HEARTS on the LINE

Can new Bach­e­lor Sam Wood woo view­ers with a mix of brain and brawn?

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When Sam Wood was un­veiled back in March as the latest Bach­e­lor, some fans were un­der­whelmed, claim­ing he lacks the star power of inau­gu­ral rose giver Tim Ro­bards.

But with sev­eral net­work in­sid­ers ad­mit­ting they’d made a mis­take cast­ing Blake Gar­vey last sea­son, could this be the re­turn to form The Bach­e­lor needs?

Ac­cord­ing to ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Stephen Tate, Wood ticks all the right cast­ing boxes for their per­fect lead­ing man.

“It’s a com­bi­na­tion of a lot of things,” he says of what made Wood stand out above the hun­dreds of other men who ap­plied for the show.

“It’s about the time of a per­son’s life. Are they at a point where they’re ready to make a com­mit­ment?

“Are they at­trac­tive? Are they lik­able? Are they a catch? Are they go­ing to be an as­pi­ra­tional choice for the au­di­ence? As in, do they have enough am­bi­tion and suc­cess in their life to be an as­pi­ra­tional choice?”

The owner of a fit­ness fran­chise for kids with a strong fam­ily back­ground and de­sire to give back, Wood, 34, was a no-brainer for Tate.

Add in that he’s easy on the eye with the req­ui­site six­pack (and, yes, you will see plenty of it dur­ing the show) and their choice be­comes clearer.

But Wood’s most im­por­tant qual­ity, ac­cord­ing to Tate, has less to do with brawn and more to do with his brain.

“Sam’s sin­gle great­est at­tribute is how com­fort­able he makes ev­ery­body feel,” Tate says.

“He has this abil­ity to walk into a room and treat ev­ery­one as if they’re fam­ily and friends. It’s some­thing you don’t see ev­ery day — he’s just re­ally com­fort­able in his own skin.”

In case this hasn’t al­ready per­suaded you, we un­earthed a few more rea­sons the third Bach­e­lor hopes to win over the show’s au­di­ence — and get the girl in the process.

HE’S IN IT FOR THE RIGHT REA­SONS

Wood claims that prior to the show he’d not seen a sin­gle episode of The Bach­e­lor, nor did he have a de­sire to stake out a TV ca­reer. But he was ready to meet “the one”.

“I saw that (sea­son one’s) Tim and Anna (Hein­rich) were still to­gether,” he says of what prompted him to ap­ply.

“I knew it would be a once in a life­time ex­pe­ri­ence. I was hope­ful of meet­ing some­one on the show.”

Hav­ing worked hard to es­tab­lish his busi­ness through­out his 20s, Wood says his pre­vi­ous long-term re­la­tion­ships suf­fered as a re­sult.

“I kept mak­ing the same mis­takes and ended up in the same place — sin­gle again,” he says.

HE’S EVOLVED

While Wood said he was primed to fall in love upon en­ter­ing the show, he was “so much more ready” by the time cam­eras stopped rolling.

And part of that process was us­ing The Bach­e­lor to work out why he was sin­gle in the first place.

With Tate call­ing the se­ries “re­la­tion­ship boot camp”, Wood agrees the three-month film­ing process saw him emerge primed for a last­ing re­la­tion­ship.

“I grew dur­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence in my abil­ity to ex­press how I feel,” he says.

“I’ve known why my pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ships po­ten­tially haven’t worked (but) I never thought I’d be able to openly talk about it. By the end I felt com­pletely com­fort­able do­ing so — in fact it was lib­er­at­ing.”

HE’S A FAM­ILY MAN

Wood’s mother died of can­cer when he was 15 years old, leav­ing his fa­ther a sin­gle par­ent to him­self and his two younger sib­lings, then 12 and nine.

“He sold his busi­ness, didn’t work for four years, played mum and dad and got to know us,” says Wood. “He’d al­ways been a good dad but it def­i­nitely brought us closer to­gether.”

As such, fam­ily is im­por­tant to Wood and played a large part when it came to cast­ing the as­pir­ing Bach­e­lorettes.

“Sam didn’t re­ally have a ‘type’,” Tate says. “It was more about per­sonal at­tributes and goals. He’s very fam­ily ori­ented so those sorts of val­ues were in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to him. Thank­fully, Sam was pretty happy with our choices.”

HIS EX GIVES A STAMP OF AP­PROVAL

They may not have en­joyed a hap­pily ever af­ter, but Wood is still friendly with his past girl­friends.

So much so, that one asked him to use his time on The Bach­e­lor to raise aware­ness for her char­ity.

“One of my ex-girl­friends, Jade, has cys­tic fi­bro­sis,” he says.

“She asked if I’d do a char­ity thing for her at­tached to The Bach­e­lor — fun­nily enough their sym­bol is a rose.

“She does a lot of great work for that or­gan­i­sa­tion so I’m ab­so­lutely happy to help out.” THE BACH­E­LOR, CHAN­NEL 10, WED­NES­DAY, 7.30PM

“I kept mak­ing the same mis­takes and ended up in the same place — sin­gle again”

SAM WOOD ON PAST EX­PE­RI­ENCES

The Bach­e­lor.

Sam Wood has made a com­mit­ment to

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