“The Bachelor” is notorious for tapping into new influencers. How former franchise villain Nick Viall became its most successful alum.

By | March 25, 2024

Between 2014 and 2017 Nick Vial was an inevitable character within The Bachelor franchise.

Viall wasn’t just any Bachelor Nation contestant; he was the man who performed the last rose ceremony of two consecutive Bachelor party seasons alone but his heart was broken both times. That earned him a mean reputation as someone who was “thirsty” for attention. He rehabilitated his image Bachelor in Paradise, where he started a relationship that didn’t last. He got a fourth chance at reality TV romance as The Bachelor in 2017, only to announce months later that he and his fiancée had ended their engagement.

Although he emerged from three different shows within Bachelor Nation and had a reputation for being “unlucky in love,” Viall hasn’t had any bad luck finding success. He just had to switch to podcasting to make it happen.

Nick Viall sits on a bench in front of an audience.

Nick Viall on “The Women Tell All” in 2017. (Michael Yada/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

At the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, the 43-year-old spoke about the decisions he made after appearing on reality dating shows.

Onstage, Viall recalled an offer he received to appear on a show for reality TV villains after completing a second season of The bachelorette. He had just left his career as a salesman at Salesforce to try his hand at Hollywood, and this show gig would yield immediate results. Still, Viall couldn’t stop thinking about how this would forever brand him as a villain. He did not take the money and shortly afterwards he was made a Bachelor.

Since then, he has been thinking about how the projects he takes on could impact his future career. Past its period in 2017 Dancing with the stars and season 2 of Special Forces: The World’s Toughest TestViall has turned away from reality TV to focus on building his own show.

He now hosts and produces a podcast called The Viall fileswhich has had over 150 million downloads since its launch in 2019. Vulture stated it “Meet the press for reality TV.” He announced the launch of his company, Envy Media, in January.

Viall created his eponymous podcast two years after his departure from Bachelor Nation. He said the time between projects was filled with trial and error, with stints as an actor and host as he tried to figure out what [his] thing was.”

“You get access from a B-list celebrity, you get late night television appearances and six months later you hope someone asks you to be on a podcast,” he said. “That can really mess with your psyche.”

Dozens of aspiring lovers and reality stars emerge every year Bachelor education shows. The most memorable contestants gain social media followers, which they can then convert into their audience for future endeavors outside of Bachelor Nation. It has historically been a successful launching pad for the careers of former franchise stars like JoJo Fletcher and Hannah Brown. But it also raises the question of whether certain participants are ‘here for the right reasons’.

The Bachelor [franchise] there are at least 60 new people coming in every season for the two main shows,” Viall told Yahoo Entertainment after his SXSW panel. “You’re competing with those people for jobs… I always felt like they were temporary and would slowly disappear over time as I got further away from the show.”

After others Bachelor education alumni began landing short-term hosting gigs at podcast companies, using their modest earnings as a side hustle while they tried to pursue a different route. Viall did the same, but when his contract with a podcast network expired, he took control of showing himself.

“I was trying to differentiate myself from my peers on reality TV,” Viall said.

Although Viall has uniquely held almost every position possible within Bachelor Nation, he didn’t want to be “that guy” forever The Bachelor. He wanted to be himself – a “stubborn” man from Wisconsin with ten siblings and a reputation among his friends as the person “people go to for advice.”

After three years that saw his romantic failures aired on national television in his 30s, and particularly turbulent off-screen heartbreak in his 20s, Viall explained that he wanted to give his audience “sensible life advice.” He had a reputation The bachelorette from being blunt to the point of being arrogant, but sometimes that’s exactly the advice people need, especially in an age of social media full of dating app-driven situations and ever-changing cultural expectations.

Kaitlyn Bristowe and Nick Viall.Kaitlyn Bristowe and Nick Viall.

Kaitlyn Bristowe and Nick Viall The bachelorette. (Rick Rowell / © ABC / Courtesy of Everett Collection)

“I gain credibility by being vulnerable and not exaggerating my experience or expertise. I keep saying, ‘I did this, I did that, I learned this. … This is a decision I made, I relate to your experience, but I am not an expert in any way,” Viall explained.

Once he felt like he had established himself in the podcast world, he started recording some episodes where he discussed reality TV shows, and others where he interviewed the stars. On reality TV, Viall was used to having his storylines edited, his interviews shortened, and the nuance removed from his experiences. He said he was attracted to the way podcasts allow listeners to take an “in-depth, 360-degree look at what someone is experiencing.”

He knows the interview podcast space is crowded, but he likes to give people the space to “peel back the layers of who they are.” He is especially interested in talking to reality TV villains because he knows people will tune into a pre-existing opinion, which can evolve during the interview. It helps that he’s portrayed as both a villain and a victim.

“Reality TV provides a perspective into the most vulnerable moments someone has ever had, and when they feel the most ashamed,” Viall said. “You have people who push you to your limits, like when Kaitlyn did [Bristowe] took me all the way to the end of her season [of The Bachelorette].

“Personally, I was angry about that. But the opportunity allowed me to see a new perspective,” he added. “With my audience, I don’t necessarily try to change their minds. I just try to give them different lenses so they can see the same thing from a new perspective.”

With his interviews, Viall often offers villains such as Vanderpump Rules’S Tom Sandoval, who has been publicly shamed for months after cheating on his co-star Ariana Madix, a chance to explain their perspective. However, that doesn’t mean he lets them get away with manipulating their stories – in that infamous episode of The Viall files, Viall frequently returned to Sandoval’s criticism of Madix, advancing her position and reminding him of the broader impact he had on his audience.

“I was sometimes frustrated with my own editing [on Bachelor shows], but it’s not like they showed things that aren’t true,” Viall said. “I joke that when it comes to reality TV contestants, it’s always someone else’s fault when things don’t go their way… But I’ve never heard that when they look good.”

He added: “I strongly believe that on average most people are better than worse looking.”

Viall is still part of a crowded market of influencers and reality stars talking about other influencers and reality stars. He said he stands out because he is openly passionate enough to keep his audience coming back for more.

“My audience is 95% women, and about 80% millennial women. It’s easy to know what they’re consuming, and often I’m lucky that it aligns with the things I’m passionate about,” he said. “I’m very interested in interpersonal relationships and pop culture, and luckily this connects with my audience.”

As for the future, Viall plans to stay with this show as long as possible. He said he gets offers to appear elsewhere, but with each offer he considers whether it would be beneficial to make time for his podcast.

“I think, How does this benefit my show? If not, I honestly don’t have time,” he said.

Viall is marketing the show through social media platforms: each show is uploaded to YouTube in video form, and he shares clips on TikTok, Instagram and X. He said going viral online helps market the show and serves as proof that he prioritizes being creative and creative. flexible in ways that major podcasting companies previously were not. Now they might take action.

“I’ve seen clips that are eerily similar to what we do, even some direct rip-offs,” he said. “I see people emulating the success we have…. It annoys me a bit, but you know what they say about imitation.”

Viall said he recently saw an interview with MrBeast in which the YouTuber said that no one works harder than him, and that he is so focused on executing his own playbook that no one will be able to replicate what he does.

“I feel the same way… People can copy us, but our goal is always to be ahead of what they copy,” Viall explains.

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