Nick Viall Shares His One Demand Negotiating for Bachelor Lead -- It Had Nothing to Do with Money

Nick Viall was a two-time runner-up on “The Bachelorette” and still fans did not expect him to emerge as the lead for the franchise. But that’s exactly what happened when he rose above presumed front-runner Luke Pell in 2016.

Now, Viall is opening up about why he thinks he got the gig, the only demand he made of producers, and why he thinks Pell was ultimately overlooked — and the huge mistake Pell made.

Sitting down with “Bachelorette” alum Jason Tartick on his “Trading Secrets” podcast, Viall explained that for him it wasn’t at all to do with the money, even though this would be his third season with the franchise.

All he requested from producers was that they “please cast women I’m going to be into.” The reality alum laughed that he’d already “lived without a job for a year” at that point, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

In fact, he said he came at them with such a “reasonable” figure in his contract negotiations that producers closed the deal with in a day. At the time of his announcement, an insider told E! News that it was a “last-minute” decision, suggesting his lowball offer might have been the clincher.

In fact, that’s exactly what Viall thinks set him apart from — and ultimately above — Pell in producers’ minds. He thinks Pell tried to play hardball in the negotiations, which Viall thinks was a huge mistake on Pell’s part.

Viall said it would be “stupid” on anyone’s part to turn down the leading role in this franchise, no matter how much it might be paying. “Nickel-and-diming over [ten] or twenty thousand dollars is the dumbest thing you can do given what you can do with that opportunity gives you,” he said.

So is that what Pell did? At the time, he said he and the producers were both very satisfied with a contract for him to take the lead when there was a sudden change and he was told they didn’t need his services anymore.

In response to Viall’s implications about salary demands, Pell threw down with a very snarky statement to E! News on Wednesday.

“I can’t speak to where Nick gets info related to ‘Bachelor’ casting contracts from network attorneys, but I will say that was very gracious of Nick to say that he would have done it for free,” Pell said.

“In light of that comment by Nick I know a few veteran’s charities and children’s charities that would greatly appreciate the support of him donating his Bachelor talent fee proceeds back,” he continued. “During these tough economic times many non-profits are now seeing the impact of less funding coming in during this holiday season.”

Viall hasn’t been shy in weighing in on ABC’s latest “Bachelor” choice, either, joining in with the legions of fans slamming Twitter to say that he’s with them. “I’ve been kind of critical of the selection,” Viall told People of Clayton Echard last week.

Clayton was eliminated a few weeks back on Michelle Young’s just-finished season of “The Bachelorette,” and while he clearly impressed producers enough to give him the lead spot, fans were underwhelmed. He just didn’t do much on the show, though he seemed sincere and earnest.

The problem for fans, though, is that there were far more compelling and likable personalities across the past two seasons of “The Bachelorette” — they ran back-to-back — making it all the more inexplicable that producers would go with someone they feel was boring and forgettable.

“It’s nothing against Clayton, he seemed like a nice enough fellow, but just looking at Michelle’s top four, each of the top four has better storylines, more charisma,” Viall told People. “They have out-shined Clayton in every possible way. So I don’t really get the choice.”

“I think from what we saw with Clayton on Michelle’s season, which is not much, it’s that my fear for this season is that we’re going to get a lot of platitudes and a lot of very high level ‘nice,'” Viall added. “It’ll all sound nice, but none of it will sound real.”

“I hope Clayton proves us wrong and I’m very much rooting to watch this season and say to myself — which I have in the past — ‘You know what, I didn’t agree with this selection, but they got it right,” Viall continued. “I’m rooting for that to happen, but as it stands right now, I don’t get it.”

He won’t have long to wait. Clayton Echard’s season of “The Bachelor” kicks off Monday, January 3 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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