In the early 2000s, Jesse Palmer played for the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. In 2004, he went from the football field to television as the star of season 5 of “The Bachelor”. Now, nearly two decades later, Palmer is the host of the dating reality show, and the former NFL quarterback says it’s true: Men love “The Bachelor.”
“When I take photos, the guy will say, ‘I’m doing it for my wife, trust me,’” Palmer says with a laugh. “And then he walks away and the wife says, ‘That was for him. Look at every Monday.’”
Palmer, an ESPN analyst since 2007, aims to bridge the gap between sports audiences and viewers of reality shows within the Disney umbrella.
Palmer’s hosting job came amid controversy as host Chris Harrison left the franchise after 19 years when his racially insensitive comment during an interview received widespread backlash.
When Palmer got the job, he signed on for season 26, but was not announced as Harrison’s permanent replacement going forward. At the time, the network did not comment on the terms of his contract beyond one season, but sources explained that the idea was for Palmer to continue with the franchise in the future, both in the flagship “Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”. probably not “Bachelor in Paradise”.
ABC hasn’t announced any plans for the host beyond this season, and in speaking with VarietyPalmer did not indicate whether he would return, replying coyly, “Right now, I have my hands totally full with Clayton.”
However, he says he is a big fan of the franchise and would be interested in talks about continuing his role as host for more seasons to come.
“I’ve been a huge fan of the franchise since it was ‘The Bachelor,’ so to have this opportunity to come back was really great and it really came full circle,” says Palmer. “I’m a huge fan of Clayton and really the pressure I feel in this role is to try to do the right thing for him and help him on his journey.
He adds, “Now I can officially say without a doubt that it’s a lot less stressful hosting the show than it is being ‘The Bachelor.'”
Here, Jesse Palmer talks with Variety on the host of this season of “The Bachelor,” whether he will return and teases more drama to come this season.
When I talked to Clayton, he said you’re like a big brother to him and you’ve really been a mentor. I’m sure you’ve seen the tweets where people seem to think you guys are a clone of each other. Have you been aware of those?
Yeah, I secretly hate Clayton because Clayton is like my younger, taller, more athletic, more handsome brother, which drives me crazy and won’t let me forget him. We have this brotherly rivalry between brothers. We shoot a lot. If you follow us on social networks, you will totally see it. The first time I met him was when he got out of the limo in front of the mansion…and I remember looking at him and thinking for the first time, ‘My God, he’s so much bigger than I thought he would be.’ And I’ve been in NFL locker rooms with important people.
There has been a lot of cross-promotion with his roles on ESPN and ABC with a fun promo for college football during “The Bachelor.” Are you succeeding in your mission to bring college fraternity brothers to Bachelor Nation?
I hope so. We’ll find out. We’re at a time now where it’s cool to go out and have some rose wine and get your pool going because “The Bachelor,” we have pools now, it’s like fantasy leagues. Involve! Get going with this! It doesn’t have to be like you lost the remote fight with your partner, your wife or your girlfriend on Monday night and now you have to watch this. Involve. You have Clayton, a former Missouri Tiger on his search for love.
I feel like the worst kept secret in “The Bachelor” fandom is that men really do love “The Bachelor.”
It’s so true. When I take photos, the guy will say, “I’m doing it for my wife, believe me, this is something important.” And then he walks away and the wife says, “That was for him. He watches every Monday. He loves the show. He saw you in 2004. He was a huge Giants fan and you were on ‘The Bachelor.’”
Is this just for one season, or are you the permanent host?
Right now, I have my hands full with Clayton. He’s the six foot six football player and I’m trying to make sure I get them to the next rose ceremony on time so I’m just focused on that. But I will say that I am a huge fan of the show and the franchise and if they want to have those conversations, I would be completely up for it. But for now it’s a football mentality: Play the next down, try to get another first down, try to help Clayton any way you can. So that’s where my focus is at this point.
But if they ask you to come back for another season, whether it’s “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette,” would you be up for it?
Can I get a private jet?
You are very busy. You have many jobs. I do not know how you do it
Could they just parachute me out when Clayton or whoever is back, or just drop me where there’s college football or bakery? And then could I get back on? If they had the jet, I’d be totally up for it. Absolutely.
Strahan and Seacrest must have the company jet because they have so many jobs, so the model is there.
I just have to make a lot more money. That’s the only thing you’re leaving out because I think Strahan and Seacrest and their gross receipts bubble is much higher than mine right now. [laughing].
Clayton tells two women that he sleeps with them and tells multiple women that he loves them, and in promos, it seems like you can see who he’s talking to, so we’d know how the season ends. There is a rumor that there are various promotions, so it is false. What information can you give me there?
Well, what I would say is that there are some very smart people working on the show who are very thoughtful about what they’re putting out and what they’re showing people at home. It’s hard to imagine a world where they would just give everyone the ending before the show starts.
Okay, so we don’t know how this is going to end?
The big theme this season is that on “The Bachelor” there are no rules. Clayton is willing to do whatever it takes and take risks to find his person; he feels that the truest and most authentic way to do it is by being an open book and doing things his own way. We’ve already seen a lot of firsts… Fans at home will see a number of things this season that haven’t been seen in 20 years on “The Bachelor” and there were several times where I as host and our producers were literally on edge. from our seats because we had no idea what was coming next. We have only scratched the surface. There will be mind-blowing moments for Bachelor Nation fans at home.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism