The Golden Bachelor was a surprise hit when it premiered in September, with The Bachelor spinoff featuring an older set of contestants. Producers from the show recently revealed their initial fears regarding “what it would feel like when [they] saw Gerry kiss a woman for the first time.”
“We didn’t know how viewers were going to respond,” executive producer Bennett Graebner told the audience during a panel for the show in New York City on Monday, December 11. “In fact, I don’t think we knew how we were going to respond.”
“We see that a lot. We stand 10, 15 feet away from young men and women all the time making out. It feels a little weird, a little creepy. But there was something on the first night about thinking about Dad here and wondering what that was going to feel like,” Bennett jokingly added.
The star of the show, Gerry Turner, and season 1 winner, Theresa Nist, joined Bennett on stage at the panel, along with other producers Claire Freeland and Jason Ehrlich. Bennett recalled the moment he watched Gerry, 72, and Theresa, 70, kiss for the first time.
“Theresa, you grabbed the back of his neck, and you went in for it,” Bennett said to Theresa on stage. “And I don’t know if you heard us, we erupted. We were so loud that we had to quiet ourselves down. And I think that was the moment we realized this could work. We loved it.”
Jason chimed in and said to Bennett, “I just keep going back to that kiss, and you looked at me and you went, ‘It’s not that bad.’”
“It was really beautiful, that moment. It really was,” Bennett concluded.
The producers also revealed how hard the rose ceremonies were for Gerry, with Jason saying that the retired restaurateur was emotional during the ceremonies and while watching them back as they aired. He added that Gerry couldn’t even watch the first rose ceremony when they showed it before the panel.
Gerry admitted that the eliminations were the hardest part for him.
“At the end of the day, when you know you have to send some of those women home, it was just soul-crushing,” The Golden Bachelor star said. “You form good friendships, good relationships, good connections, and you work really hard to do it because you want to be open to every possibility that’s in front of you.”
The Golden Bachelor quickly became popular for ABC when viewers fell in love with Gerry and his journey to find love after his wife of 43 years, Toni, died in 2017. With the show seeing so much success, producers have already teased potential spinoffs like The Golden Bachelorette and Golden Paradise in the future.