“If we had picked Jason, if we had picked Blake, it doesn’t matter — you’re going to catch some heat. And Colton caught heat and so did we,” Harrison, 47, told PEOPLE Now.
In early September, the football star, who competed for love on Becca Kufrin‘s season of The Bachelorette before heading to Bachelor in Paradise this summer, was announced as the newest face of the franchise.
Harrison clarified that the decision to not choose Jason Tartick or Blake Horstmann wasn’t “an indictment” of either of them.
“Colton, you have to understand gives us what we felt was the best TV. And that’s what we’re doing; we’re trying to entertain, we’re trying to tell a story,” he said.
The longtime Bachelor and Bachelorette host also admitted that Underwood, 26, “has a lot of layers” and he’s “excited to find out if this will even work. Is he ready? Does he really want to propose? Is he at that stage in his life? We’re going to find out.”
While Harrison is hopeful that Underwood’s season will be a success, he admitted that “it could be a complete and utter disaster, which case, it’ll still be phenomenal TV.”
“I hope it doesn’t. I hope he gets down on one knee, but you don’t know. The show’s not predicated on the fact that it always works. And so it’s going to be interesting that he has to figure this out and on top of that, I don’t know if you guys heard, he’s a virgin. … So there’s that to unpack as well — the social impact of that and how he’s hidden it. He was kind of ashamed of it for a while,” Harrison said.
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He also understands that Bachelor Nation had mixed feelings about Underwood being picked, but he hopes that fans give him a chance to prove himself.
“I know people are mad, and they’re right to be mad because Jason or Blake or whoever are great people. They are and they do deserve love, and so I’m glad that people are upset,” Harrison said. “They just have to remember why they’re upset and that Colton’s a good guy, too. He’s gonna be a great Bachelor.”
Speaking with PEOPLE after the reveal, Underwood said he’s going to stay true to himself when it comes to navigating relationships on the show, something viewers appreciated when he opened up about his virginity on The Bachelorette.
“I’m going to live my life and do what I’ve always done,” Underwood said. “[Being a virgin] needs to be normalized; it’s just who I am and what I believe in. I hold a lot of value in it and I hold it to a high standard. I’m just waiting for the right heart.”
“This is the perfect time in my life to do this,” he said. “I’m so unbelievably happy with myself and now I can focus on finding my wife. I’m so excited to find that. My heart is 100 percent healed and I’m going to give this my all. And hopefully I’ll come out of it engaged!”