PEOPLE Now caught up with Chris Harrison this week, and the longtime franchise host — who is also hosting the 16th season of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire — opened up the decision to cast Arie Luyendyk Jr. as the next leading man instead, revealing Kraus’ Bachelor journey might not be over just yet.
“Peter was a great guy — and by the way, might be a great [Bachelor],” said Harrison of the 31-year-old Wisconsin native, who was initially rumored to be next in line before Luyendyk Jr. got the gig last week.
“Here’s the thing: It all comes down to timing,” Harrison said. “Peter would be a good Bachelor, could be a good Bachelor and may be a good Bachelor. Maybe he’ll end up in Paradise, maybe on the Winter Games. Because Peter didn’t get the nod does not mean we had this meeting and thought, ‘That’s really a bad guy.’ He’s not! It’s not an indictment on him as much as this is the direction we’re going to take the show.”
Harrison admitted the decision was “a tough thing for people to handle,” acknowledging the shock, disbelief and outrage some fans expressed on Twitter.
“I love this about Bachelor Nation — I love how fervent they are, I love how passionate they are and I like that they were upset that we didn’t choose Peter,” he said. “That’s great, that means you care and you love this guy. Keep rooting for him! He’s not dead, he’s not gone.”
We also had to ask Harrison about franchise creator Mike Fleiss’ recent tweet that the show isn’t “done with the shocking announcements,” which prompted some fans to speculate about a double-Bachelor scenario.
“No. It’s not happening,” said Harrison, confirming that Fleiss was just “trolling” us all.
“Please don’t let that happen!” he added.
FROM PEN: Why Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay Didn’t Choose Peter Kraus
“First of all, he’s a good friend of mine, he’s a good man, he’s a gentleman,” Harrison said. “I’m glad he’s coming back, and I’m glad he’s going to get his chance. He’s someone that we’ve always wanted to do the show with, and I really don’t know why [we haven’t] — other than, I guess, just timing. There’s always been somebody else.”
“What I would really say to people is this: It’s not as simple as we take a poll, we look on Twitter and then we make our decision due to popularity,” he explained. “There really are a lot of layers to this.”
“What would make good television?” he continued. “Maybe we want to kind of change things up — we’ve kind of been in a rut doing the same thing over and over with the same kind of group of people. Let’s mix it up. Because when you change the Bachelor, that changes the women as well and it changes the dynamic. It kind of hits the reset button sometimes.”
“So there’s lots of things that go into who the Bachelor is going to be,” he added. “But at the end of the day, [it’s about] good television, what can we produce around, and who is good? Who is a sincere person that we think, possibly, will get engaged?”
Of course, Luyendyk Jr.’s good looks don’t hurt either — or his “kissing bandit” reputation.
“[He’s] apparently the best kisser we’ve ever had on the show,” Harrison said. “My mom called me and said he needs to give lessons on how to kiss. Creepy conversation with your mom, but the point was — I don’t know, I forget what the point was.”
Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor premieres on ABC in 2018.