"It's about giving him his chance to find love. Who deserves it more than him?" the longtime “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” host exclusively tells PEOPLE
On Tuesday evening, Bachelor audiences watched in surprise as Nick Viall was announced as the leading man for the upcoming season 21, a decision that longtime host Chris Harrison says “makes so much sense.”
Viall, who is is currently appearing as a cast member on season 3 of Bachelor in Paradise, has become a familiar face to ABC viewers throughout the past two years after he took the runner-up positions on both Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe‘s seasons of The Bachelorette.
But ABC’s decision to choose Viall as the next leading man came as a shock to many who suspected that either Luke Pell or Chase McNary – both fan favorites from JoJo Fletcher‘s season of The Bachelorette – would be selected.
“He has just become that perennial, second place guy who wants to find love and is as sincere, if not more sincere, than anybody about finding it,” Harrison exclusively tells PEOPLE of ABC’s decision to choose 35-year-old Viall. “It’s about giving him his chance to find love. Who deserves it more than him?”
[IMAGE “1” “” “std” ]So why does Harrison believe that Viall will find love the fourth time around? For starters, nemesis Josh Murray won’t be in his way.
“The main reason it’ll work this time is Josh won’t be there,” Harrison, 45, quips of Murray winning the hearts of both Dorfman and BiP‘s Amanda Stanton ahead of Viall. He adds on a serious note: “There are plenty of women out there that find him adorable and lovable and irresistible. I have no doubt that he will find the woman of his dreams.”
As for the members of Bachelor nation who question Viall’s intentions in appearing on yet another season, Harrison cites Viall’s sincerity and says that ABC knows what audiences need.
“We have made a very, very good living – and have been extremely successful – out of leading the landscape and trying to please Bachelor Nation and give them what they want, but at the same time knowing well enough to know that we’re actually giving them what they need,” Harrison tells PEOPLE. “At the end of the day, we had some really good, viable candidates, but Nick’s sincere.”
Harrison adds of Viall: “So many names get thrown around and at the end of the day, as producers, we have to try and think and decide what’s best for the franchise and who is the most deserving and sincere person. At the end of the day, we all looked around the table and nobody could say it wasn’t Nick. You can’t shoot holes at the fact that he is just the most deserving and sincere person.”
Though some might believe that finding love on the series has proven unsuccessful for Viall, and another round on the show will yield the same results, Harrison disagrees. “It has worked for him. The previous two times he was on The Bachelorette, he fell in love and he had his heart broken,” Harrison says, adding, “So he is that guy that will go there.”
“He wasn’t actively campaigning for it. He wasn’t begging for it,” Harrison says of the decision to choose Viall as the next Bachelor. ” We just were talking and thought, ‘You know what, this makes so much sense. Why aren’t we doing this?’ The good thing is, with our casting, there’s no rules. There’s no rules that say we can’t use somebody that’s been on the show or hasn’t been on the show or whatever.”
Throughout the past 15 years of watching countless men and women find romance as host of the two ABC series, Harrison has learned a thing or two about what doesn’t work for contestants – and what does.
“My advice – and I’ve already texted and talked back-and-forth with him – is don’t change anything. We have brought you on as the Bachelor. You’re our guy,” Harrison says of the advice he gave to Viall. “Just be yourself. Be that same, sweet, sincere human being that everybody loves and it’ll work.”
Season 21 of The Bachelor returns in January on ABC.