The 41-year-old reality star, who had been a two-time runner-up on The Bachelorette before landing the leading role in the 21st season The Bachelor, reflected on his Bachelor Nation journey during the Dec. 20 episode of the Trading Secrets podcast.
According to Viall, he had only one request when negotiating his contact for the ABC dating show: "Please cast women I'm going to be into."
"I didn't really care about the money," he told podcast host Jason Tartick, who appeared on Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette before finding love with Kaitlyn Bristowe. "I mean, I needed the money at the time, but I would've done it for free."
Nick said he had already "lived without a job for a year" prior to getting the gig, so he would have asked producers to simply "give me what I need to survive for another year to get through The Bachelor" as his pay.
"I basically said, ‘Give me this number,'" he recalled of the actual contract negotiations, noting that his pay was such a "reasonable" amount that it took only a day to close the deal. "All I cared about [were the women]."
Back in 2016, fans were left in shock when Nick beat out front-runner Luke Pell for the coveted role of the Bachelor. At the time, a source close to Nick told E! News that the move was "a last-minute decision" that came together just days before the big announcement.
During his appearance on Trading Secrets, Nick offered his speculations into why producers picked him over Luke: "I think he negotiated—like, they had no other options."
"I don't think the producers particularly cared for Luke Pell the person," Nick said, explaining that he himself wasn't concerned about pay because he "knew the money would come" eventually.
"It's stupid for anyone who's offered that role [to say no]," he added. "Nickel-and-diming over [$10,000 or] $20,000 is the dumbest thing you can do given what you can do with that opportunity gives you."
Luke responded to Nick's comments in a statement to E! News on Dec. 22, saying, "I can't speak to where Nick gets info related to Bachelor casting contracts from network attorneys, but I will say that was very gracious of Nick to say that he would have done it for free. In light of that comment by Nick I know a few veteran's charities and children's charities that would greatly appreciate the support of him donating his Bachelor talent fee proceeds back. During these tough economic times many non-profits are now seeing the impact of less funding coming in during this holiday season."
Five years ago, Luke said in a statement to E! News that he and producers "had come to terms with a contract that everyone on both ends was happy with," but was told right before he was due to fly out to Los Angeles for The Bachelor that the show had gone with another leading man. He said at the time, "I didn't know who the Bachelor was—I found out with the rest of America."
For Nick, his time on The Bachelor led to more opportunities—including a stint on Dancing With the Stars. The Viall Files host said he had "some meetings" with people from the ABC dance competition when in talks for season three of Bachelor in Paradise, but nothing came to fruition until after he became the Bachelor.
"They wouldn't have put me on Dancing With the Stars if I wasn't the Bachelor," Nick said. "I'm confident in saying that."