Bachelor Nation, hang tight: Bachelor in Paradise is just a few months away.
The spin-off, which places franchise alums in an elaborate game of romantic musical chairs in Mexico, is set to return for season 5 this summer — but according to Robert Mills, senior vice president of alternative programming at ABC, things are going to be a little different this time around.
So what do producers have in store for us? Well, expect them to incorporate some of the elements from the highly successful first season of The Bachelor Winter Games, which aired last month, into the new season of Paradise.
“There were a lot of learnings from Winter Games, where it wasn’t a show where you were bringing in people every week,” Mills recently told E! News. “There will certainly be the hallmarks of Bachelor in Paradise, but I think we will definitely take into account the stuff from Winter Games, where it definitely seemed to form some really strong couples, and at the end of the day that’s the goal.”
Indeed, the four-episode run of Winter Games produced four solid couples: Dean Unglert and Lesley Murphy, Courtney Dober and Lily McManus, Kevin Wendt and Ashley Iaconetti and last but not least, Benoit Beauséjour-Savard and Clare Crawley, who got engaged during the reunion special. (Wendt and Iaconetti have since split, but the remaining couples are going strong.)
Another successful element of the spin-off was the introduction of contestants from the international versions of the franchise, including Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — and since that worked so well, ABC plans on bringing some international flavor to Paradise, too.
“I definitely think you’ll see some international faces, but not sure how many or where they are going to come from,” Mills told E! News, noting that they are looking to bring back “people that you’re familiar with from Winter Games unless there are [other international contestants] that are absolutely fantastic.”
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Mills revealed that he has high hopes for this cast, which, per tradition, will feature contestants from the most recent seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. (This year, that means women from Arie Luyendyk Jr.‘s season and men from Becca Kufrin‘s season, which kicks off in May.)
“I think we’re really lucky because we’re coming off such a strong season, both seeing the guys who are going to be on Becca’s season, too, they’re absolutely fantastic,” Mills said. “I think you’re going to have great men and women from these previous seasons, as well as some people from the past. Sometimes it takes some distance for people we’ve always wanted to do it to be able to do it. I’m excited, I think this is going to be a great cast.”
And one last update? Mills teased that a possible newcomer might be taking over fan-favorite Wells Adams‘ post as the bartender of Playa Escondida.
“I think you’re going to see some [surprises] behind the bar,” he said. “Let’s just say that.”
Bachelor in Paradise is expected to premiere this summer.