Chris Harrison and Arie Luyendyk are reunited at last. The Indy 500 driver was officially announced as the season 22 Bachelor a week ago, and people are still discussing the surprise decision, including longtime franchise host Harrison.
Harrison stopped by Live With Kelly and Ryan on Monday, September 11, to further elaborate on the choice of Luyendyk as Bachelor, a controversial move–yet again–from producers. While Rachel Lindsay’s finalist Peter Kraus was the clear and apparent frontrunner for the position, executives surprisingly brought back the five-year-old franchise name, leaving newer fans befuddled.
— The Bachelor (@BachelorABC) September 12, 2017
Harrison, however, defended the decision on Monday to Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest. “Yes, he is a blast from the past,” he said. “I know a lot of people love Peter as well. They kind of look alike oddly as well. They’re all hairless, they all eat a lot of protein…”
Luyendyk was a finalist on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette, and like Kraus, a frontrunner for the Bachelor role numerous times. His time didn’t come season after season… until 2017. “He’s always been in the pipeline,” Harrison continued. “The timing just never worked out.”
Harrison also touched on the topic Friday with Seacrest on his radio show. “Peter was definitely up for it. Dean was up for it,” the TV personality expressed. “I think the main thing is [with] social media, these days, everyone just feels like they know what’s going on.”
Timing was also the main factor while considering Kraus, who didn’t seem like he had moved on just yet from Lindsay. “First and foremost.. Rachel, there are so very many things that I’ve wished I could say to you since the day we parted ways in Spain, but for everyone’s sake, I’ll keep it short… You gave me a chance and all that I can say is thank you,” Kraus wrote in an emotional Instagram update last week. “I have a heart filled with love for you now and always and wish you nothing but the best in your life and love ahead.”
ABC Senior Vice President of programming Robert Mills also spoke out about the decision. “Peter was absolutely in discussion. He sort of alluded to that as well. I think at this point in his life, the breakup with Rachel was still very raw,” the network executive said to ET. “Sometimes you move on very quickly, sometimes you don’t. I think that, for him, there were still residual feelings there, and it was a very real breakup.”
The new Bachelor season, starring Luyendyk Jr., will premiere in January 2018. Watch the promo above.