has continued flying the friendly skies (and will continue to do so) after his season ended. In fact, producers saw his job as an added bonus and are definitely planning on playing into it during his season.
Plus, after seeing how Mike's time on Bachelor in Paradise played out (and underwhelmed), production was even more confident in Peter's ability to carry a season, one of the most important factors in the decision-making process, according to Robert Mills, ABC's Senior Vice President, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming.
"It's a combination of not who everybody wants in the moment and thinking this is it, but also seeing OK, who can really carry 20-22 hours on their back," Mills explained to E! News. "It's hard. You have to be there and it's not necessarily bad, it's certainly not for everyone. That's really the hardest part."
Basically, they don't care if fans don't immediately press the "Like" button on the tweet announcing the new Bachelor; they care more about you tuning in to watch the new Bachelor on Monday nights this winter.
But the biggest factor? You have to be sincere, you have to be ready for a committed relationship, you have to be—say it with us—in it for the right reasons, and Peter had the most sincere motivations, according to a source.
"Peter honestly was the most sincere," our source explained. "He's an amazing person and producers really believe his sincerity and that's one of the biggest factors that the decision ultimately came down to."
Peter's season of The Bachelor will kick off in January 2020 on ABC, though you can already start placing bets as the contestants have been already been revealed.