Surprising Bachelorfans nowadays is no easy feat, especially when it was all but official that Ben was the new Bachelor. But on Monday's After Paradise, host Chris Harrison, with the help of Kaitlyn's polarizing runner-up Nick Viall, pulled a prank that had many, if not fooled for 30 seconds, at least laughing.
"I'll take small credit for the way I played it, but this was the brainchild and the genius of none other than [ABC executive] Rob Mills," Harrison told TVGuide.com Tuesday after the live show. "He pitched it to me and I just about fell out of my chair. Obviously, we had to approach Nick and he immediately saw the humor behind it and said, 'I'm all in.' Major kudos for Nick being such a good sport. It's funny people think we hate Nick or I hate Nick, but I don't hate him at all! So it was fantastic to have him on board and I thought it was cute and fun, and it absolutely had its intended effect."
With the not-so-shocking big news following the joke that Ben was officially the guy, Harrison can openly say there's never been an easier decision. "It's a no-brainer and it was the easiest choice in the world," he says. "He's stunningly, ruggedly handsome, but he's incredibly kind and generous and has a very good heart."
Although Harrison admits there is a downside - he's been bombarded by women wanting to get on the show. "I can't tell you the amount of direct messages I get on Instagram a day and none of them are for me. I'd love to say a couple are, but literally 100 percent of the messages are pictures of women saying, 'I am meant to be with this guy, I will leave my job, I will leave my life, I'll do anything.' It's all about Ben, it's hysterical. So it lets me know that A) I am not really worthy of any attention, but B) he's the right choice. So now it's hard for casting because I don't know how they're going to pare down. And I've had several former contestants - I won't throw anyone under the bus and say who — reach out already."
Are you excited that Ben is the Bachelor? And did you fall for Nick and Chris' prank?
Bachelor in Paradise airs on Sundays and Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
Watch the announcement: