HEARTS on the LINE
Can new Bachelor Sam Wood woo viewers with a mix of brain and brawn?
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.
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
Sam Wood has made a commitment to