The show will feature alumni cast members from “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” According to a press release from ABC, competitors “will go head-to-head in winter-themed challenges, including the toughest sport of all – love.” The cast comprises Americans as well as competitors from international versions of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” International contenders include cast members from seasons filmed in Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan, and China.
The production used the Hermitage Club as its main base. Other area filming locations reportedly include Main Street and Riley Rink in Manchester, Wilmington’s Memorial Hall and Cask & Kiln Kitchen, and several area inns and hotels, including the West Dover Inn. The production brought more than 200 crew members to town for about two weeks in December.
The executive producer of the series, Nicole Woods, says the production picked Vermont for its wintery scenery and the Hermitage Club for its architecture, amenities, and services.
“First and foremost, we needed snow,” says Woods. “While we knew there was a bit of a risk of not having snow, the benefits of working hand in hand with the Hermitage Club, a private ski resort, gave us confidence that at the least we would be able to do our outdoor events on Haystack Mountain. It was an easy decision once we connected and scouted with them. They have so many things we needed under one roof: the beautiful big clubhouse, a private ski mountain, their amazing ski and events team, date locks, private homes for our cast to live, and more”
Producers of the show say the crew got to know several local spots during their time here. North Star Pizza was a favorite, and the crew felt welcomed by the community and enjoyed their time here.
Gretchen Havreluk, Wilmington Economic Development Specialist, says the production had a positive impact on the town’s economy while it was here. “I know that there were restaurants and retail stores here that really benefited from the production being here,” says Havreluk, noting that in addition to shooting at area locations, the production shopped locally, dined at several restaurants, and stayed at local inns. “I think all of that was positive. Anything like that is positive.”
The impact of the production could be positive in the long term, too, says Havreluk. The show may even bolster the efforts of the bi-town marketing committee, a joint economic development endeavor shared by Wilmington and Dover. The bi-town marketing committee has been working on a digital marketing campaign to raise the visibility of the Deerfield Valley to young people who may vacation in, or even move to, the region.
It’s worth noting that “The Bachelor” franchise has a big following. The website TVByTheNumbers reported this week that the most recent episode of the franchise’s main show, “The Bachelor,” garnered 6.8 million viewers. In the same report, “The Bachelor” is noted to have had the largest share of the 18-49 audience of any show that aired simultaneous to it on a major network. For television advertisers, adults ages 18 to 49, who typically have the most disposable income, are considered a “key demographic.” Higher ratings from that key demographic mean higher ad buys for TV networks.
That demographic is also, more or less, who the bi-town marketing campaign has been seeking to reach. “We knew early on that we were targeting moms between 25 and 40 to come here on vacation,” said Havreluk. “The cream of it all would be for them to come and say ‘oh, we want to live here and we’ll bring our families here.’”
Havreluk says that if that same group is contained within the core viewership of “The Bachelor Winter Games,” the show could help inspire viewers to visit the area. “Those viewers are at an age where they are raising families. The theme of the show is starting your life together,” says Havreluk. “So these people who are watching who are in the age group we want, they may watch and say ‘Oh, they’re in Wilmington or Dover — we should go there. That’s not that far away for us. Let’s go experience that.’”
Havreluk says she herself has tuned into “The Bachelor,” and that the series is effective at showcasing the locales the production visits.
“They do a really good job of showing where they are and bringing in the surroundings,” she says. “I think they really come into communities and look around and say, what do you do here for fun? They’re asking questions and really digging up what’s the history here, and how can we play this into what we’re trying to put on as a show?”
The Hollywood Reporter reported last week that on a press call, “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison said the new winter-themed series is “some of the best television” the “Bachelor” team has ever produced, noting that those who don’t tune in may just miss “the best television of the year.”
“The Bachelor Winter Games” premieres with a two-hour episode on Tuesday, February 13, at 8 pm on ABC. Subsequent episodes will air from 8 pm to 10 pm Thursday, February 15, Tuesday, February 20, and Thursday, February 22. A reunion special, “The Bachelor Winter Games: World Tells All,” will air directly following the finale on February 22.