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Ben Flajnik was hesitant to join 'The Bachelor'

January 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Ben Flajnik takes center stage in a show that's spent 10 years highlighting hopeless, or hopeful, romantics with "The Bachelor."

Last summer on "The Bachelorette", Ashley Hebert did not choose Flajnik as her intended husband, and he was crushed.

But things have a way of working out on reality television, and the wine-maker was asked to return as this season's "Bachelor."

But he didn't immediately say yes.

"I'll admit I was skeptical," said Flajnik. "The forum worked for me once. I was excited about a new opportunity and coming to do it again... I thought long and hard about this, how it would change my life. In the end I have my family and friends support- they encouraged me to do it."

The show's host Chris Harrison has been the encouraging voice alongside the bachelors and bachelorettes for all 10 years.

And he thinks Flajnik's careful consideration before re-joining the reality show is a good thing.

"It would worry me if someone wasn't skeptical," said Harrison. "It was a long process to get him to be the bachelor. I'd worry about someone who didn't think twice. It changes your life."

"The Bachelor" is not known for lasting relationships, but its host remains hopeful.

"I'm incredibly optimistic about the show because I know it does work and I know that the people that come on sincerely to find love, to find somebody... the way the format is set up -- and I think the genius behind this show -- is that it doesn't really promise anything. It's kind of like life," said Harrison.

On Monday's season 16 debut, Flajnik met the 25 bachelorettes competing for his love. One contestant made her grand entrance on a horse, while another bachelorette was introduced by her 72-year-old grandmother (Flajnik loves grandmas). There were smiles, laughs, some sparring verbal sparring and tears.

Harrison says viewers can expect a lot more drama and raw emotions this season.

So during shooting, did Bachelor Ben know about all the claws coming out?

"You catch wind of these things because you're talking to these women all of the time and it doesn't go unnoticed," said Flajnik. "So if there are major issues like that, I address as best I can. And we sit down and (Harrison) fills me in on other things that I don't know. So I'm in the know, I think, as well as anyone can be in that position."

Viewers will also see Flajnik in plenty of romantic positions during the season, plus there is the time he and one of the women take it all off.

"I dropped my pants. It was my own doing," said Flajnik. "When a beautiful woman invites you to go skinny-dipping on the beach, you say yes."

Of the 25 potential love interests, 18 received a rose and a second chance to show Flajnik she's the one.

You can watch new episodes of "The Bachelor" on Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC7.